This guide is not an update, but London- and LSE-specific.
Cheers, London. You're a beautiful city, and while Seattle will always be the first and only place for me long-term, I hope I can come back for another extended stay some time soon. This year has definitely been one big "rerum cognoscere causas" moment.
1. Become a morning person. Not only will you catch the rare sunrise, but on top of that, if you run, the AM is the best time to get in a work-out before the smog builds up and the tourists clog the roads.
2. If you don't know which way to look for oncoming traffic, look down. The crosswalks are all marked with "LOOK LEFT" or "LOOK RIGHT."
3. The pub is not simply a quaint bar--it's a way of life. And if you don't partake in some way, you will be ostracised. Personally, I rarely drink (and on the offhand I do, it's cider) and receive friendly teasing from my German, Swiss, Italian, British, and Canadian teammates for it, but there's more to the pub than simply downing an ale or a lager (did you know there's a difference?). It's a nice place to relax and socialise after a long day (and by "long day," I mean "regatta day").
4. Get an Oystercard and always have it ready at the turnstile! Nothing more visibly irritates commuters than waiting behind someone digging through his/her pursue, wallet, or backpack for the OysterCard, which is the most convenient little piece of plastic you will ever own during your stay.
|Some ungodly hour in the morning at Waterloo Station|
5. Play up the American stereotype. It's "endearing." Or something...
6. When using the stairs at the Library, observe the right-hand rule. It's a busy place, and the last thing you want is to fall down, down, down those vertigo-inducing spiral stairs. (Speaking of vertigo, listening to U2 is the best way to start your day.)
7. Do not use the East Building lift to go up just one floor. The stairs are faster, and if certain professors in International History can use the stairs up five floors, then you can use the stairs up just one.
8. Endear yourself to the baristas at the Garrick. Once you order that black Americano or jasmine green tea a few times in a row, they automatically know and prepare your drink before you get to the till. This streamlines the caffeinating process, and trust me, the LSE (like any university) would be a scary place, if the students were not caffeinated.
9. Make an effort to interact with LSE students outside of the General Course. I'll probably receive some stick for what I'm about to say, but here goes. Regular undergraduates (and postgraduates) at the LSE have two very polarised views of General Course students; we are either enthusiastic and hardworking...or neither of those things. While it's easy to fall into a crowd of people who share your national and therefore cultural and educational background--and even treat your year at the LSE as a "year off" from your home institution-- know that LSE students are some of the kindest, funniest, most clever people you will ever have the privilege of calling your classmates and even friends. Work hard, earn their respect, but more importantly, get to know them. In the process, you can learn a lot about the world and yourself. And don't you ever--not even for a minute--take any of it all for granted.
10. Take what you do seriously, but yourself...not so much. The British do self-deprecating humour very well. Learn it. Live it. Love it. Besides, we're only twenty years old and may never have the chance to be as brutally flippant as now.
11. Make an effort to learn the lingo. Jumper, not sweater. Crisps, not chips. Football, not soccer. Dodgy, not sketchy. Lorry, not truck. You get the idea.
12. While you're at it, do not insult the sanctity of
|An undisclosed location somewhere|