Englischer Garten, Munchen

October 2007: the LSE

In early September I arrived in London to begin my taught masters program at the London School of Economics (and Political Science). In my first several days in London I was able to see some of the popular attractions, including the National Gallery, Museum, Westminster, and the Tate Modern. At the Tate Modern I saw a Dalí exhibit. It included the Persistence of Memory (melting clocks), the one with tigers jumping out of each other out of a fish, and a personal favorite - The Metamorphosis of Narcissus. But, of course, my real reason to be here is for studying at LSE.

The London School of Economics

The London School of Economics is situated right in the heart of London city center. I live just south of the Thames, behind the Tate Modern. That allows me the pleasure of crossing the river daily on route to LSE.

London Blackfriars Bridge, with Tate Modern in Distance

My first task was to complete a three week intensive math pre-sessional. I learned more math in those three weeks than my entire time at UCSD. I am now enrolled in the three core classes that are mandatory for MSc Econ students: marco, micro, and methods of economics investigation (econometrics). I'll select a fourth elective at the start of the second week in October.

Aside from the program I am thinking constantly about how to best use my year. I have a lot of decisions to make within the next couple weeks, and then again within the next couple months. In the immediate, I must choose if I wish to seek an internship while in London. LSE offers students an internship scheme that sets you up with a public policy government group, or with an MP (member of Parlaiment). Now that strikes me as a unique opportunity that I'd not want to pass up. But I must weigh it with my burdensome academic work. On top of work, I will decide if I want to join a club. I am interested in Debate and/or an athletics club. But I must remain realistic. There is no way I'll be diving into the internship, Debate Club, and a sports club. I'll investigate the three more closely before deciding what to forgo.

Looking more long-term I find myself asking where I wish to be at the end of the program. As I see it there are three options. The first is to try to get a job during the upcoming job fair. The fair is only three weeks into the first term! The companies interested begin tracking early. My other option is to to excel during the program here and continue my studies at LSE. Although this is the most attractive option at present it'd be a lot of pressure on myself. When I say excel, I mean rise above a lot of otherwise gifted young individuals - many of whom have taken more and understand math better than me. A final option is to reapply to all the American institutions who rejected me last time around and try a round two of PhD applications.

The intensity of my pre-sessional proved challenging, but even my compact performance leaves me with a sense of achievement. When I needed to escape from the 5 hours plus two-three problem sets daily that was required of me, I went to the Shaw Library (think more of a private library/den and less a library from which books can be checked out). It's on the sixth floor of the main building and has a patio that is remarkably secluded and allows one a rewarding mental distance from the coursework.

London Blackfriars Bridge, with Tate Modern in Distance

One small excursion I allowed myself found me at Epping forest. After my second week of studying I desperately wanted out of city center. I took public transit to north-east London. I chose the location because it's one of London's largest parks, but also because of a Genesis song called 'the Battle of Epping Forest'. It was a beautiful wooded area with enough space to walk alone amongst the trees. Lots of berry bushes grow in the forest, too. (Click to enlarge.)

Epping Forest Collage

End of the Summer

Due to my coursework I was unable to update my homepage with regards to the end of my summer. In short, I had a blast, which means my summer concluded much the way it began. I spent a lot of time with my friends, and not so much time at work. I took advantage of having my friends around before I flew overseas. The three most memorable events were Rock the Bells - a concert, another trip up to Roseville, and my birthday trip to Angel Island.

Rock the Bells is a massive hip-hop tour. There were concerts all over the US, but only four shows had the full lineups: New York (twice), LA, and San Francisco. Some of the big names were Public Enemy, Wu Tang Clan, the Roots, Rage Against the Machine, and Cypress Hill. I was there for PE. Getting to watch the amazing intellectual/performer Chuck D in concert was great. They'd performed only rarely since the 90s and I was happily surprised to hear they'd be in SF this summer. Below is Black Thought (the Roots); Chuck D with Flava Flav (PE); and Method Man (Wu Tang Clan).

Rock the Bells. Black Thought, Chuck D, Flava Flav, Method Man

I got to wakeboard, and I it was quality. My friend Josh Rogers graciously took me out on his friends boat and lent me his equipment for the experience. A special thanks to that friend, Paul, for the trip and for his driving.(Click image to enlarge.)

Chris Darrouzet-Nardi, Josh Rogers, Omeed Chandra Wakeboarding

This year I turned 23, which places me happily at early/mid-twenties. It was nice turning 23; for some reason I feel people will take me considerably more seriously than at 22. For my birthday, friends and I went to Angel Island. The island is in the middle of San Francisco Bay and offers extraordinary views of the whole Bay Area. We were lucky to have sunny weather while there. Below is a picture from on top of the island. (Click to enlarge.)

Chris Darrouzet-Nardi Atop Angel Island


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Updated October 3rd, 2007