The step up from school to Oxford was intense at first but you quickly fall into a routine. The tutors are supportive, and second years (particularly college parents) have all been through it before so are the best place for advice.
I originally never intended to try for Oxford. Very few people from my school apply, let alone get accepted to, Oxford or Cambridge universities so I never thought to use up a UCAS spot on what seemed like a long-shot. I heard about Oxford’s UNIQ Summer School for state school students and applied, thinking it would look impressive on my UCAS application to other universities. UNIQ gave me a great chance to experience the city, the university and what studying law would be like and within a week I fell in love with it all. I had such a good time it not only made me want to apply to Oxford, but it became my first choice by far.
Oxford is a wonderful place to learn. If you ever feel weighed down with work, or homesick, taking a walk around this beautiful, historic city is the best way to perk yourself back up again. Having lectures and tutorials with the academics who have written the textbooks and articles on your topic is truly inspiring, even if you can feel a bit star-struck by them sometimes!
I wanted to apply to a central college, with a medium-sized student body, which offered accommodation for the whole course and had a 24 hour library. I did my research before visiting various colleges which met my criteria on an Open Day. Trinity was the college that stuck with me; the quads here feel so open. After seeing the gardens in the sunshine, I knew that I wanted to spend my summer terms here. It’s difficult to pick the best bit about being at Trinity but, for me, it really is all about location, location, location. It is so central that anything beyond a five minute walk is rare. The food is another major draw, with weekly “Steak and Brie” nights in Hall being packed out regularly!
I first thought about studying Law when I did work experience with solicitors in Year 10 but I only made up my mind during A-levels. English Literature was my favourite subject but I didn’t want to risk resenting it later if I didn’t enjoy the degree. I chose Law because it was something new and interesting, would use similar skills, and could be of direct use for later employment.
The step up from school to Oxford was intense at first but you quickly fall into a routine. The tutors are supportive, and second years (particularly college parents) have all been through it before so are the best place for advice. The main challenge has been using original thoughts, knowing a textbook inside out won’t be enough anymore. You develop the ability to be critical; learning to question what you read and how to articulate your own ideas on a subject. Organisation and time management are also key skills. There is a heavy workload in terms of independent reading and you have to write three tutorial essays every two weeks so it is up to you to structure studies.
Outside of Law, I’ve started rowing since being here at Oxford. It’s a lot of fun, especially at competition time as the races are big events with crowds of people by the river supporting all the colleges. It is really helpful as stress-relief and has been a great way to meet people. Watching the sunrise in some of the prettiest parts of Oxford almost makes the early morning outings worthwhile.