When I got my offer I was scared, doing medicine at any university was thought to be tough, requiring many hours of hard work and study. But doing medicine at Oxford, that’s just masochism right? Wrong. After completing my first year here I can safely say that it was one of the greatest experiences of my life. There’s a reason Oxford is one of the best universities on the planet, it drives you to do your best and be the best you can be, the work is demanding and at times you will find it very tough, but it’s never impossible, and the sense of reward you feel upon its completion it is unparalleled.
The course for the first year is split into four major parts with lots of lab-work, lectures, seminars and workshops meaning we get the most contact hours of any subject. At St Anne’s we also get around two tutorials per week (this varies by college) and weekends are always free of scheduled work. Personally I think our course is very interesting and some of the practicals are thrilling. As it covers such a vast area though, there are parts that I like more than others, but of course, that will be the case for any subject.
Although medics work hard, we’re also very much a sociable bunch and there is time at hand to do any extra-curricular activities you may want to get involved in, from the traditionally ‘Oxfordy’ activities such as croquet and rowing, to dance-sport and ultimate frisbee, there is something for everyone. During my first year here I took an interest in college welfare and became elected to the JCR (junior common room – the college student body) as welfare rep. I also applied to work with an organisation called TravelAid and had to organise fundraising events such as club nights for a charity I will be working with over the summer in Cambodia. Getting involved with MedSoc (a pre-clinical society for medics) was a lot of fun and having been elected vice-president for next year should make it sufficiently busy! There are a plethora of opportunities for you to undertake whilst at Oxford, whatever you’re interested in, but of course, if all you want to do is chill with your friends then that’s no problem either.
I didn’t really know much about the college system before I applied, but it’s true that almost everyone ends up loving the college they go to, and similarly I love St Anne’s. It may sound clichéd but I think St Anne’s is one of the most down to earth colleges in Oxford, the people are very friendly and the atmosphere is always welcoming. Despite it being a relatively modern college, we have one of the largest undergraduate populations and one of the largest intakes of medical students per year. The catering is very well respected and our coffee shop (STACS) and 24-hour library are simply amazing.
My take-home message to you all would be not to be scared about applying to Oxford, and even less so about coming here if you’ve already got a place, an offer to study here means that tutors are confident that you can cope with the workload, and so you should be too. When it comes to choosing colleges I, of course, wholeheartedly recommend St Anne’s, but do your research, visit Oxford, go to open days, find out as much as you can and you will realise that it’s not all as daunting as it seems!