Profile: Charlotte Avery
Charlotte is in her second year studying psychology at Univ. She is also Entz Rep, alongside Alex Westwell, for the JCR.
Why did you apply to Univ for Psychology?
From the first time I visited Univ I knew it was somewhere that I could see myself studying. The students I met on the open day seemed really friendly, and I really liked Univ’s beautiful architecture and central location on High Street. Everyone I spoke to from the College seemed to love it, and that was such an important factor for me. They all spoke with a passion about the college which I could identify with even then.
As for the course, I studied a mix of science and humanities at A-Level (Biology, Psychology, History, and English Literature), and enjoyed both the analytic aspects of the science subjects, as well as the freedom essay subjects gave me to explore topics on a deeper level. Psychology offered me a perfect balance between STEM and essay writing. Furthermore, as a fairly new science, only beginning to be studied scientifically in the late 1800s, Psychology is a rapidly developing field, and the Oxford course put me right in the centre of such developments, being taught by those right at the top of the field. Even now, I still find it surreal reading some of the most influential papers on a topic, and then having them taught in a lecture by the researcher that wrote them!
What was your interview experience like? Do you have any comforting words for applicants?!
Interviews are very intense, but I really enjoyed my experience. I stayed at Univ for two days and had one interview at Univ and two afterwards at St Catz (St Catherine’s College). It seemed like a daunting experience, but the tutors were so reassuring and really pushed me to get to answers. The tutors really are on your side, and want to see how far you can be challenged – they’re looking to help you reach that potential rather than trick you with the questions.
Preparation is my biggest tip – you can’t predict the questions, but going in there with the confidence that you are passionate about your subject and have a good knowledge base of it is so important. Immerse yourself as much as you can in your subject beforehand, through extra reading, watching any lectures you can find (either online or in person), and see if there are any competitions you could enter. Anything you can do to show the tutors how much you care about knowing more about your subject will help you stand out. Nothing beats a pure and genuine interest in a subject!
How have you changed since walking through Univ’s doors for the first time?
Since starting at Univ, I feel I have learned a lot about myself and grown both academically, but also as a person. I have learned to always embrace every opportunity, and try new things. Last year, having never done the sport before, I joined the University Cheerleading squad (Oxford Sirens), and am now looking forward to competing in Nationals against other University teams, including our Varsity against Cambridge, and hopefully earning a Half Blue this year.
I have also become more confident in myself. I was the first in my family to go to University, so I entered with very little idea or expectation of what University life, or Oxford, was like. However, I learned that everyone can feel out of their depth, and that really helped me to feel more at home, and now I can’t imagine fitting in more or belonging anywhere else.
Has anything about studying at Oxford surprised you?
Before coming to Oxford, I was worried that I wouldn’t fit in and wouldn’t meet anyone like me, partly because I had this preconceived idea of the typical Oxford student, and these expectations I had of Oxford students was based on myths, as I had never known anyone to go to Oxford before. However, I have met so many amazing people in the past year, therefore I would say my biggest surprise about the Oxford experience was how many people like me there are here. I have made some of my closest and best friends at Oxford, and wish I could go back and tell my 18-year-old self of all the interesting people I would be lucky enough to meet.
In terms of academic life, I was astonished by how quickly I would learn and adapt my essay style. Looking back at my essays from a year ago shows me just how much progress you make in short Oxford terms. I was also surprised by how amazing the tutors are. They are the top academics in their field, so talking to them about topics they’ve researched for years seemed very intimidating at first. But they all do the job because they love their field, and hence are so happy to help you understand anything that doesn’t make sense and will always try to extend your learning in any way they can.
What are you excited about doing as Entz rep?
Last year was very hard on everyone, and it meant that the University experience was very limited. The thing I am most excited about doing is bringing people together. In our Refreshers week, we tried to ensure events would appeal to as many people as possible, and we really encouraged second years to take the chance to speak to as many new people as possible, to really bring the year together. I know I had some lovely conversations with people in my year group who I hadn’t met before because of the pandemic last year, so I hope we can continue to provide events at which more people can meet.
Entz is a really important part of Oxford life, as the work can be intense, so having fun events to look forward to can help bring a balance. We are really excited about working to bring these back to Univ so that everyone can have the release that we were unable to have previously due to the pandemic.
Describe Univ in three words.
Home from home.
Published: 8 November 2021