“Khokay pay chalen gey”, exclaimed a familiar voice over the phone. My friend, like countless other Luminites, used the holy water that was the promise of going to the ‘khoka’ to douse any flames of resistance I may have harbored, and it worked. On the very next day, I was stood outside the main gate, taking in the most iconic smell associated with the institution, ‘naalay ki khushboo’. The campus feels more like a scale replica of a city rather than a University campus. The ample usage of red bricks, however, betrays its academic nature (apparently using red bricks in Pakistan is tantamount to posting a sign saying ‘premium education institute’). Beyond the architectural shenanigans, the diversity at campus strikes at once. LUMS has a reputation for being elitist and so one would assume that a very specific demographics would be abundant. This is not the case at all. In my very first visit (and in many subsequent visits) I met people from all corners of the country. Of note is the university’s robust program designed specifically for children from low-income households who possess the requisite academic standard (the National Outreach Program). If you were to pose the question, ‘LUMS kyun jaa rahay ho’ to anyone, the most common answer would be, ‘facilities check karo yaar’. I can personally attest to the veracity of this statement. LUMS’ sprawling campus is loaded with facilities, whether it be a Swimming pool, an indoor centre with Basketball, Badminton, and Table Tennis or huge open fields. What made me happy in particular, however, was the fact that the most important part of our Pakistani lifestyle was not ignored. By this, I am obviously referring to food (someone literally had a Jammin’ Java café built in an academic building). Even the illustrious Khoka owes part of its allure to the canteen that accompanies it. Another major spot for food is the Pepsi Dining Centre (PDC) which has low priced food aimed at both hostel-dwellers and any other person in need of a decently priced meal. The ample focus on food extends to other restaurants (such as Bombay Chowpatty and Zakir Tikka) and is an absolute masterstroke, what better way to convince us Pakistanis of how good a place is? Other places of interest include the ICC-accredited Biomechanics Lab (if only we’d had it back when Saeed Ajmal was having action problems) and the Nuclear Magnetic Resonance instrument (which I was too scared to go near particularly after watching Chernobyl). On the more academic side of things, most students I have had the opportunity to interact with have been (extremely tired and frustrated, specifically in the higher years) bright and quite ambitious, particularly those from humbler backgrounds. I had the opportunity to interact with a student who came all the way from Sukkur. ‘Facilities bohot hain’ said Khosa Sahab with a proud smile. Mehmood Khosa (AKA Khosa Sahab) is a man with an expressive vocabulary and a heart worn so openly on the sleeve that I wonder what the difference between his conscious and subconscious thoughts is. Khosa Sahab’s honesty knows no bounds, while half of our talk revolved around how LUMS provided fantastic facilities, the other half had him take a tight U-turn and explain to me how LUMS fell short of his expectations in certain aspects. After the discussion (which consisted of Khosa Sahab speaking 90% of the time and me nodding) he insisted on treating us to a cup of tea (PDC makes damn good tea guys). What inspired me the most, however, was the man’s dedication, Khosa Sahab had stayed at LUMS during the Summer break and spent the entire day in the library. He was so dedicated to improving his grasp of the English Language that he was reading classics in the library (on this day, the book of choice was George Orwell’s “Animal Farm”). To cut a long story short (I could write an entire article on Khosa Sahab), this meeting made me realize for the first time that the biggest impact made by the university was on people who had not been exposed to such high standards before. All jokes aside, kudos to LUMS for giving people like him a world-class environment. All things said. nothing is without its faults. From the archnemesis of every Luminite (Zambeel) to a recent refocusing of the budget (which apparently took away financial aid from many deserving students) LUMS does have a few chinks in its armor. Though recent publications regarding the university seem to portray a lost cause, I can assure the reader that not all is doom and gloom at LUMS (in fact it isn’t doom and gloom at all). For instance, Zambeel, which is an online portal that handles student information such as fees, course details, and timetables, etc. has often been the target of widespread criticism by students. While the idea of having an online portal through which students can handle literally everything related to their university life is a great one, the execution (servers crashing during enrollment) leaves a lot to be desired, however through recent changes to the enrollment procedure things may be changing. The point then is that while there is a lot to criticize here (and you’d be hard-pressed to find a place where there isn’t) the age-old maxim of credit where credit is due must not be forgotten. The writer would like to thank Ibrahim Abro for all the visits to LUMS and for providing the ideological basis of this article along with all the material used within. Abdul Mueed Kayani is a Second Year Law Student at the University of Bristol with an interest in journalism, politics, and current affairs.