LLM at LSE- 2007-2008.
By pinkcauldrons on Dec 08, 2007
Hello there, all fellow LLM students and LLM applicants. Nearly three months of LSE are nearing their end, and its time to look back and ask some familiar questions. Was it what I expected? Do I like it? Is my huge investment in this one year, actually going to be worth it?
Questions that haunted us throughout the application process, and which will probably stay with us until we graduate! Having opted to do this LLM straight out of an undergraduate degree in law (in India), I find the depth of the study in these classes to be quite overwhelming. The reading lists are humungous, and woe betide one who hasnt prepared at least a little, for every class. LSE is a lot of hard work. It is, also, a lot of fun. You can be shut up in your room all day, swotting, or you could do a good balance of both, seeing what London is all about, as well as keeping up to date with your studies. The latter is what I sincerely strive to do, not always with too much success.
There are definite advantages of being at the heart of this fabulous city. I managed a cheap last minute ticket to a beautiful ballet at the royal opera house, yesterday, and only needed to walk for 5 minutes to reach my destination! However, the heart of the city is expensive. Transport and food are ridiculously expensive, here, and it can get very stressful if you are on a shoe-string budget.
That said, the quality of the teaching at the school remains at a very high level. Expect no hand-holding or spoon-feeding. Professors are easily approachable, but if you havent done your bit of reading, you will quickly find yourself in a spot. It is extremely competitive and can be very daunting in the first month, but it does get better with time.
This place depends very much, on how much you put into it. Most professors here are experts in their fields, and there is a lot of opportunity for informal academic banter, provided that you yourself have a good grip over that particular area of law. In fact, I might have got a lot more out of this LLM if I had say, 3 or 4 years of work experience in my specialist area.
It took me a while to get used to the system of teaching out here, which pre-empts that the student already has some level of mastery of the law. A strong foundation in the basics are absolutely necessary, and I will have to put in extra reading time in the holidays if I want to remain in this crazy academic marathon.
The pace is hectic, the place is stunning, and time really does fly away, faster than you can imagine. Is it worth the money? With one-third of the LLM nearing its end, I can say, yes, most probably. It remains to be seen how strong the LSE name is at the workplace, however, and that can be answered only once I graduate.
By pinkcauldrons on Jun 26, 2008
The mad exam marathon is over, and I can hardly believe it. If I thought Michaelmas term was hectic, it was as if the Lent Term was just waiting to introduce me to what the London pace can turn out to be! Having been through three-fourths or more, of the entire LLM, with just the dissertation left, here's some advice for the coming batches of students:
Attend as many of the public lectures as you can. You probably wont have time to do justice to more than two societies, so dont join seven of them in freshers' week like I did, and then end up going to just one or two. Push yourself to the maximum. After all, its less than a year.
Theres a strategy to cracking the exams. Dont get pulled in by all the hype about how tough and scary it is. All it takes is a good strategy, and of course, the minimum amount of hard work.
Use your time in London to pursue whatever already interests you..music/dance/tennis...the facilities are available, if you bother to look. Pursuing a hobby you already love is a good way of de-stressing and making this sometimes dreary place feel more like home.
For those who are used to a lot of sun in their home countries, December can be a very depressing time. Use the December holidays to relax and really fit into the groove. It will help you to handle Lent term better.
Decide on your dissertation topic as soon as you can. Much sooner than the departmental timetable suggests. It will save you a lot of work later on. Throughout LSE, the faster you make decisions and get to working on them, the more the system rewards you.
The sheer amount of information available at LSE, can drown you out if you dont know what your destination is. Remember you cant use the awesome career services to its fullest if you dont already have a good idea of where you want to be after the LLM.
Finally, there will be people who say, you should have seen more of London, you should have studied more, or you should have done something differently. Dont listen to them. Decide what YOU want out of this degree, and stick to achieving that. Its the roller coaster ride of a life time! Have fun, and best of luck.
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