If you’re like me then books are not your best friends. Even worse, you may have bought a ton of books to fill up the bookshelves and all they’ve done is gather dust. For some, you may have bookmarks placed somewhere in the middle pages of three different books, which you’ve vowed to complete for months now. While for others, you may have fallen deeper to sleep with every word that you try to read before bed. So for the bunch of us who aren’t so much into reading, what could be the alternatives? A source of inspiration, something that motivates you and explores your abilities, something that gives you knowledge beyond traditional texts… where do you go for it?
University of London has dedicated itself towards becoming a more sustainable institution. As such, as Saturday 16 September is the International Day for the Preservation of the Ozone Layer, I am here to share a few thoughts about what we can do as students.
Especially with the commencement of the academic year 2017-18, many of you are in the same boat as me. You may have dreamt all summer of those customary visits to the stationery store, revamping your study space and buying course books.
It was July 26, 9:47 PM. This night, believe it or not, my life changed. It was in the afternoon when I was informed that the International Space Station would be visible to the naked eye, starting at 9:47 pm local time and for five minutes from then. I was, of course, very excited. My whole life, I have been fascinated by space and the unknown. I was and I continue to be passionate about space and I am constantly watching new documentaries about one of my favorite topics.
Have you ever cursed the pure memorization of facts just to pass an exam? Then you are in very good and prominent company indeed! Albert Einstein was known for his distaste of the learning of facts and argued that education should not be the learning of many facts but rather the learning to think. Indeed, you all have more in common with Einstein than you might think at first…
Today, he is regarded as one of the great geniuses of human kind. But he wasn’t always successful and struggled a couple of times where he thought about quitting and giving up his dream of contributing to the realm of physics. What a shame for us and theoretical physics it would have been!
It was my maiden voyage to London. It was also my first visit to the world-renowned university – London School of Economics and Political Science (LSE). The LSE Summer School, taught by professors with deep expertise, attracts knowledge seekers over to world. With frequent public lectures, talks and debates by distinguished guests on current issues ranging from globalisation, inequality and poverty, to international relations. It’s motto- to know the causes of things, challenges the mind to never settle for the status quo and encourages breakthrough for the betterment. It nurtured and housed many Nobel prize winners, brilliant policy makers and published revolutionary papers. The credentials of the LSE are unquestionable.
Countless hours of sleeplessness, anxiety, struggling to read, reading and thinking critically have paved the way for a fresh round of challenges, which I look up to. The finals have long been over and I hope to have done well. The post examination experience has deceived me of my expectations of a hollow feeling of having nothing to do. Instead, it has urged me to start my mental preparations for the journey ahead.
Besides the mental preparations, fatigue has accompanied me in the form of a delightful trip to Mumbai, tucked in between attending a SOAS students’ reception right after the exams, writing the IELTS exam just for the sake of testing myself, which I happily passed with flying colours, a trip to my hometown of Burdwan after almost six months and accompanying my Gurujee on the taanpura at the prestigious Tolly Club in Kolkata. To say the least, I have highly relished this hectic schedule so far. Amidst all of the post exam rush, a stream of thoughts has kept gurgling in the background of my mind. These thoughts have predominantly been regarding what it means to be a graduate of the University of London and being associated with the LSE. That I will be graduating from the University of London in a few weeks has made me do a bit of research about what the university stands for.
Throughout the past four years of my time as a student of the University of London, I have spent the best part of my summers mulling over reading lists. Don’t you all anticipate the new stationary, new books and new reading lists when exams still seem aeons away? The first day of holidays right after my last exam, I have downloaded the subject guides quite as if on autopilot. It has given me a rush of joy and immense satisfaction to discover in advance what the coming academic year holds for me.
Now that I am done with my exams, like many of you must be, my post-exam routine is a go-to activity. It is a ritual that I have perfected over the course of four years studying two different degrees through the University of London. The primary goal for this meditative process is to achieve a closure with the previous academic year. It always allows me to move on to the next task with a fresh perspective.
Having been so busy studying all the time, I was already in my third year when I discovered the University of London International Programmes Official Student Blog and decided to join the clan of student bloggers. My first post on the Official Student Blog was ‘Beginning of the End’ in September 2015, and here I am writing my farewell post, for it has been around eight months since I have outgrown the term ‘student’.
My journey as a student blogger has been wonderful and I recommend all students out there, no matter what year you are in, to give it a try. One gets to connect with other students of the University of London all around the world. Writing down what you are feeling not only makes you feel lighter but sharing your experiences with other students is a small way of helping each other out as well. Not only that, reading your peers’ blog posts makes you feel better about not being the only one going crazy around exam time, and helps you get through your time as a student. Sometimes, reading up on posts that are not related to studying can be refreshing and can give your mind a break from constant studying.
I put our next conversation in the form of an interview, its topic being “what to do in the time after our last exam and before we receive our results“. The content doesn’t exclusively reflect my own experience but I mostly drew from discussions with friends and myself. Hope the exchange will provide you with supplementary ideas on how to spend a fruitful break after exams. Although I made their names up, Davide acts as the imaginary interviewer while Enrico plays the imaginary student-interviewee.
Without further ado, I leave the stage to our two speakers.