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Profile: Alexander Wallop

Man smiling sitting at a table wearing a pink jumper

Alexander Wallop (2021, Chemistry)

Alexander is in his second year studying Chemistry at Univ. He also competes as part of the University’s water polo team and was on Univ’s team for University Challenge. 

Why did you choose to apply to Univ for Chemistry?
I applied for chemistry because it’s always been the subject I’ve felt most comfortable in. For me, it’s as simple (and boring) as that.

When it came to picking a college, my thinking was that Univ was central, and I wanted to make getting to labs and lectures fairly painless. I also knew univ had a large number of chemistry places and I wanted to be somewhere with a lot of course-mates. It has worked out perfectly; the chemistry cohort here gets on really well — they are a lovely group of people to hang out with.

How do you think you have changed since walking through Univ’s doors for the first time?
Everyone says it, but I’d say the biggest difference is that my confidence has certainly grown. I have a much deeper understanding of what makes me happy. And I’d like to think that my 17 year old self would be proud of what I’ve made so far of Oxford. Univ has played no small part in that. Everyone here is friendly and welcoming, so it’s easy to be whoever you want to be.

Group of friends at a black-tie partyWhat’s your favourite part of Univ?
It’s hard to say any one thing. I love the people, both staff and students, but I feel like everyone says that. The tutors have been a real highlight for me. All of them have really reinforced my love for chemistry. And I know that’s not true of all colleges and all subjects. The Univ chemistry department is a strong one.

Has anything surprised you about Oxford/Univ/your course?
The lab hours! I wasn’t expecting quite so many lab hours. I’d been told quite a few times that Oxford STEM courses were more theoretical and lighter on the practical stuff, so having 12 lab hours a week in first year was quite a shock. It’s taken two years, but I’ve learnt to enjoy it.

Two friends smiling in a black and white photoDo you have any advice for prospective students?
My advice is: pick your college wisely — it matters more than you probably think! There are no “bad” colleges, and all have their pros and cons, but your college will definitely affect the quality of your university experience. If you are struggling to pick, Univ would be a wise choice.

What do you do outside your studies?
Outside of my studies, I play waterpolo for the University Blues team. It’s a lovely community, and going down to the Iffley pool is always a nice escape from work. After winning the league this season, we are going to Hungary for the University European Championship this summer. I can’t wait!

University Challenge 2022 teamLast year, my crowning achievement outside of my studies was competing for Univ on University Challenge. I’ve always loved quizzing; my family sit around the table at lunch every Saturday and do the Guardian quiz, and I still FaceTime them most weekends to join in. I’ve been trying for ages to form a pub quiz team with my friends, but they keep telling me I’d be no fun to play with. If you watched me on University Challenge you’ll probably know why.

Describe Univ in three words.
Nerdy but nice

Published: 24 July 2023

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