Hometown & Region: Oxford
A levels: Chemistry, Maths, French
When I’m not working I’m…
…Predictably, usually on the internet, watching films or cats on YouTube, finding the cheapest ways to travel abroad, etc. I also play flute in Wind Band, so (very) occasionally I’m practicing. I’ve done lighting for plays, so that can keep me busy too if there’s something on…I tutor Chemistry to A-level students once a week, which is actually one of my favourite things I do. As for the evenings, I love a good movie night, playing cards, drinking tea, exploring Oxford and finding cool pubs, and, of course, going ‘out out’.
What made you choose to study at Brasenose and/or Oxford? (Be honest if you applied elsewhere…)
I chose to apply to Oxford because of the way my course was structured here, and the tutorial system really appealed to me. The Biochemistry course is really varied, we get to do 5 different modules and it’s great to be able to understand each aspect of study, like proteins for example, from a physical, chemical and biological perspective.
I actually applied to Worcester college, for the simple reason that it had a lake, and did Biochemistry (I was very tired, and it was the end of the open day). I would not recommend this reasoning to anyone applying, but I was lucky enough to have a second interview at Brasenose, obviously it went quite well – and I couldn’t be happier!
Is life in Oxford different to what you expected it to be?
Completely. Honestly I didn’t expect to know anyone from college, particularly not have close friends here. I thought that I would have to join millions of societies and I’d find one person somewhere that I actually had something in common with. I was very wrong. I realised this potentially within the first day of Fresher’s week, when I realised everyone was completely ‘normal’, friendly, really interesting and interested.
The work is also more intense than I thought it would be, not just in terms of volume, but the questions that we get asked are seriously challenging, and very different to anything we would have been set in school. I was always used to having a lesson, learning something, filling out a worksheet on it, etc. Here, you have to find information yourself, and even once you’ve found something, the question will still force to you think around the information that’s available to make sure you really understand the topic. It was initially a huge shock, but I’ve definitely get used to it, I’m finally enjoying it – it’s such a rewarding way of learning, you really do learn a lot.
What do you like most about studying in Brasenose?
The atmosphere in college helps a lot with study. People are serious about their work and interested in their subject which keeps me motivated, but there’s no pressure to perform to a certain degree or be working all the time. It’s also comforting to know people are always around and close by to help if you’re struggling – not just the second years with all the answers or the other biochemists in my year to discuss things with, but having friends close is nice, just to stress out at or relax, they certainly all make the work seem a lot easier and less intimidating.
A quality you think is important for someone looking to study at Oxford?
What are the perks of your degree?
Classes are a definite perk – they are small lessons with about 10 people, you get to know other people on your course so they’re good fun and it’s (normally) really interesting to work through problems with a tutor. Also the biochemistry café is amazing, and we now get a discount there. #winning