Tell us a bit about yourself!
My name is Mia; I grew up in vibrant, bustling London and spent my teen years obsessing over politics, singing jazz, and soaking up all the art and culture my city had to offer.
What inspired you to study History?
I had always loved the arts and the humanities most at school; for me, course-wise, it was a toss-up between History and English. I also wanted to pursue my interests in Art History and politics. In the end, though, I realised that what I loved most about studying pieces of literature was their historical context; and that in a History degree I would be able to take courses which focused on art or political history if I wanted.
Deciding to apply to Oxford was easy: as soon as I'd looked at the course structure online and been to the Open Day I knew I wanted to come here. The course seemed perfect for me, and I loved everything about Oxford - the city, the colleges, the tutorial system. I knew I had to give it a shot! .
What was the application process like? Do you have any advice for prospective applicants?
The process was pretty rigorous and more involved than my other uni applications - but I didn't feel like they were asking for too much for the sake of it. It felt like Oxford really cared about admitting the right people. The interview experience was amazing... perhaps not the word you'd expect me to use! But whilst the interviews were nerve-wracking, they were also exciting - and the experience of staying in Oxford, in College for three days was brilliant. I made friends there who I'm still in touch with now, even though we're all at different unis!
My advice to prospective applicants would be to choose a subject you love, a college you love (although don't worry too much about colleges if you can't get a look around them) and give it a shot. If you get to the interview stage, try to enjoy the experience - even if you don't get in, you'll have had the chance to talk to a world expert about something you're both passionate about, as well as a free weekend in Oxford! There's so much to gain, and you've nothing to lose.
What has your experience been like so far?
I am loving being at Oxford. It's truly a 'work hard, play hard' experience - there is a lot of work and it's challenging, but there is so much more to life here than the academic. I've made some incredible memories already, and I'm only in my second term! My friends are fantastic, and I found that we all met and became close very quickly.
I thought that everyone here would be a genius and "posh", but that hasn't been the case at all. The collegiate system means you've got a ready-made community, and it's so easy to meet like-minded people. So far, this has been the best time of my life!
Why did you decide to become a mentor?
When I was applying, I wish I'd known that Oxford take the admissions process incredibly seriously, and that they care deeply about admitting the right people. I also wish I'd known that the 'right' people aren't necessarily the cleverest people! They're just the people who they feel will thrive the most in the tutorial system. So, if you don't get in, it's because Oxford believes another uni will be a better fit for you.
I decided to become a mentor because, as a state schooler who didn't really know anyone who'd been to Oxford, I would have really benefitted from a mentor myself. I want everyone who wants to come here to have the absolute best chance of getting in, regardless of their background! To be able to play a part in levelling the playing field, however small, is a real privilege.