It’s been an odd week. My second of three terms here at the LSE is winding down (I’m flying home in less than a week!), yet at the same time I’ve been spending a lot of energy getting things at Clark all lined up for next year. It’s a constant mix of peering forward and backward into time all at once (while, of course, stirring the present with a ladle between your toes), and it can get quite bewildering. So, in an effort to clear my head and to give you lovely members (and parents) of the Class of 2017 something to read about this week, I thought I’d talk about a few of the components of my life at Clark next year. I wrote a similar post at about this time two years ago, and it occurs to me that three of the features haven’t changed a bit. Hopefully I’ve grown a little …
(1) Honors Thesis. If everything pans out the way I hope it will, this should be the central focus of my final year at Clark. I’m looking forward to the thesis process, not only because it gives me an opportunity to explore a topic very closely, but because it gives me an opportunity to work with some of my favorite professors at Clark (Butler and Gray) and to gain a bit of perspective on a rigorous academic life; this way, I’ll have some sense of what a Master’s program might be like, should I choose to go that route. The fundamental question I would like to answer is this: what are the economic consequences of modern statehood? Put another way, what changes occur in the economic affairs of a region’s people after they have been recognized as a state by the broader international community? It’s a big topic, to be sure, but I think it nicely bridges the gap between my two degrees (Political Science and Economics) while giving me a bit of space to play around with and contribute something to the literature. It should be fun.
(2) Resident Advisor. Speaking of fun, nothing says party like being an RA, huh? Yes, yes, I know the rep that surrounds being an RA. But I promise it’s got a lot of benefits (some of which I’ve written about before). Beside the fluffy, squishy happy feels™ that you get from working with and for other students, there are lots of nice, tangible things you get. Like a free single room in a bangin’ hall. Like a stipend. And so on and so forth. I’m really looking forward to rejoining staff next year; I did a lot of growing in the position as a sophomore and I see no reason why that wouldn’t continue as a senior. Plus, as I said, Blackstone is awesome. We have a tiled kitchen. Point me to other members of my generation who have a tiled kitchen before age 50 and I’ll be impressed. I’ll probably never see another one again.
(3) [Quasi-]Real Life Living. That brings me to my next thing, which is my attempt to achieve a lifestyle as close to a real, grown-up lifestyle as anyone living in campus housing as a college undergraduate can achieve. While I’ve been in London, I’ve paid for all my expenses, save tuition, and intend to do the same next year as well. This involves (gasp!) coming off the meal plan entirely, which I’d intended to do for a long time but will nonetheless be an exciting challenge. (If you don’t think it’ll be a challenge, remind me to send you the invoice for advance reservations at my new restaurant, opening next month.) Luckily for me, my roommates are Vietnamese and Albanian, respectively, so although my cooking skills may end up being oddly specific by this time next year, no doubt they’ll be at least somewhat decent.
(4) CUSC President. Yay, leadership! As I mentioned a few weeks ago, I was recently elected President of Clark’s Undergraduate Student Council. Happily, this actually means something: I have fairly broad powers and responsibilities, most notably over the Student Activities Fund, which usually ends up being around $800,000, plus whatever surplus we have left over from previous years. As very long-time readers of this blog will know (by this, I usually just mean my mother — and Michele!) I served as Wright Hall Representative during my freshman year and Treasurer during my Sophomore year, so I’ve had quite a bit of experience with the institution. This year should allow me to mesh my fascination with institutions and how they work with quite a bit of getting stuff done. Updates, of course, to follow.
(5) Scarlet Key. Oh yes, this one. Where I have to remind you that I am actually a paid propagandist from whom nary a word or deed can be trusted (like all my other paid propagandist friends). Scarlet Key, for those of you who aren’t, um, down with the lingo, is the name for the group of wonderful, fantastic students who give campus tours and sit on student panels. Some of us (myself, Rebecca, Katie, and Kevin) are also Diarists. I joined Admissions almost on a whim my first year on campus, mainly because I needed the $$$, and quickly found that these were among the most interesting and engaging folks on campus. I’ve had a blast writing for you all this year, but I’ll admit that I miss sitting around the phone room with friends, answering your lovely calls and trying to sneak some of the food we’ve left out for you back to my room. It’ll be good to be back.
Reading over those five quickly, I realize this has become a rather long post, so I’m going to stop here. These are the broad “institutional” elements of my life next year; of course there will be other, no less important things that go on. Those are the things I’ll cover in my posts here on a regular basis – the small things. The big things, which are the things that you’ve just read about, are going to keep going on in the background anyway. Until next week!