Sorcha – History
What do you like best about your course?
History boasts a more flexible timetable than most courses. With just a few contact hours a week, there are plenty of opportunities for extracurricular or social activities. It’s really important to balance this with a suitable work regime, but it does mean that life at Oxford can be enjoyed to the fullest.
How is your subject taught at Oxford?
History is a subject based mostly on independent learning. It is taught through 1-2 hours of tutorials and 2-3 lectures a week in first year. This then varies based on your module choices in second and third year. For each tutorial, I usually complete an essay (around 2,000 words) based on a reading list provided by the tutor. The lectures are intended as secondary forms of learning, to give some contextual background to what is being learnt in tutorials and to guide you through your reading. Sometimes there may be small classes to attend for which you might prepare summaries on sources or anything else related to your module. Therefore, whilst your friends on other courses may have to attend a greater number of contact hours then you, more of your time is spent working through the reading list or writing an essay in the library.
What advice would you give potential applicants interested in studying your subject?
It is important to be self-disciplined. The freedom of studying history at Oxford can be wonderful so long as it isn’t at the expense of the quality of the work you produce. Therefore, you’ll need to be able to maintain a strong work ethic. I’d recommend doing plenty of reading around what you’re learning in school and just finding out more about what you love. It’ll all help when you come to tackle the long reading lists at Oxford!
What is life like as a student here?
The Hall is a very close, tight-knit community which welcomes everyone. Despite having a college site that’s smaller than most, it means you’re always bumping into your friends and tutors, creating a relaxed and friendly environment. Although the College may have certain strengths such as sport and drama, it also represents all kinds of talent so that all students can find their niche and a place where they fit in. The JCR or Junior Common Room at Teddy Hall is a particularly fun place to hang out, and it’s even rumoured to be one of the most used across all the colleges.
What sort of extra-curricular activities are you involved in at Oxford?
I have become involved in several societies at Oxford amongst the many and diverse options there are to choose from. As social secretary of the JCR (Junior Common Room, the undergraduate student body) I am frequently involved in organising social events for the College. This is an incredibly rewarding role and gives me the opportunity to engage with the community and wider student population. I am also a member of the Oxford Union, which means I can attend weekly debates and speaker events, as well as meet-and-greet opportunities with prolific figures from political, media, educational, academic and sporting backgrounds. There are also termly balls and other social events hosted throughout the year. I am also a member of the Law Society which similarly put on several events a term, often featuring world-renowned law firms. Finally, I am an avid member of the Equestrian Society. I take weekly riding lessons and attend the wide range of social events on offer.