Alexandra Sutton

Hometown & Region: Oldham, Greater Manchester

Degree: English Language and Literature

A levels: English Lit, French, Govt and Politics, History

When I’m not working I’m…

Generally pottering about Oxford, writing pseudo-journalistic blog articles, sitting, dancing terribly in clubs, going to the pub and/or gigs, watching plays, watching Adventure Time….  Most of the time these activities come with friends included, of course!

What made you choose to study at Brasenose and/or Oxford?

My first experience of Oxford came from reading Philip Pullman’s His Dark Materials, which pretty much sold the city, but in a more serious capacity, I wanted to be surrounded by people who loved my subject as much as me, and Oxford seemed to offer that. I actually applied to Hertford the first time round, but I think I built the interview up too much, and it didn’t go very well. I initially decided not to reapply and went up to St. Andrews, but I didn’t enjoy the course and so decided to trade it in for a year working in River Island. I don’t like to think of Oxford as the be-all-and-end-all – at that point I just wanted to go to a university, any university – so the decision to reapply was a bit of a whim. As such, I was much more relaxed in the interview, enjoyed the discussion, and it paid off! I chose Brasenose because the open day people were lovely and the tutors seemed interesting and friendly.

Is life in Oxford different to what you expected it to be?

To sit on the fence, yes and no. I expected it to be hard, and it was maybe a little harder; I also expected it to be exciting, and it has been so much more than that. It’s a uniquely intense experience in which everything is amplified, from discussions in the pub, to weekly essays, to spectacular balls. It’s completely exhausting, but I’ve come out with some excellent stories.

What do you like most about studying in Brasenose?

In general, it’s a homey, cheery college, with a library full of friendly faces and people who understand/have been through/are going through the same workload as yourself, which creates a sense of camaraderie. The English team is incredible; as we are a small group we are very close, and working with your friends every day makes it all that much easier. Equally, our tutors are engaging, encouraging, completely different from one another (everyone likes a bit of variety!) and some of the best in the uni – in my mind anyway!

A quality you think is important for someone looking to study at Oxford?

It sounds obvious but I think you have to really, really like your subject, be interested in other people’s ideas, and be ready to engage with those around you. The work is hard, and I’ve fallen out with reading several times, but there’s always been someone on hand to remind me why I love literature, which at the end of the day is why I’m studying here.

What are the perks of your degree?

There are so many books here. So many books, and they are mainly in lovely old libraries that we get to use whenever we want, which seems like a pretty sweet deal. Also the English Faculty offers lots of opportunities to do interesting things – last year I got to do an internship at The Times. English may be an employable degree after all!