Alice Newton-Fenner

Hometown & Region: North London – Haringey

Degree: Psychology and Philosophy

A levels: Biology, Maths, Philosophy & Ethics

When I’m not working I’m…

…Involved in LOTS OF DRINKING TEA; hanging out in friends rooms having a chat takes up a good hour or so most days. Also, pub trips – Oxford has a large number of amazing old-timey pubs with some really good ales, there are some lovely places to relax if we’ve had a deadline that day. In terms of “proper stuff” though, I am on the Women’s Campaign committee (the university’s feminist society). We organise loads of events, from club nights, to slut walks, to discussion evenings and speaker events. I’ve been having the most brilliant time doing it and have met loads of people from other years and other colleges.

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

Oxford is one of the best universities in the world for Psychology and the best place for studying both Psychology and Philosophy as a single course. I chose Brasenose for three reasons. First, they offered a large number of places for my course compared to other colleges (Psych&Phil is pretty niche and not many places are offered anywhere), so I was playing the numbers a little bit. Secondly, the promise of accommodation for all 3 years; this one I valued because I had heard horror stories of 1st years searching for houses with future roommates that they had only known for 3 weeks! And the final reason was….it’s really pretty.

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

It differs between courses and people’s interests I think, but I have found that colleges are more insular than I was expecting. This is a good and bad thing though: I haven’t met as many people from different colleges that I thought I was going to, but there’s an incredibly close knit community feel about BNC that I think most universities miss out on.

What do you like most about studying in Brasenose?

You can’t deny the appeal of Brasenose’s location. Both the main site and the Frewin annexe could not be more central if they tried, so getting anywhere in the centre of town never takes more than 10 minutes.

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

I always notice a passion in the people in oxford – ask them about their subject and they won’t just complain about impending deadlines and stress levels, but more often than not will give you a ten minute speech about something that they just learnt, which in their eyes is THE MOST AWESOME THING EVER KNOWN. It’s very special to be around, to be surrounded by people who are self-professed geeks and obsessed, and doing what they love. I think that studying at Oxford isn’t just about being good at your subject, but it’s also about revelling in it.

What are the perks of your degree?

In a word: BRAINS. We get to touch brains, which is undoubtedly insanely cool, if a bit gross. Other than that, I like having a mix of the two different disciplines and their completely different styles. Most students get to experience either arts or sciences; I get both! I can spend my morning learning scientific facts about how we are able to perceive the world, how neurons firing in different brain areas can activate memories, emotions, hallucinations and even phantom limbs. Then in the afternoon, I’ll spend an hour or two debating what philosophical implications this has on our connection to reality and existence, I think therefore I am and things like that. It’s pretty great!