Lizzie – Geography
What do you like best about your course?
Geography is really broad; I’ve been able to pursue my existing interests and find new ones too. I love understanding the world around me and, for me, Geography is the way to do that as it touches both on the physical (landscapes, weather and climate) and on the human (politics, culture, societies). Oxford’s course caters for lots different interests which can equip you to go in lots of different directions later in life and for me that was a real attraction.
How is your subject taught at Oxford?
Geographers can expect about six lectures a week alongside twelve or so tutorials, with an essay or similar to be done for each, in each eight-week term. Once you start studying options in second year you can also expect some seminars in groups of about ten alongside these. There’s fieldwork based on a field trip to Tenerife or Copenhagen before a dissertation which is started in second year. Dissertations usually draw on something you’ve come across earlier in the course but there’s a lot of freedom to specialise in whatever you’d like.
What advice would you give potential applicants interested in studying your subject?
I think the key to getting into Oxford – and thriving here – is, alongside academic ability, enthusiasm. If you like your subject – actively enjoy talking about it, finding out more about it and want to do more of it, you’ve got a good chance of enjoying yourself here. Showing your enthusiasm isn’t just about studying it at school; you can take it further by reading books and articles, following web series, watching videos, going to conferences – it doesn’t just have to be books!
Did you choose to apply to St Edmund Hall?
I didn’t look at Teddy Hall before I applied, and was re-allocated here before interviews, but I’m really glad I ended up here! It actually suits me perfectly, something I would probably have realised if I’d seen it before applying. That said, everyone loves their college so it’s probably not worth getting too hung up on choosing a college.
What is life like as a student here?
Teddy Hall is a very relaxed college; it’s the kind of place where you can do whatever you want to do and be whoever you want to be and nobody minds. I’ve found the atmosphere encouraging academically as well as freeing and am really grateful for all the great people I’ve met so far. There are lots of opportunities here – sporting, musical, theatrical and they’re a really good way of getting to know people in other years as lots of people give them a go and pitch in where numbers are needed. There are also opportunities at university level for the more serious!
What sort of extra-curricular activities are you involved in at Oxford?
I play hockey and football for Teddy Hall and play cricket for the University. Aside from sports I’m on the University Challenge team and am also one of the chapel clerks (I’m involved in running the chapel services, though my singing voice doesn’t permit much more). I’m a student ambassador too so if you visit Teddy Hall with your school or on an Open Day you’ll probably see me around giving tours or doing Q&As. There’s plenty of time to get into things here alongside working!