I never thought 8 weeks could go so quickly! It’s been such a whirlwind, from Freshers’ week to Halloween parties, to Oxmas (a.k.a. Christmas in November!) events. I must admit, sitting here writing this, I’m very proud of past Lucy for choosing Brasenose and Oxford in general, because now I couldn’t imagine going anywhere else.
Being a northerner and the first in my family to even go to university, I was daunted by the thought of Oxford: intense one-to-one tutorials, snobbery, no social life… I’m thankful to genuinely be able to say that nothing turned out like this! From the moment I arrived at Brasenose, I had a team of second-year students helping carry my (excessive amount of) IKEA bags up the stairs to my room. Even for the most confident people, moving to a new place where you know nobody can make you nervous. I asked everyone their names at least 3 times (and still probably don’t remember everyone’s names), but it can be comforting to know that everyone else feels exactly the same. Especially during Freshers’ Week, it can feel like there is tons of information being thrown at you. Fortunately, we had amazing freshers’ reps and a ton of support from college parents. When you arrive at Brasenose, you will have been assigned a ‘college family’, with 2-3 parents (basically just 2nd or 3rd years doing similar subjects to you) who will be there to look out for you and support you generally. It may seem like a weird tradition (very confusing for me at first) but it’s great knowing there is always someone you can talk to, and you can easily meet some new people who will be your college siblings (other first years with the same parents).
Even though I’ve only been at Oxford for a term, I have already experienced the infamous Imposter Syndrome. My sixth-form college (big up Greenhead <3) has been known for getting lots of students into Oxbridge, which subconsciously put pressure on me to prove my worth and uphold the reputation. As anyone will tell you (even your own professors), they chose you for a reason. Tutors can seem scary, but it is so unique to be taught by and have discussions with experts in your field of interest. All of my tutors have been so supportive, having check-ins at the beginning and end of term.
My course is taught by two separate faculties, meaning I have half of my teaching in college (apart from lectures) and half is ran centrally, university wide. I’ve had the opportunity to meet so many people, from a variety of backgrounds. Especially throughout school, there can be this pressure to form a friendship group and stick with them all the time. I felt this creep in with the pressure to make lots of friends in Freshers’ week and to “settle” with a group, but when people say Brasenose is the friendliest college, they really aren’t lying! I would still feel comfortable going to talk to or sit with anyone. Having dinner in hall has been a great way to socialise and get to know people better, plus the value for money is unmatched (~£3 for a BIG meal and hot dessert!!). Also, whether you drink alcohol or not, the Brasenose College bar is always a great place to meet new friends or bring visiting friends or family.
I would definitely say Oxmas has been one of my highlights so far. The festive season was celebrated with an open mic night (including a questionable performance of Poker Face by Lady Gaga), the Brasenose Oxmas ball (and me falling on the footpath of the River Thames whilst running for a taxi, classy as always) and a Christmas film- and music- themed BOP (a ‘big organised party’, aka a super fun, often themed costume party that most people in college attend). The work can seem intense (as at any university), but Brasenose has plenty of social events to break it up throughout the year.
In short, Brasenose already feels like a second home to me. I would definitely give it 5/5 on TripAdvisor :)
My biggest piece of advice: look after yourself! Freshers’ Flu is very real, you don’t have to spend every day in the library and look out for bikes when crossing the road.
By Lucy, a first year French and Arabic student (formerly of Greenhead College)