Class of Spectra 2016: Tash Miah

What does graduation mean to you?

Achieving my lifelong dream of studying at Oxford, and overcoming all the hurdles that doing a degree here entails.

What is the trajectory you see for yourself?

Onwards and upwards, hopefully!

What impact has university had on you?

It has galvanised my views and strengthened me in my convictions that I can achieve whatever I put my mind to.

Which are your most potent memories of university?

Doing all-nighters to finish essays and months of misery doing my dissertation and extended essay! But these are balanced out by the many beautiful moments I’ve had bonding with others, making new friends, and appreciating the beauty of Oxford as a city.

What gives you impetus?

Faith, friends and family are my bedrock of support and reflect the morals and values I live by on a daily basis.

 

Class of Spectra 2016: Amrita Dasgupta

dsc_0615

What does graduation mean to you?

Graduating signifies the beginning next chapter of my life. It is also a symbolic ending to the last four years of my life.

What is the trajectory you see for yourself?

I will be starting at Deloitte in Singapore in September and hope to pursue an MBA in a couple of years.

What impact has university had on you?

The past four years at university has helped me develop and mature as an individual. Furthermore, it has allowed me to develop life skills to deal with challenging situations whether it be working in a team to achieve a common goal or completing assignments before deadlines.

Which are your most potent memories of university?

My most potent memories range from handing in my 8000 word thesis to organising a ball with a team of fellow students. Perhaps the common theme running through all of them is the fact that I achieved something significant, in my perspective and each of those achievements has allowed me to develop valuable skills.

What gives you impetus?

I am motivated by challenging situations which require dedication and handwork.

Class of Spectra 2016: Asta Diabaté

img_4418

What does graduation mean to you?

It means an end of an era and the beginning of a new one. It means the realization of something that I have dreamt of doing – going to university – since I was 5. It is an achievement not only for myself but for a family. It is the result of my efforts combined with the faith and support I have gotten from the people around me.

What is the trajectory you see for yourself?

Success, a family of my own perhaps? I don’t know. I realized not too long ago that you can only plan so much. Life has always a way to change and mess up the plans that you have. If you asked me last December what trajectory I see for myself I would have described events and plans vastly different from the ones I have now. For the moment I know I’ll be starting an internship in Seoul in August that could turn into a full time job; and I know I have to work and make SPECTRA the best it can be.

What impact has university had on you?

I entered university as a color-blind convicted conservative with no understanding of race, gender, or anything really. I grew up sheltered and somehow privileged despite my working-class parents. Now I leave university as a convicted feminist, still centre-right but no longer affiliated with any party, and proud to call myself Afro-Italian. University has opened up my mind to a whole world out there and none of this would have been possible without the random conversations I had with friends, or with random strangers, or simply without listening to what other people had to say.

Which are your most potent memories of university?

Having conversations switch from the most mundane of topics to the most academically rigorous topic in a few seconds. Performing my poem at an exhibition on sexual violence that I had helped organize for the It Happens Here campaign. Feeling drained and amazing after handing in my 12,000 words thesis on American presidential elections. I could go on forever. I guess the running thread of my most potent memories is the fact that I was being challenged, I was bettering myself and I was growing.

What gives you impetus?

My family. I jokingly tell my parents that I have won the birth lottery. My parents are my inspirations, and so are my grandmother who is sadly no longer with us. They didn’t have the chance of an education. So I’m doing this for them as well as me.

 

Class of Spectra 2016: Neyet Mehari

img_7054

What does graduation mean to you?

Graduation is 2 things. Firstly, graduation is a celebration. Not only a chance to celebrate my personal triumphs, but also us all to reflect on how far we have come, together! Secondly, graduation offers the beautiful and bitter lesson that all things come to an end. I am so thankful to have successfully reached the end of this challenging experience, and am reminded that experience is always more important than “results”.

What is the trajectory you see for yourself?

For the immediate future, over the next 15 months, I hope to explore many of my passions and loves including music, media, education and historical academia, whilst fitting in some internships. Over the next 5 years, I hope to suitably advance in a well-suited Strategy Consulting role in the City. Finally, I see myself in the role of head teacher at a progressive school, which caters to a fast-changing world, building empathetic, adaptable, brilliant and confident kids.

What impact has university had on you?

University has offered me 2 key experiences. On a material level, it has allowed me to meet a fascinating spectrum of individuals, and connect with them on so many levels. This is what I share with my mentees: although at first you may worry that you won’t have a lot in common with your peers, Oxford offers an environment where you share formative years alongside some of the most talented people. No doubt many will hold influential positions in society, but you can learn a lot – I definitely witnessed how some of the most talented people maintained admirable integrity throughout the 3 years. On a more personal note, university has taught me that it is not workloads which define adult “struggle”, but in fact the personal battles and decisions which accompany work. As a result, looking after one-another is absolute key. As they say, “there is a beautiful way to do everything”.

Which are your most potent memories of university?

As the university blues begin to grow, memories of intense periods of “imposter syndrome” (very normal by the way!) and stress are gradually overshadowed, by recollections of great moments. The very nature of university, of deadlines + stress + general adult life, is a surprisingly ripe environment for genuine friendship. No less, Oxford had amazing perks, of unforgettable balls, punting and other novel experiences. But no feeling surpasses, or is as memorable, as the satisfaction of my time working with state school kids as Officer in the African and Caribbean society – a sense of fulfilment I will seek for the rest of my career.

What gives you impetus?

University tests you completely, and as a result, I learnt to rely on my faith – and not only in times of stress and despair. Most of all, my impetus lies in my belief that God uniquely crafted us as individuals, in order that we take nothing to the grave, good or bad, and offer our skills to humanity. As a result, there is merit in being brave, encouraging your peers, motivating one another without judgement, staying active, and persevering.

Class of Spectra 2016: India Hill

img_7033

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.