Student Blog: Maan trusts his guts

IMG 0768The Oxford open day I attended was quite a blur. It was my first time in Oxford and wherever I walked I was given brochures, pens and was told how great each college was. I don’t really remember which colleges I walked around in. All colleges melted into one. All except Brasenose. Right from the moment I reached the far end of New Quad, I realised that I wanted to apply to Brasenose. It was the perfect balance amongst Oxford colleges. Not too big and intimidating but also not too small and claustrophobic. Not too ancient, not too modern. And that was it, I applied to Brasenose and waited eagerly for their decision on whether or not to interview me. I wish I could say I decided to apply to Brasenose because of its entire course accommodation provision, its central location or its fantastic cafe. However, it was a completely gut decision and I was happy to learn that my gut was right.

Choosing to study History and Politics was a bit more of a well-researched decision. I wanted a very open course that would allow me to cover things like the development of political institutions, Middle Eastern history and political theory. Studying History and Politics at Brasenose is particularly great because the college’s tutors are so well-aligned with my interests. They also push me to explore new interests. My political theory tutor, for example, frequently blew my mind with a new or different take on what I had thought to be an accepted ‘truth’. I hope I don’t sound insincere when I say that I really did look forward to his tutorials. One of my favourite ‘wow’ moments was when I realised that one of my Middle Eastern history tutors authored a book I had read on the topic before I even began to think about applying to Oxford.

Brasenose offers a vibrant social scene for when I am not reading or writing. I have attended every bop (college party) since my very first and I also try to attend as many of the events that the college’s Entz reps (Entertainment Representatives) organise for us. My personal favourites is our Christmas and Easter black tie parties where I get to catch up with people in college who I might not usually see around.

I am most happy about Brasenose’s accommodation provision. I am not exactly an international student but my family lives in Iraq so this means that I actually live in Brasenose’s Frewin Annexe (which is even more central than the main College site) over most of each vacation. Because of this, I joined the Oxford Union’s committee, which requires work organising events during the vacation, early on in my time here. While there, I was able to debate in two debates alongside such figures as George Galloway and the Chair of the Education Select Committee. I was also fortunate enough to organise several debates and two socials. It was also a great opportunity to meet many people outside of college. I have been quite lucky in that I have friends in and out of college and it’s always great to be able to introduce people to each other and create new friendships. Brasenose is definitely one of the more outgoing colleges and people here are quite well integrated into wider Oxford. Other than that, I have written for various publications here, managed the marketing for a student play and I am currently serving as Treasurer of the Oxford Hip Hop Society!

I really can’t recommend History and Politics, Brasenose and Oxford enough. I have just began my final year here and it has really made me think about my past two years. I cannot imagine having had the same great experiences at any other place.

By Maan Al-Yasiri (3rd Year History and Politics student)

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