Hugh Maughan-McHale

Hometown & Region: Ripon, North Yorkshire

Degree: PPE

A levels: English literature, Mathematics, History, Latin

When I’m not working I’m…

…Trying things. Brasenose and Oxford more generally are absolutely incredible places to ‘be young’. They are vibrant, exciting, social, busy… I personally play quite a bit of badminton, ballroom dance (badly!) and try and get involved in College team activities such as business challenges and drama. However, the social side is also amazing: everything from formal halls to cocktail nights allow you to let your hair down and get to know people across every year in college. I think the most important thing is that there are always people around who are fun, interesting and up for a good time.

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

There were three main reasons I applied to BNC in particular. Firstly, I’m a PPEist and am a sucker for the fact that David Cameron went here. Secondly, there were a lot of institutional advantages I saw at Brasenose: the quality of food, value for money for accommodation,, as well as the guarantee of college-owned accommodation for all years of study, and, most importantly, the spectacular location all appealed to me. However- and this is the most important facet of choosing colleges – as soon as I walked into Brasenose, it felt like home. It was a beautiful day, and the sandstone was shining in the sun. The students there were open, friendly and felt very genuine. It’s an amazing college, and I’m extremely pleased I picked it.

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

I’m not really sure what I expected Oxford life to be like… Having visited Brasenose (which I thoroughly recommend that you do), I could tell that Oxford wasn’t going to be stuffed with Bullingdon style toffs who were permanently ensconced in white tie (as some newspapers appear to genuinely believe). The aspect which has perhaps most surprised me is how deeply friendly and caring the college community is, probably even more so than schools are.

What do you like most about studying in Brasenose?

I most enjoy the communal, collegiate feeling within the library; to be able to work surrounded by people whom you know are doing exactly the same thing is really pleasant. It’s quite an odd one to pick, but it genuinely makes a massive difference to your experience at an academically intensive university.

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

I think the common denominator that I find at Oxford is the ability to think deeply. This doesn’t mean pondering in a pipe-smoke filled room, and certainly shouldn’t carry corollaries of professorial elbow patches. It’s the ability to look at anything- whether it’s a newspaper article, a piece of research or an object- and instinctively start considering the theory behind it, the potential impacts on a wider level, your own position and thoughts about it, what other people may think… It’s the ability to absolutely refuse to take things at face value.

What are the perks of your degree?

The major perk of my degree (and why it’s satirised as a degree in reading newspapers!) is that it allows you to have a far deeper and more intelligent understanding of current affairs. It gives you entirely new perspectives on almost any issue, and gives you the tools to analyse them, and articulate your thoughts eloquently.