Page 1 Page 2 Page 3 Page 4 Page 5 Page 6 Page 7 Page 8 Page 9 Page 10 Page 11 Page 12 Page 13 Page 14 Page 15 Page 16 Page 17 Page 18 Page 19 Page 20 Page 21 Page 22 Page 23 Page 24 Page 25 Page 26 Page 27 Page 28 Page 29 Page 30 Page 31 Page 32 Page 33 Page 34 Page 35 Page 36 Page 37 Page 38 Page 39 Page 40 Page 41 Page 42 Page 43 Page 44 Page 45 Page 46 Page 47 Page 48 Page 49 Page 50 Page 51 Page 52INTERVIEWS What my first year at university has taught me GURDEEP MALL Law & French Law, New College, University of Oxford Leaving the safe corridors of HGS, where I had been given countless opportunities to grow and flourish by passionate teachers who genuinely cared about my success, to embark upon my studies at university filled me with the sort of dread that I imagine King Lear would have felt when, forsaken by his daughters, he was left to stumble aimlessly around the moor, with no Fool to guide him (once an English Lit student, always an English Lit student). However, whilst I do miss HGS, coming to Oxford has not been anywhere near as frightening an experience as I had anticipated it to be – and I’ve been given opportunities to continue along the path of development which had been established for me by HGS. I arrived at the beginning of Michaelmas term (apparently, Oxford isn’t satisfied with naming terms after seasons, but opts for Michaelmas, Hilary and Trinity) not quite knowing what to expect, but was I pleasantly surprised by just how incredibly nice everyone was. I think it’s quite important for all of you to know that whilst the prospect of moving away to a different city to start a degree can seem incredibly daunting, you shouldn’t worry about being able to make friends – fresher’s week will be packed full of all sorts of activities where you’ll meet a huge number of people, forget names and find the people who will eventually become good friends! I’m lucky to be at a university which is steeped in centuries old culture, with bizarre traditions such as wearing sub fusc (full academic dress with a gown) to exams with carnations (white for the first exam, pink for the second and red for the last) pinned to the lapel – and being trashed with every imaginable food product at the end of exams! Being able to go to three gowned formals a week in a seven-hundred-year old hall is also incredible, not to mention incredibly Harry Potter-eque! Oxford terms are only eight weeks long, meaning that they are absolutely relentless, and weeks are packed with academic and social events to the point of bursting! As far as the workload is concerned, I had certainly expected that there would be a step-up, I didn’t realise just how different my academic life would be compared to sixth form; as a Law student, I am expected to work quite independently alongside lectures, classes and tutorials. Hence, when Mr Conway tells you to make the most of your study periods, it’s probably a good idea to do so. Sixth Form is the perfect opportunity to start adopting and developing the independent and effective study skills that you’ll need to make your time at university as enriching as possible. Having done our first year exams last term we’ve started the subjects which will be examined in Finals at the end of our degree. This term we’re studying contract and tort law; alongside lectures, we have classes with law students from other colleges – and two tutorials per week, a unique feature of the Oxford system, involve an intense one-on-one or two-on- one session with a tutor, who questions students on that week’s reading and essay, often challenging perspectives and questioning students’ written work. In addition to this, as a student on the Law with Law Studies in Europe programme, I have a weekly class in French on various aspects of the French judicial system. The intensity of tutorials is certainly a motivation to do the work!! From a social perspective, Oxford’s collegiate system is an amazing way of encouraging integration and forming close-knit communities; students are members of the university, but also of our colleges, where we live, eat, and study. College families are amazing social and academic support networks: every student has “college parents” upon arrival, two second years, one of whom studies the same subject. The purpose of this system is to ensure that students are able to easily transition into Oxford and into their subject with the help of somebody who understands how difficult it can be – first years then get “married” to a friend and will eventually take up the supporting parent role when their “children” arrive at the beginning the next academic year. Aside from my studies, I enjoy taking part in the university’s and college’s initiatives to widen access and participation to ensure that Oxford reflects the diversity of the UK as a whole; as it currently stands there is a marked problem with low numbers of state school students, BME students and students from low income households. As a student who falls into all three of these categories, it’s incredibly important to me that people aren’t deterred from applying because they think that they wouldn’t fit in – and that once students do get here, that the relevant support systems are in place to support them. As you can probably tell, I am thoroughly enjoying my time at university; I am indebted to HGS for all the opportunities that I was given – and it is only now, that I’ve left, that I understand the significance of the school motto – haec olim meminisse iuvabit!!