Student Blog: A New Start


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"This first term at university has been a completely different experience to sixth form, and although it has taken some adjusting, it has been one of the best experiences of my life."

Assuming I don’t go on to do a masters degree, I have completed one-ninth of my time at Brasenose. That seems like a scary statistic; to think I only have eight more terms at Oxford is surreal. But, if each of those terms are as good as this one has been, I would have had a fantastic 3 years at Oxford!

I arrived in a car loaded with everything I could possibly need – plates, cutlery, pencil case, even a cheese grater! There were also doubts and worries at the back of my mind. To come down from Nottingham to Oxford was a huge change, even without having to build new friendships from scratch. Fortunately, freshers’ week provided ample opportunity to meet everyone in the college. The first night was a hectic blitz of introductions and attempting to remember names (which sadly was not as successful as I had hoped!), and before the end of the week I had met a lot of great friends, including my two college husbands (for those unaware, Oxford uses a college family system, where married “parents” are assigned “children” to ensure freshers feel welcomed in the first term)! The relatively small size of each year group in Brasenose meant we were able to get to meet everyone within the first term. The freshers’ reps in college were amazing, and every day had fun events and opportunities to expand our friendships. All good things must come to an end, though, and before too long the academic side of Oxford begun.

This was one of the aspects of university I was most worried about. The stereotype of Oxford is of demanding tutors, impossible deadlines, and a generally intense academic side. What if I was unable to cope with such a change of teaching methods and topics? What if I struggled to keep up with the rest of my classmates? Thankfully, it was not nearly as bad as I had feared. Of course, the shorter terms and the high level of work expected can be difficult at times, but the tutors do genuinely want you to succeed in their topic. To be taught and lectured by some of the top-level experts in their fields is a real privilege, and it’s easy for their passion to be rubbed off onto you! I’m also very fortunate to be taking my subject with a wonderful group of people, and the sense of community we have is vital during the more difficult moments of the course. I have thoroughly enjoyed expanding my skills in the subjects I have a real passion for.

Brasenose also gave me the opportunity to explore new interests, mostly sports based. I had stopped doing competitive sports in year 12 due to COVID and exams, so I was eager to return to the field. The college societies fair had a huge amount of choice, with many I had barely heard of! In the end, I decided on badminton and rugby, which proved to be quality choices. Outside of Brasenose, there are plenty of other opportunities; no matter your subject or interests, there will be people within Oxford that you can share them with. As a PPEist, I naturally gravitated towards the Oxford Union, one of the oldest debating societies in the UK. The Union allows all members to give speeches, and while it was intimidating at first to speak in a packed chamber, I’m glad to say I contributed to many debates. I even dabbled in the electoral side of the Union, which was a fantastic experience, if unsuccessful!

This first term at university has been a completely different experience to sixth form, and although it has taken some adjusting, it has been one of the best experiences of my life. Brasenose has been a wonderful place to study, and an integral part of this has been the people in it. I can wholeheartedly say that my worries about starting university have been proven wrong, and I look forward to 8 more terms at Brasenose College!

By Alexander Elliot, formerly of Bramcote College

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