The first month of the term has been a busy one. After the usual back-to-university shock of the first few weeks – how did I ever manage to do so much reading per week last term – there were several exciting things happening at the same time. It felt as if the whole university had decided to jump past the couple of cold months ahead and focus on summer instead.
First, our professors in different modules started making references to possible dissertation topics. Second, some of the seminar leaders have taken a habit of constantly mentioning some third year optional modules, which we “might want to take” next year. Third, the career service is now occupying a sizeable chunk of our department’s weekly student newsletter with information on different events and summer opportunities. To be sure, the recent email about the summer programme in South Korea certainly caught my eye. Too bad us students are still expected to finish some 10,000–15,000 words of essays (depending on which modules you picked for this term) before we can seriously think about summer.
Alongside our lectures, the busy feeling is partly due to the diversity of other activities available around the campus and in London. The impressive set of exciting events on European politics organised by the King’s European Society two weeks ago filled every single evening of that particular week. Not that I am complaining, considering my field of studies, knowing the Secretary General of the European External Action Service – EEAS (a kind of Foreign Office for the European Union) is not exactly a disadvantage.
Sometimes these extra-curricular activities can have an even more direct impact on your studies. The other week, I was fortunate enough to attend a discussion about the relevance of ambassadors by two British diplomats in Chatham House using my King’s credentials. It goes without saying that my presentation on the very same topic in a seminar for Statecraft and Diplomacy – module the same evening greatly benefited from the experience. A similar opportunity this week, this time run by the Royal African Society, on the prospects of the year 2015 for Africa was a useful supplement for the regional lectures in our Global Politics module. You thought Ebola has affected Africa? Think again.
Given the recent info session we had regarding our module options next year, a few words about the final year are in order. Out of the four full-year modules we will have, one whole module will be writing the dissertation itself. Another one will go to the regional specialisation option and the last two can be selected from some 30 (!) options. Do I know the options? Not yet, but I will definitely express my frustration here when I get the details and start the tough job of narrowing it down to two!