//What I learnt from visiting Oxford University//

I don’t know if you can remember but a few months ago I wrote about how I’d been invited to visit Oxford University in the summer. Well, a few weeks ago (more like a month, actually, but we’ll leave my disorganised blogging out of this) I went to Oxford!

I’d never been to Oxford before so it’s fair to say I was a bit gobsmacked by the beauty of the city when we arrived. It literally felt like I’d stepped back into the past as every single building had this kind of Gothic feel to it due to the extraordinary architecture. However beautiful the narrow streets were, they did cause a bit of a problem with parking the minibus so we just had to pull up quickly outside Lincoln College (which was the college we were supposed to be visiting) and jump out. Unfortunately my school’s minibus’ weren’t designed for tall people so when it was my turn to jump out of the minibus, I hit my head on the roof/door frame. Fun.

I think these buildings are student accomodation but most of the streets in Oxford looked like this, aoart from the high street which was normal road width.

Anyway, we then headed through one of the numerous Hogwarts-y door ways which were so huge even Hagrid would have been able to fit through. The doorway led – to our surprise – to Jesus College (it was kind of surprising how easy it was for a group 10 teenagers and a teacher-who’s-not-actually-a-teacher to walk into the wrong college and loiter in the entrance hall for a few minutes before anyone noticed) but we were soon pointed in the direction of Lincoln College. When we arrived at Lincoln, we were greeted by our tour guide, an Oxford graduate, who then took us back to Jesus College because Lincoln College was full up. So basically we spent the first 20 minutes in Oxford wandering round in circles!
Once we eventually got there (and after some interesting incidents invovling pitch-black toilets, phone lights and shadows – nothing more need be said) we went into a lecture theatre and joined a group of students from another school not too far from mine to find out more about the university and what studying there could offer. 

That’s when it finally began to sink in that I was sat in Oxford University – one of the top universities in the world – surrounded by people who, like me, were considered to be possible future Oxford students. 

I kind of have mixed feelings about the experience as a whole. It did feel good to be in an environment where we were constantly being encouraged and inspired to have high aspirations yet I couldn’t help but feel out of place. I felt the same whilst we had a tour of Jesus and Lincoln College’s too. The colleges themselves were incredibly pretty, and so were their accompanying libraries.

One of the colleges.

The quadrant we ate lunch in (not sure which college this was in, I’d lost track by this point)

Another of the colleges.

I think this is the main library but I’m not entirely sure.

Another part of the university.

I could definitely feel just how peaceful an environment Oxford University would be to study in and how rewarding it would be to live and study somewhere like this after putting in all the effort it would take to get there. Yet I couldn’t imagine myself being there. If there’s one thing I’ve learned from going to university open days with my sister, it’s that some places just don’t feel ‘right’. And Oxford was one of them.
I’m not sure if it’s because I am very self critical when it comes to my acedemic abilities and was constantly questioning why I had been invited on the trip throughout the day, or if it was because Oxford is so different to anywhere else I’ve been and I’d never given studying at Oxford University much thought until the actual day of the trip.

Aside from this, something else visiting Oxford made me realise is that it’s not perhaps as elitest as I thought. Obviously it still is in the sense that their entry requirements and very, very high, but just the fact that my school has been targeted by Oxford as a school that could, and has, provide the university with future students shows that background isn’t as important as it once was. My school itself is in a fairly nice area, but the rest of my town is really not that nice of a place or at least not the type of place you’d expect people to have high aspirations.

Another thing I noticed is that the vast majority of the students from my school, and the other local school that we were grouped with, were female. In fact, there were only four boys in a group of around 30. I thought this was quite interesting as it just goes to show how encouraging and assisting girls to aspire high in terms of education (which is something my school, and probably many others in the UK, had been. doing increasingly over the past few years) has worked. I do feel as though girls do tend to be encouraged to aim high at school more than boys do, but that is a subject I’ll talk about another time.

So, overall, what I learnt from visiting Oxford University is that although it may not be the right place for me, it really does live up to it’s reputation of being a top educational establishment, getting into Oxford requires a lot of hard work and committment, it’s not as elitest as it used to be as it gives the impression that anyone of any background would be welcomed there and it is basically Hogwarts.:)

(Oh and also that there is a bakery in Oxford that makes really nice white chocolate chip cookies – thanks to the awesome teacher-who’s-not-really-a-teacher who bought us all cookies.)

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Author: Em is Lost

I'm a teenage blogger who loves adventure and the great outdoors. I enjoy blogging about a range of topics including scouting, politics, feminism, world affairs and the life of a teenager in general.

17 thoughts on “//What I learnt from visiting Oxford University//”

  1. Honestly i feel like im just a bit too young to be considering universities (Im 15, going into year 11.) but ive been to oxford quite a few times (most recently in july.) and as pretty and prestigious as it is I don’t know either if it would be right for me! I want to do poli sci and its third in the world for that subject so my parents will try and get me to apply , but im just not sure i would fit in at a university with such a reputation!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. To be honest I was looking at universities this time last year (I’ve just finished year 11) but mainly because my sister was in the process of applying but there’s nothing to say being 15 is too young to think about uni as it is an important decision that takes lots of thought. 🙂 Yeah same! I think it’s important to find somewhere where you feel happy and comfortable and even though it may be ranked highly for the subject you want to do, going somewhere where you feel at home is something important to take into consideration! I don’t think I’d fit in there either tbh which is probably why it didn’t feel right.

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  2. I love Oxford! Were the colleges closed off to the public that day? Because about a month or so ago, my sister and I went to Oxford and wanted to look around Jesus and Exeter college which is where you were but we couldn’t so we hung around the library (I can confirm the picture you thought was the library is the library, the original one anyway. I think most of the books are elsewhere now). we could have been in oxford on the same day!! You’re so lucky you got to go to a talk, I’ve been to a talk at school about oxbridge colleges but I would never get in, the competition is just too fierce. Sounds like you had a great day. And it is Harry Potter-ish, the scene of the stairs is actually filmed at Christchurch college! Loved this post. xx

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    1. I’m not sure if they were open to the public but we were allowed in because it was a school trip. I didn’t see any members of the public so perhaps it was closed as they had a language summer school thing going on. Hopefully you can go back sometime and look inside – it’s definitely worth it! Oooh that’s cool! I can’t remember tge exact date I went but I think it was around the 14th July. Yeah I doubt I’d get in either, especially with the interviews you have to go through. Thank you! xx

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  3. Omg I want to go to oxford so much and you’ve just made me want to go even more. Also can I just say, completely off subject, your writing style is amazing! I felt like I was talking to one of my best friends and it showed you really have talent in writing. Great post! x

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  4. Ooh I know what you mean about universities not feeling right. I experienced the same thing with one of the universities here in Amsterdam, while I immediately felt at home at my current university in Utrecht the moment I stepped through the door. Buuuut it’s super cool that you were invited to come along and that they think you could get in. That’s a great compliment!

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    1. That’s a shame – I hope you get to visit it at some point though. 😊 I’m predicted to get mostly A’s but I’ll have to see how that works out on results day. We didn’t get to see the student accomodation unfortunately, only from the outside as there were people staying in the accomodation for uni summer schools.

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  5. I’ve actually been thinking about writing a similar sort of thing – this post gave me some ideas and some great inspiration, so thank you for sharing!! Did you get into Oxford in the end? I didn’t as of this January :’) x

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Oooh you’re most welcome! I don’t need to apply to university until next year as I’m only in year 12 and I still haven’t decided if I’m going to go for it or not. 🙂 Ahh that’s a shame, to be honest I don’t think I’d get in if I applied anyway. x

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Oh sorry I thought you were already at uni! Well, definitely go for it if you get the AS grades, you never know! If you need any advice on A levels just let me know – they can be a tough time! :’) x

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