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Profile: Lauren McGivern

Lauren McGivern (2019, Chemistry)

Lauren is Hall and Accommodation Officer at Univ as well as studying Chemistry. In her profile she discusses crochet, formals and growing in confidence at Oxford.

Why did you apply to Univ for Chemistry?
I knew I wanted to study chemistry at Oxford as the course is very varied so it hasn’t narrowed down my options going forward. I found out that Univ has a reputation for high results in Chemistry, so this was obviously a major factor in my application, along with its convenient proximity to Tesco.

How have you changed since walking through Univ’s doors for the first time?
I feel a lot more confident in myself since joining Univ, both socially and academically. Coming to uni has given me a chance to meet so many new people and I definitely don’t feel like I’m “the shy one” anymore. I’m also a lot more comfortable speaking up in tutes now, which is something I really struggled with at the beginning of first year.

Lauren post-jumping in the riverHow have you found being Hall and Accommodation Officer in the pandemic?
I am obviously disappointed that we haven’t been able to organise all the formals we wanted to this year, but of the parts we have been able to do it has actually been a really fun role. It has definitely helped that Erin and I are in the same household so we can have meetings together with Shane and talk about the ballots over dinner. Sometimes it has been hard to balance alongside my degree and it can be very stressful trying to make sure everyone knows what’s going on (especially with everything being online), but we’ve managed to share the workload well.

Has anything about Univ surprised you?
It is definitely much more laidback here than I expected, I thought we’d have to refer to our tutors as “Professor” and always come across really serious and professional during tutes, but they’re all really nice and down to earth. I was also surprised by the number of traditions at Oxford that I knew nothing about before coming here, like matriculation and jumping in the river after exams, and it’s been really fun to experience these despite the pandemic.

What do you do outside your studies?
I joined rugby in Michaelmas which I really enjoyed as it was something I used to play at school but hadn’t really had a chance to continue. Unfortunately I haven’t been to many practice sessions due to Covid and a very full Trinity term, but it’s something I hope to do more of next year. I also crochet, but I tend to try to avoid the typical granny squares and jumpers – recently I’ve been making cushions with photos on.

Lauren at formal with friendsDo you have any favourite Univ moments?
I loved going to formals in first year, it was always such a nice environment and a lovely way to bring all the years together. I especially enjoyed the Christmas formal where we all sang the Oxford version of 12 days of Christmas.

Describe Univ in three words.
Relaxed, fun, inspiring.

Published: 5 July 2021

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