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Profile: Becky Pinnock

Blonde white woman smiling standing in front of tree

Becky Pinnock, (2019, Earth Sciences)

Becky is in her final year studying Earth Sciences at Univ and is a student ambassador for the College. Last year, she competed in the Varsity netball match with Oxford University Netball Club and was Univ WRFC Captain.

Why did you choose to study Earth Sciences at Univ?
When I was younger, my family would constantly be holidaying in the Weymouth, on the south coast – and I spent a lot of time on the beach, looking for fossils, and staring at all the cliffs in wonder. So, I knew geology was what I wanted to study! I’d never really considered applying to Oxford specifically until I had gone on a few other university open days during the summer of Year 12. So, applying to Oxford was a pretty last-minute thing for me. I managed to get to the September open day, where I looked around a few of the colleges, and actually ended up applying to a different college. But once I got the offer from Univ, I knew it was the right place for me. The central location, the beautiful quads, and the warm feeling of the place made it feel like home immediately. Getting to meet Percy (and more recently Lyra) was also a positive.

How do you think you have changed since walking through Univ’s doors for the first time?
I feel like I’ve changed quite a lot since coming to Univ. Coming to university can be such a big step in itself, and so I think it’s been a catalyst for a lot of personal growth. I feel like I’ve learnt so much since coming here, being able to meet people from all different backgrounds with different experiences has been really eye-opening. Learning more about the world in this way has allowed me to challenge my own perspectives and growth as a person.

I’ve also improved my relationship with my academics a lot, especially in how I approach different challenges that I am given. It is no secret that Oxford is academically rigorous, but it can still be quite a shock to the system when you first come here. It may still be a work in progress, but I have got a lot better at finding a work-life balance, and not letting academics consume me. I think not needing to get full marks on everything has really helped shift my perspective – being perfect is literally impossible, so you shouldn’t put that pressure on yourself.

Woman in Oxford netball uniform shaking hands with opponentsDo you have any favourite moments from your time at Univ?
There have been so many memorable moments from my time at Univ. Taking part in college and- university-level sports has been one of the best aspects of my time here so one of my favourite memories was being part of OUNC and winning our Varsity match against Cambridge last year. We’d had a lot of success throughout the season, but it was so much better being able to share this win with not only my teammates but also with my friends and family. Finally getting to experience a college ball, and one at Univ nonetheless, last year was also a favourite moment of mine. The whole event, from it being black tie, to all the entertainment and food, was so amazing, and I am so thankful that I was able to experience that.

Have you faced any challenges in your life that you are happy to share here? If so, how did you cope with them?
I’ve struggled with my mental health quite a bit, both before and during my time here at Univ. But I’ve managed to make it work through all the support I have received, both from my family and friends, as well as from College and my department. Immediately after I got my offer, I was invited back to familiarise myself with Univ to ensure I’d be comfortable coming here – as well as being a part of Univ’s Opportunity Programme to get a feel for the Oxford experience before I officially started. This meant I felt a lot more confident as I entered my first year. And since then, I continued to receive so much support from the College’s welfare team, my tutor, and the university’s disability service that I will forever be grateful for.

Has anything surprised you about Univ/Earth Sciences/Oxford?
One of the things that has surprised me the most is how close the Earth Sciences community is. I knew that the cohorts are small, but it’s so nice being able to go into lectures and know every person in the room. I think field trips definitely have helped with this – as well as getting the opportunity to have department-based tutorials (rather than just college-based ones). There are also many chances to integrate with people in other years through OUGS (Oxford University Geological Society) events and even for your lecturers to know your name – which again I didn’t expect.

Group of five friends smilingAny tips for settling into life in Oxford?
I think putting yourself out there is so important. It can be scary and daunting at first, but reassuring yourself that everyone is in a similar position and that everyone makes the adjustment at their own pace, helps a lot. Make sure you go to freshers’ events during Freshers’ Week, take time to get to know your coursemates and people you live with, go to the college and university freshers’ fairs and sign up for different societies…

But also it’s important to put yourself out there academically. Asking for help has been something that I have struggled with a lot, but I’ve definitely felt that I started making the best progress when I began to, for example, ask more questions during tutorials and practicals, as well as just ask for general, extra support. I still don’t think I do it enough but I’ve always been told if you don’t ask, you don’t get, and that is very true – ask for help, for recommendations, or even for internships! It won’t hurt.

Describe Univ in three words.
Full of opportunity.

Published: 27 February 2023

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