I chose to come to Exeter for several reasons – it’s a beautiful college right in the centre of Oxford, and when I visited it on the open day and met some of the students, I really got the sense that they were kind, friendly people. When I came back to College for the interview process, it’s fair to say I was extremely nervous. However, again, the other students and interviewees I met made me feel that the people at Exeter are warm and easy-going; this honestly did help with the nerves I was experiencing. I also became calmer when I realised that the interviews weren’t interrogations, but much more like casual conversations with tutors, which could even at times be enjoyable (kind of!).
Having now started my degree in English and French at Exeter, I can say that I’ve thoroughly enjoyed my time here so far. While there is a jump between A-Level work and degree-level work, this also comes with some perks, like the freedom to choose what you want to study and getting to know your subject in further depth. One of the best things about Oxford is the tutorial system, as it means you get to talk to your subject tutors one-on-one or in very small groups, and therefore have a very personal and immersive university experience. I’ve also found that learning is really collaborative at Exeter. I can have conversations with others on my course here where we bounce off each other and grow together instead of being competitive.
I was anxious before starting here, as I’m sure most people are, but then, just like at interviews, once I arrived, the people I met were so lovely that I quickly forgot my anxiousness. You worry about things like making friends and finding the people you want to spend time with, but then you get here and realise that there’s such a communal feel that you ease into it all and don’t have to worry about feeling alone, seeing as there are always people around. All in all, Exeter College is a great place to live and be a student, and I feel very grateful for my time here.
To anyone considering applying, my advice would be to have confidence and trust yourself. While it’s great that the city is full of beautiful architecture and incredible minds, this can also be quite intimidating. In any case, I felt very intimidated by it and have questioned myself, but eventually you realise that no one single person has less of a right to be here than anyone else. I didn’t think I’d get in, but now I’m here, and it’s been a fantastic experience, so it’s always worth a shot.