Three Lessons from Three Years at LUSEM
For me, coming to Lund meant a wild and vivid feeling of falling in love with a city. As time faded, that feeling transformed into something consistent and comforting. Over three years, I, as well as those around me have changed, while Lund has remained still. Entering the Astro gala, I was hit with a sensation hard to describe; almost as if I were in a story with the wrong characters. Everything around me was so familiar. The ostentatious venue. The neatly decorated tables. The crowd of joyful students in white ties and magnificent dresses. Yet, something had changed. Most of my former friends were missing. While people come and go, the traditions persist. I think that notion embodies Lund, but that is not the only thing I have learned these past years.
When I look back at my time at LUSEM, I see a journey filled with wonderful moments sporadically shadowed by hardships. Studying at University entails a lot of those things that make us human. We celebrate and we sorrow. We thrive and we decay. We build and we crash relations. Nevertheless, we learn something, and my main takeaways follow below.
The need for balance. Extreme outliers are seldom good, neither in statistics nor in life. Studies at LUSEM can entail a huge cocktail of engagements, such as mixing school with LE while finding time to dine with friends, go dancing, or whatever your preferred activity is. Always choosing one over another is rarely a winning concept. When I overemphasized school, I felt isolated and bored. When I spent too much time socializing, I felt sluggish and unproductive. Finding a balance is not about finding a perfect balance; it is about finding one that works. One week that is partying two times, another week zero. What finally helped me was being aware of my body, and adapting a sense of JOMO – joy of missing out –, a great way to reframe how you look at saying no.
The cycle of adaptation. We experience. We learn. We adapt. These three years, curveballs have been coming left and right. Luckily, time passes and what was the catastrophe of tomorrow turns into the news of yesterday. Covid-19 is probably the most tangible example of this cycle. We experienced lockdowns, Zoom lectures, and a physical novice week. We learned the importance of social connectivity and the discipline needed in online studies. We adapted to a disconnected life. Lifting the restrictions and releasing the floods, we found ourselves in a new world, one abundant with social events and distractions. Now, we had to experience Lund in a different setting, learn, and adapt. This capacity to endure adverse times and grow from them is a fruitful trait I see among all my peers.
The value of a community. Regardless of if it is your dorm, student union, nation, or friends from the novice week, close-knitted communities are an integral part of life in Lund. Participating in these kinds of communities comes with a feeling of warmth, joy, and safety. Experiencing some of my best memories as an active member, I am not at all surprised that connection to a community is a proxy for vitality and happiness. However, feeling this deep sense of unity can also be problematic once the end is getting closer. Leaving a community, such as a union, is for many related to separation anxiety. In this situation, I found it valuable to remember that these types of communities exist everywhere, and instead, focus on cherishing the relationships and memories you got this time.
Stepping onto the train toward new adventures in a few weeks, I will look back at Lund with a mind filled with memories and a heart filled with warmness. The flourishing spring in Lund. The sense of youthful happiness. The weekday clubbing. The difficult choice between academia or social activities. The first time putting on a medal. There are so many things that make Lund special. Luckily, they will continue to do so. Traditions persist; people change. Now it is my time to leave this city, and I do so with a newly evoked emphasis on balance, adaptation, and communities.