A disclaimer: this is not a guide on how to apply for Oxbridge. Hell, I don’t even know how to apply to Oxbridge, I’m still trying to figure it out. If you’d like to hear a little more about the process, rather than just reading my prose about it, then feel free to leave a comment, or contact me on one of my social media sites. I’m always willing to offer some help, but I’m no expert. I’m just a struggling A-level student currently going through the process.
In August 2017, I was lying on my back, staring up at my bedroom ceiling, studying the little blobs of blue-tack still affixed to the plaster. I had a decision to make.
It was nearing midday, and I hadn’t been particularly productive with my day. Maybe part of my sluggishness was the knowledge that I would have to be up at 6:45am the next day for work, although a more likely explanation was my naturally procrastinating state of mind.
According to UCAS.com, the website I would have to submit my university application through, I should have started and almost completed my personal statement. That was if I wanted to apply to be a doctor, a dentist, a vet, or if I wanted to fulfil my dream of applying to the University of Oxford.
The University of Oxford is one of the most well-known universities in the UK, maybe even the world. Every time I saw my grandparents, they would ask if I’d been watching the epic fight off between ‘Corpus Christi, Oxford’ and ‘Wolfson, Cambridge’ on University Challenge. My mum always used to tell me that she applied for Oxford, got an interview, but ultimately didn’t get a place.
Did I want to do one better? Did I want a shot of getting onto BBC Two at 8 o’clock on a Monday evening? Bumping shoulders with the Eton boys and Jeremy Paxman?
Most of what I believe in and want for my life goes against a collegiate traditional education or even a university education at all. I consider myself to be very liberal, very left wing, a Green/Labour supporter with a natural dislike for anyone with a few extra wads of cash and a ‘holier than thou’ attitude. I don’t like conforming to a gender stereotype, I am a feminist, and an atheist, and I hate all sports with a burning passion second only to classical music.
As I told myself, over and over again, I was only applying to Oxford for the experience. For the possibility of an interview, and to put myself through the perils of the History Aptitude Test and see whether I would come out the other side in one full piece. No other reason. I’d been to the other two universities I wanted to go to, and I’d loved both of them. There was no need for me to like Oxford.
Giving myself dreams as high as Oxford University would be dangerous. I don’t have a strong resistance to failure, and putting myself all the hopes and stress of a three-month application process with no cigar would crush me emotionally. All the same, I opened my laptop, opened a Google Docs page, and began to type meaningless words onto an empty page.
(for those of you, the image I have provided for this post is one of Wadham College, Oxford – the college I have decided to apply for)
(I’m also very sorry to any non-Brits who have been confused by this post. I genuinely don’t know how best to describe our education system. Watch this video for some more information on the topic.)