What does graduation mean to you?
Graduation for me marks the end of an epic struggle and is a massive achievement in my eyes. University has been a particularly turbulent time. I’ve battled with bereavement, depression, illness, anxiety, disappointment at my underachievement academically, and a whole host of other trials that accompany entering into your early 20s. Essentially, it’s been like riding a unicycle, uphill, drunk, and blindfolded, whilst balancing ‘The Complete Works of Shakespeare’ on my nose. Graduation represents an accomplishment in my life that is not purely academic, it is the reward for my resilience in the face of all the obstacles that life has put in my way over the last three years. Graduating marks my escape from a place that has been the origin of some of my most sacred memories and some of my deepest pain. The ceremony itself is for my mother and my grandmother, without whom I would never have had a hope of getting as far as I have done.
What is the trajectory you see for yourself?
I’m an ambitious and uncompromisingly creative person and so I want to hit the ground running as soon as I enter the job market. I’m currently looking for a job in media or marketing in London. As an English student I was quite anxious about what my potential opportunities would be in a highly competitive industry clamouring for talented graduates, but I’ve been pleasantly surprised by the offers that have been coming my way. I know that long term I will probably never be completely satisfied working in a corporation and so ideally I would either like to set up my own company or go into writing and illustrating children’s literature. I’m not naive and what with the uncertainty brought about by the EU Referendum and the turbulence of current affairs I realise that it is in my best interest to build myself a firm foundation for the future.
What impact has university had on you?
My experiences at university have forced me to grow up way before my time, which at times has been incredibly isolating because my development has occurred way before my peers. It has made me realise that my greatest asset is my own strength. Going to Oxford has been an incredibly humbling experience. When you get your offer it definitely inflates your ego and suddenly everyone is telling you that you’re among the world’s best and brightest. My actual university experience brought me down to Earth and made me realise that humility, kindness, empathy and integrity are qualities that are far more desirable than a high ELAT score or a first class degree. I’d like to think that University has made me reach my potential in developing into the best version of myself. I feel equipped now to go out into the world with experience that makes me an impressive business asset, a keen academic mind, an active member of society and a stalwart friend.
Which are your most potent memories of university?
I was very fortunate in joining Brasenose College as I immediately found my place in a large group of friends who are fierce, and funny, and outrageous in all that they do. I have an abundance of memories with them from over the last three years, but among the best was our creation of our own, fully functioning, tropical themed bar in one of our rooms. It had neon signs, inflatable palm trees, a drinks fountain and beachside views. Everyone wanted to come to Kokomo Tales.
What gives you impetus?
My impetus comes from my own belief in self improvement. You should wake up everyday with the conviction that you can and should strive to achieve greater things than the day before, to learn more, to push yourself harder. The last three years have taught me that each day has new and more brutal ammunition to throw at you and so your drive has to come from your own belief in your own abilities.