Recent BSc IR graduate Laura Goddard shared her thoughts with us about her time at LSE and her future plans as LSESU’s Community and Welfare Sabbatical Officer
Why did you decide to study International Relations at LSE?
My decision to apply to LSE was definitely influenced by my politics teacher in Sixth Form. He was the most enthusiastic man who raved about his time at LSE during the 80s. When I found out I had got my place, he said he could retire happy.
I actually started LSE on the Politics and IR course. While I by no means disliked the politics aspect I quickly found my real interest lay in the topics like conflict, power, race and gender that we were covering in IR100 International Relations: Theories, Concepts and Debates. So, before I started my second year, I switched my course to International Relations – I guess a testament to how much I enjoyed my teaching (thanks goes to Alireza).
What was your favourite thing about your course, or the department?
I think my favourite thing about the course was just how varied course options were by 3rd year. This meant I got to take a really interesting mix of topics including Nuclear Proliferation, Genocide, and Economic Diplomacy, all of which build from the theory you learn in your first two years.
On a slightly less intellectual note, the IR department moved to the top floors of the new Centre Building in my final year, meaning we now have study spaces with really cool views over London.
Congratulations on your nomination as LSESU’s Community and Welfare Sabbatical Officer. Could you tell us what work you hope to focus on while you’re in this post, and why it’s so important?
Thank you! My main priority this year is focused around support for students. We’ve made some great progress with mental health in the past year, both with my predecessor David (our new Gen Sec) securing £1 million extra funding and with the work of Freedom of Mind. However, not all students are feeling positive changes equally. I want to make mental health support provision more inclusive by lobbying for a LGBTQ+ mental health counsellor, culturally-specific provision in our Faith Centre and addressing the lack of Black and Minority Ethnic counsellors. This is so important because our provision needs to speak to the diversity of students’ experiences and challenges.
Support for sexual violence and harassment survivors is much further behind. Such an isolating experience needs holistic, well-funded support from LSE which sadly we have not seen. This next year I will be pushing for LSE to hire a full-time, independent Sexual Violence Liaison Officer and to introduce support specifically for survivors who identify as male.
Is there any one moment which stands out to you from your time at LSE?
For me, it was the announcement that LSESU Lacrosse was the Club of the Year at the end of my term as President! Joining (and then running) a sports team was the best decision I made – you meet amazing people and is such a good escape when studying and working can seem to be piling up.
You’ve just completed your final year of your undergraduate course. What advice would you give to students who are just beginning theirs this September?
Being in London for your degree is a blessing in that you will have so many opportunities for talks, internships, and experiences at your feet. It can also be really overwhelming at times so my best advice is to invest as much time in your own wellbeing as you do your university commitments. Get the basics right with self-care and everything else will be far easier to deal with.
If you were affected by the themes covered in this article you can report an incident here.
Free impartial advice for students from LSESU Advice Team: firstname.lastname@example.org