Three years ago I moved out of my family home and into central London to begin what would be some of the best years of my life. In that time I’ve met some amazing people, grown, matured and learned a lot. This post is long overdue, and is also quite a lengthy one, so get comfortable and follow the jump to read all about my university experience…
Social Life; I had one major concern when I started university and that was to go out. In my first two weeks of university I went out 6 nights in a row, took a day out, then went out a further 6 nights in a row. Throughout the year I’d typically go out 2-3 times a week, but if it was up to me, I would have preferred to be out 4-5 times a week like my friends were at other universities. LSE is not really much of a ‘party’ university, so you really have to gather a few troops that you can rely on to always be in the mood to turn up. Granted, things have changed a lot now, and going out 6 nights in a row sounds more like a nightmare rather than sounding fun.
Career/Jobs; It’s quite crazy to think that at age 19 we are basically forced to start thinking about what to do with the rest of our lives. I don’t know what I want to do with the rest of my life three years later. Through chatting to different people around me I learned about a few good industries and decided to jump head first into applications. It’s near impossible to ever know where you want to take your life, but a good tip is to always go with options that open the most doors for you in the future. I was already a member of the groups Rare and SEO (check out their links, they help those from under represented background get experience and jobs), so I signed up to one of their networking events as I had missed the others. Soon after this, I started writing applications. I was in between consulting and investment banking, which are two great places to start your career and quite typical routes for people from my university to take. My first application was for an investment bank, and luckily for me I carried it right through to the end until I had secured that spring internship.
Friendships and Relationships; Before I started university I had never been in a long term, serious relationship. Why? Well one, my parents are African – I wasn’t allowed. Two, I actually just had no desire to have a boyfriend until some weeks into university. I had definitely spoken to a few boys before university and experienced a few mini heartbreaks, but nothing major. At a networking event that I signed up to, I met someone I had no interest in whatsoever. Needless to say, I ended up spending too much time on and getting to attached to someone I would never see myself with long term, and I was the one that got burned in the end. Lessons learned – because it actually made me into an a lot more confident and strong person. In terms of friendships, I met so many amazing people in first year. Some of these people I can still call myself very close to them even now, years later. The best thing about university is that I met people that were way different to what I’d been used to; all I’ve ever known is London and Kent, is was great to branch out and become acquainted with people from all over the world.
Grades and Societies; I’d say it was in second term that I realised I was very, desperately, behind on my work. I started off second term catching up on third term, I never quite managed to do this and entered exam period very stressed, pulling 15 hour shifts in the library. I ended the year with a 2:1! I decided to join the Women in Business society as Head of Marketing, all I had to do was give a speech and beat out one girl to the title. One regret? I sometimes wish I had joined the ACS committee. Just because, that what I really wanted to do, but I knew getting a position would be a lot harder to secure than WiB. I’m not too bad at speeches, and in hindsight I feel that if I didn’t let my fear hold me back, I could’ve gotten a place. It wouldn’t have necessarily changed my life – but I learned from that not to let fear cripple me, in fact fear should actually catapult you.
Social Life; I was still very much in my ‘freshers’ mode when I started second year. I would go out at least once a week without fail. This quickly faded as the year went on. I think it’s partly because I just matured a bit and realised clubbing isn’t exactly the most fun thing in the world as I once thought, and also because I got a boyfriend this year. I know people say a boyfriend shouldn’t affect that kind of stuff, but sometimes if the choice is to turn up, or stay in and watch a film with pizza with my boyfriend? I’d choose the latter. One thing I did in second year which I rectified in third year, was I suddenly became very unbothered about a lot of people. If I was invited to an event, 70% of the time if I wasn’t necessarily close to the person that invited me I just wouldn’t turn up. Definitely make an effort to get out there, meet new people and socialise, especially if you’re in a relationship as it’s very easy to just spend all your time together and just not get bored.
Career/Jobs; After my first year spring internship, I was fast tracked to the assessment centre for that bank. Whilst waiting for that bank to get back to me, I happened to get fast tracked to the assessment centre of another bank (which I’m now working for). When I didn’t get the first role, I literally felt like my world was ending, especially because I had no hopes for the second AC. Second year is definitely a year to just go in on internship applications, it may seem like working life is still far away, but getting an internship is the easiest route into a job. I did my 9 week internship in my summer after second year and with a lot of hard work, walked away with a job offer, you can read all about that experience here.
Friendships and Relationships; In second year I met my boyfriend. I actually had met him two months earlier at a club, but it took us a while to realise we actually already knew each other. Things really went from zero to one hundred, it was the smoothest transition into a relationship ever. I feel very blessed to be sharing memories and years with someone who is essentially my best friend, and to put the cherry on the top my family also love him! This year was an interesting one for friendships. An old friend that I had met in first year (who I thought was my ‘best friend forever’) and I fell out. Living with someone I was slowly drifting away from was absolutely a nightmare, and there’s just way too much drama to pack into one post. But I can sum up that friendship is one quote: pay attention to those that don’t clap when you win – some people are just really not happy seeing you happy! I’ve written a post about toxic friendships here.
Social Life; What a major change from first year. I went from turning up 3 times a week, to struggling sometimes to turn up even once a week. I still love going out, but definitely a lot more sparingly. I guess this is just what happens naturally as you get older! It’s funny because some people still see me as the girl I was in first year that was out 24/7, but times have really changed. I made more time for people this year, more so than I did in second year, which allowed me to become closer to people I otherwise wouldn’t have.
Friendships and Relationships; After my fall out with an old flatmate in second year, another old friend (that decided to involve herself in our drama), told me I was going to “lose all my friends”. That day, I cried down the phone to my dad. I started second year living out with one of my best friends Katie (the best flatmate I could’ve ever asked for), who also fell out with those same two girls, and started a new year two close friends down with a threat of having *no* friends was definitely not easy. I was at a fairly down point in my life – I felt a lot of uncertainty and also a lot of fear about how the year would go, the last thing I wanted was to be a loser sat alone in my room. It took only a month or so for me to regain confidence and come to my senses to realise that losing two close friends did not at all mean I had zero friends. In fact, I was actually out and about way more than I was in second year, and had a good 50 people turn up to my 21st (joint) birthday party. In term of losing a few friends – I’ve never looked back. In terms of relationships, I passed a year with the boyfriend and we celebrated in Rome. Not sure there’s much we can do to top that when we reach two years this October.
Grades and Societies; In my third year I became an editor for my university’s newspaper The Beaver. I’ve always loved writing and always thought I’d be on my university’s newspaper when I was young, so it was just about finally getting around to it. Working on that was definitely a great experience. With the rest of my spare time I decided to invest more time into Skylish, I’ve definitely grown it a lot in a year and in that time have reached almost 2,000 instagram followers, over 1,000 on Twitter and now coming up to 1,000 on Bloglovin! I’ve also been able to work with some amazing brands such as House of Fraser and John Frieda. I’m going to continually push to make Skylish as perfect as it can be. Grade wise, I graduated with a 2:1. I’m not going to lie, I was not happy with my result at all. I pushed so hard for a 1st so to fall flat by just 3% was absolutely heartbreaking. A lot of the people around me (such as my old flatmate and my boyfriend) were getting 1sts effortlessly, it definitely made me question whether I’m actually smart at all, and I still do question it at times. I learned to be grateful. Walking away from a world class uni with a 2:1 and a job is definitely nothing to shed a tear over!
Post uni… I am now working full time as an investment banking analyst! Well, I’m training to do that role. My 3 years are uni were truly the best 3 years of my life, I’ve literally turned into ta better person and work every day to became the ‘best version’ of myself. I’m definitely chilling on cloud 9 right now and feeling very blessed with how things have all worked out!
This was such an interesting read! I love hearing about what it was like at other unis, especially one like LSE which is very different to where I went! X
Very interesting read and I love the format of how you broke down every aspect of uni. I am currently at university now so love being able to relate to these kind of posts! Great stuff 🙂 L x
Such a great read I graduated in 2011 but I feel like we had the same experience but as you know it all works out in the end! X
It really is so funny to see how easily you can go out often first year to feeling like a grandma by your last! I totally went through the same thing haha. But I just graduated as well, and have gone through the same exact thought processes. Congratulations and best of luck!! I’m sure you’ll do phenomenally.
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Haha I know right,one of my friends has been able to sustain going out a lot for the whole of university – don’t know how he does it!