Holly Emms

Hometown & Region: Ely, Cambridgeshire

Degree: Medicine

A levels: Biology, Chemistry, French, Maths

Year of study: Third Year

When I’m not working I’m…

…Running cross country and doing athletics, singing in the college choir, eating the free food I get for singing in the choir, making the most of great Oxford pubs (and college bar)

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

Coming to Oxford for open days, I was pretty overwhelmed by the number of colleges, which all seemed equally beautiful and impressive. The friendly greeting from Brasenose, where I got to meet students who seemed to really enjoy their time here, made me warm to it straight away. Beyond that, I was impressed by its central location, and as a medic the fact that it has the biggest medic cohort of any college was another pull. Wanting to study at Oxford was an easier choice: I was attracted by the type of medicine course, which is very different to most unis, and by the tutorial system, which seemed like a brilliant way of teaching

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

Before coming to Oxford I really wasn’t sure what to expect. Some things are just as I’d wanted them to be: you get to live in a beautiful place, with an excellent level of teaching, and you meet really interesting people. I’d expected the workload to be quite high, and I was fairly right there, but I was pleasantly surprised that there’s plenty of time to do other things and to relax – life isn’t all about work.

What do you like most about studying in Brasenose?

It’s very easy to balance work and time off – everyone works fairly hard so you don’t feel like you’re missing out when you need to be in the library, but at the same time there’s always a huge amount going on for relaxing and socialising, and always people around to make a brilliant atmosphere

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

One of the most important things I’ve found is that you need to be really interested in your subject, and in an inquisitive way. This was quite daunting before arriving: I wasn’t sure whether I ticked this box, so to speak. But being at Oxford, surrounded by others doing your subject and meeting with excellent tutors helps to foster your curiosity and deepen your interest, so as long as you arrive with an eagerness to learn.

What are the perks of your degree?

Medicine is a great degree, but something you have to commit to from the start. The perks of doing it at Oxford are that you get a fantastic insight into the science of medicine, something you rarely get elsewhere, before having three years learning clinical skills and seeing patients. The teaching is excellent, medics tend to be really good fun, and of course you get a job at the end of it all, which is comforting! Another perk is having six years rather than three – it seems scary, but as a third year everyone else is apprehensive about leaving and entering the big wide world, whereas we’re treated to twice as much Oxford life. The division of the course into preclinical and clinical also means you get three years as a ‘normal’ undergraduate living in college with friends doing all different subjects, before moving into hospitals and focusing more on a clinical setting.