Essi Turkson

Hometown & Region: Edmonton, London

Degree: Psychology (Experimental)

Year of study: Second Year

When I’m not working I’m…

…Watching random (and sometimes very strange clips) on YouTube; watching ridiculous amounts of trashy American TV; singing in Brasenose Choir

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

I was initially really hesitant to apply to Oxford because of its reputation and the negative things I had heard about the workload. However, my experience at the Oxford open day completely changed my mind. I spent most of the day in the Psychology Department finding out whether I thought the course here was something I was interested in, there were talks about how the subject is structured and students there talking about their experience, which made me feel less daunted by the idea of applying.

I found Brasenose completely by accident, had never heard of it before, but decided to look round anyway. The person giving us the tour was lovely and the buildings were beautiful- I really liked the fact that the college was essentially on the high street as being close to the city centre and shops and things was really important to me. This made me realise that having the opportunity to study in a place like this was really exciting and something that I definitely wanted to do

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

Yes and no. Yes, because there can be lots of work and it is meant to push you so can be difficult. But I am by no means busy working all the time and I have plenty of time to sit around doing nothing. I also came here thinking that I would feel out of place because of my finances, my race, because I am not really smart, but I managed to find people who I connect with and I realised that Oxford is full of a diverse range of people.

What do you like most about studying in Brasenose?

Brasenose is really old and because of this it has some really fun traditions, most of which involve standing on tables and singing and dancing in the dining hall. These are great fun as they really bring the college community together.

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

To be willing to have and to share your own opinion. Our tutorials involve a tutor with two or three students discussing the topic that we are currently studying and at some point you might be asked what theories you most agree with and why or asked to highlight problems in an experimental procedure. No one is testing you and you are not expected to be right all the time (I’m certainly not) and often there is no correct answer, but it does show that you have engaged with the topic (?)

What are the perks of your degree?

Money! There are several experiments going on at the psychology department and in the nearby hospital which offer participants money. As psychology students you hear about them first as they are advertised in the department and you receive emails about them.

The hands-on experience. I recently spent some time working as a research assistant for a developmental psychology project where I spent the day playing with play-do and wearing stickers as well as actually helping the children with the different experiments. Additionally, in your third year you get to do a project of your choice, which means you can work with people with different disorders or with children allowing you to actually see some of the things we have learnt about in lectures.