The busy last weeks of the term have made me think about two pieces of advice. First, schedule your work. Getting the most out of the teaching depends on scheduling your readings and assignments, but it also enables you to have a (degree of) social life. That is where the second piece of advice comes in: have a bucket list. With that, especially a shared one with friends, you ensure that when you are not studying you actually leave your flat and the newest episode of House of Cards and get something in return for paying rent in central London.
To be sure, it feels like we just started our second term and had plenty of time to schedule, plan and complete our different assignments by the end of term. And yet, a quick look at any social media platform last week revealed many of us staying late hours at Maughan library battling against the old archenemy – the maximum word count. Having spent most of my evenings in the library for the past two weeks, I have to say that as long as you reserve enough time for the process, it can be very enjoyable. Moreover, in our Global Politics module we were tasked to set up our own research question based on our own interests. Now that the work is done, if anyone is keen on the Chinese naval modernization (War and Global Conflict- module), the future of the Arctic region (Global Politics- module) or the utility of military force as a tool of statecraft (Statecraft, War and Diplomacy- module), I am always up for a chat!
The other big thing occupying everyone’s time has been the module allocation process for our final year. Ranging from ‘Ancient Warfare’ to ‘Nature of Riots’ and ‘Political Economy of the Middle East’, putting twelve options down from 38 in order of preference was not an easy task. Eventually we would get one regional specialization (I chose ‘Russia in the 21st century’) as well as two other taught modules while the dissertation module would be based on independent study and regular meetings with a personal tutor. Perhaps something that I have learned this term is useful to share here: be proactive in asking for help from those who have been in the department longer than you. While the seminar tutors or your personal tutor cannot obviously give feedback on the exact content of your essay, they are always happy to discuss the general structure or point you towards useful readings.
In the end, despite all the papers and presentations, those are not the things I will remember from this term. Instead, I will remember the amazing event we organised together with three different King’s societies regarding the perceived Clash of Civilizations between Muslims and Christians in Europe, the talk by UK Foreign Secretary Philip Hammond in RUSI, the end of term social in a German beer garden and the charity concert where three friends of mine were singing. Books and articles are there whenever you need them, but for the really important things, you only got three short years.