I envisioned I would arrive in London on a rare, gloriously sunny morning – whose brightness was only surpassed by my sunny disposition. My fellow riders on the tube would smile and nod at my luggage – joyously approving of my choice to nest within their city. My husband and I would find the most adorable flat, complete with bookshelves to cradle my most prized possessions, and I would take a selfie to Instagram on my first day of graduate school.
Yet, on the first day I should have been in London, I found myself sitting beside my parent’s old dog on the phone with the US postal service because my passport was either being held hostage by the British Consulate (unlikely) or the postal service had “misplaced” it.
As I sat in my parent’s home, on the phone with LSE’s Immigration Services, I felt rocks piling up in my stomach. I realized instead of getting to London a week early and easing into my Master’s degree, I would be classified as a “late arrival,” that is if I ever arrived at all.
With less than 3 weeks until registration at LSE closed, I had neither a passport nor visa.
While I have known for two years that I wanted to attend LSE, I wasn’t aware how badly I wanted it.
I didn’t know how much I wanted to read copious amounts of my Complex Emergency textbook and write essays on capabilities as a means to measure poverty. How ready I was to stay up late studying in the library again. How hungry I was to ask questions about girls’ education, imagine strategies to ensure access to basic resources for rural villages, and discuss how to measure the effectiveness of our good intentions.
This is not to over romanticize the (likely) grueling experience of graduate school, but rather to stake claim to my desire. The desire to challenge my perceived notions, to be confronted with truths that contrast my own, and to expand the boundaries of my way of understanding.
Due to this desire and my tenacious spirit (and a new passport, new letter from LSE, new visa, and new flight reservations), I’m excited to say I touched down in London Oct. 8th. I attended my first class in graduate school jet-lagged and ate airline peanuts for lunch. It didn’t even rain.