Emma – Chemistry
What do you like best about your course?
I enjoy how challenging and rewarding the course is. You learn about a broad range of topics within Chemistry, but in a lot of depth – tutorials especially are a great opportunity to discuss concepts further and gain deeper understanding beyond the lecture notes. The level of personal teaching we receive has enabled me to become far more competent and confident in my subject than I thought I would be.
How is your subject taught at Oxford?
In a typical week there are 9am and 10am lectures every day, with two afternoons of labs and one or two tutorials. This is fairly consistent throughout the first 3 years of the course leading up to Finals exams, and then in the 4th year you undertake a full-time research project. Additionally in 1st year there are maths and physics classes, whilst in 2nd year you can pick up a supplementary option ranging from quantum mechanics to languages.
The workload can be heavy at times: each week you’ll have a large piece of tutorial work to complete, as well as preparation/write-up for labs and problem sheets for any other classes. However there is always time in the evenings or at weekends to relax, socialise or get involved in extra-curricular activities. Being in a small subject cohort within your college means you’re never far from friends who are all in the same boat.
What advice would you give potential applicants interested in studying your subject?
Don’t be put off applying just because the course or the application process sounds difficult – the interviews are never as bad as you think, and once you’re here you have so much support since everyone wants you to do well! Never hesitate to ask for extra help from tutors if you need it; they’re usually more than willing to invest their time in you.
In my experience I found one of the hardest things was working out how to balance my time between work and other parts of my life – this might take a couple of weeks but once you get the hang of working efficiently and keeping organised, it becomes easy.
What is life like as a student here?
Student life at Oxford is so varied and inclusive, especially at Teddy Hall! From day one it feels like such a close-knit community and there’s always something going on, from sports matches to writing workshops and open mic nights. There’s a really homely feel throughout college, even when working in the library or just having breakfast and dinner together in the dining hall.
What sort of extra-curricular activities are you involved in at Oxford?
My main activity has been my involvement with Oxford University Karate Club, where I’ve had the opportunity to be Women’s Captain and represent Oxford in Varsity matches against Cambridge. However I’ve also been involved in women’s college football, which is a lot less competitive and a great way to get to know girls in different years over a kickabout or sports social drinks.