Profile: Dagmawi Yosief
Dag was elected JCR President in May this year. He is going into his second year studying PPE (Philosophy, Politics and Economics).
Why did you choose Univ? Why did you study PPE?
From a young age I have maintained a keen interest in current affairs, I vividly remember obsessing over the Scottish referendum as a 13-year-old. Both politics and economics explain so much of what we see in the world, so it always felt a natural choice for getting a better understanding of the world around us.
When choosing a college, the things that were important to me were location and atmosphere. I wanted a college that was in the heart of Oxford and Univ certainly is. Being a one minute walk from the Examination Schools, where PPE lectures are held, has been a godsend. On the Open Day, the College and the helpers were really friendly too, so Univ seemed like the perfect choice for me.
How do you think you’ve changed since stepping through Univ’s doors for the first time?
I think that I have definitely become more confident and eager to try new things. The community at Univ is very outgoing and vibrant, so it makes it really easy to explore new activities and societies.
How has your experience of university life changed because of COVID-19?
Our Trinity term was conducted in an entirely virtual format, which was obviously a massive change because academic life normally revolves around in-person activities, like tutorials and classes. While the College did a great job of migrating to online platforms with short notice, it was still a huge change. Similarly, key aspects of college life, such as formals and social events were obviously not happening in their normal format. Despite all this, so many people across college came together.
How did you find your Freshers’ Week?
Freshers’ Week is nerve-wracking time for everyone, since you are coming into a totally new environment. This is compounded by the pre-conception that it must have the best week of your time at university and that you must make friends for life in these packed few days. Once you realise that Freshers’ Week is nothing more than a chance to meet some, but not all, of the people that you’ll be living, learning and socialising with, the experience becomes much more relaxed. I did end up really enjoying the week, no doubt helped by the friendly and welcoming atmosphere of the College.
How do you feel about the coming term? Do you have any advice for incoming freshers?
Thankfully, we are returning to College this October so I think we will regain some sense of normality, even if it is in a socially distanced manner. I know the College has been working hard to make next term the best it can possibly be and I am looking forward to reconnecting with all of my peers in person.
If I was to give one piece of advice to freshers, it would be to throw yourself into as many aspects of life at Oxford as you possibly can.
How do you relax after a busy day?
After a busy day, I like to spend time with my friends. We do all sorts of things such as watching football, going to the pub, or even just sitting around and chatting.
What do you hope to achieve as JCR President?
We are in really uncertain times; the College and the University are dealing with a totally novel set of problems. It’s therefore really important that students don’t fall through the safety nets that are in place to aid students.
As JCR President I want to ensure that all the needs of students, which are likely to be different in the current climate, are fully met. I also want to make the College a fairer and more equitable place, I am part of a College working party aiming to achieve this and I hope that this year can bring lasting and substantive improvements to the good work that the College has already been doing.
Describe Univ in three words.
Fun, open and friendly!
Dag is active on Twitter.
Published: 15 September 2020
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