Profile: Naomi Tromans
Naomi has just finished her second year studying psychology at Univ. In her profile, she discusses discovering Univ, finding a new family and taking on the challenge of organising the recent College ball.
Why did you choose to study Psychology at Univ?
I see psychology as so central to life in every way, being a part in some aspect of any career and of course in everyday life, but something that, compared to other sciences, we know relatively little about. I think as well that people tend to underestimate just how complex a simple thing like understanding what others, or even what we ourselves, are thinking and feeling actually is. I’ve also always felt a drive to make some sort of positive impact with whatever career I ended up choosing, with psychology feeling like something that enabled me to academically challenge myself, while also doing something applicable to others’ lives. I kind of love that there is still so much that isn’t understood or is maybe misunderstood. To be able to talk about my thoughts and take on everything with leaders in the fields is a genuine privilege.
When I visited on a September Open Day, Univ wasn’t actually on my shortlist of places to visit, but as it was close to subject talks I popped in and fell in love with how beautiful it looked (and with the free cupcakes). The helpers there were so lovely too and you could tell that there was such a “family” feeling to the student body. Having visited other colleges and even other unis and felt out of place having a Black Country accent and not being as well off as some of the other applicants I was meeting, to be able to feel like I could call Univ home was very special.
How do you think you have changed since walking through Univ’s doors for the first time?
I’ve definitely done a lot of growing, and feel that I have found my feet so much more than when I first started here. I remember watching the first few lectures and being overwhelmed with how much there is to know. I feel like I have such a better grasp of things now, and can actually contribute meaningfully. Personally as well though, I’m just so much more confident to take opportunities and explore possibilities, for example, this summer I am getting involved in some research assistant work which sounds so interesting, just from emailing people in the department and asking.
I think especially with the experience of our year, starting off in “households” with lectures online to everything changing over the last year to more regular teaching and living, it’s been a massive change. I feel like this year I’ve been pushing myself much more out of my comfort zone in the best way possible, and I’m getting to experience Oxford how it should be!
Why did you get involved with the Ball Committee? Any challenges/favourite moments?
I have always been quite a creative person as well as a bit of a people pleaser, so being the entertainment officer alongside my friend Chloe seemed like a great fit! I loved the idea of coming up with the theme and bringing that to life with décor and music. Putting up all of the decoration and seeing everything come together before we opened doors was definitely very fulfilling, then seeing everyone dancing in Hall was such a surreal, pinch-yourself that we pulled this off, moment.
A massive challenge for us was having a committee of 9 reduced to 7 (with one replacement), we had to split up other jobs and take so much on alongside our degrees, for example, I negotiated and contracted most of the food as well as arranging bands and amusements for entz. The week running up was also all-hands-on-deck and super tiring but very worth it in the end.
Do you have any advice for prospective students?
My biggest piece of advice would probably be to just visit Univ to feel the vibe of the college and see if you can see yourself here. I think that is definitely one of the most important things, especially with an Oxford workload, is to enjoy where you are and build a great support system. It does get very tough at times and there are some stressful late nights but it’s really very manageable. Obviously, it’s harder work than at other Unis, but I feel it’s so worth it for the personal investment all your tutors put into you and your work and the quality of the teaching. Tutors are also so understanding and if you’re struggling they will always listen and try their best to help, so you should never worry about speaking to them if you’re finding it tough.
Has anything surprised you about Univ/Oxford/your course?
It’s weird to say, but I guess it has mainly surprised me how normal most people at Oxford are. You have this preconception before you come of Oxford as this intimidating, prestigious and ritualised institution but really when you meet the people here that kind of melts away. There are still somewhat strange traditions and different words for everything which can sound ridiculous when you tell people at home, but everyone I have met and am friends with is just so normal and so human. I think with Oxford you kind of get out what you put in and you can choose to be as involved with traditions like formal halls as much or as little as you want.
Have you faced any challenges in your life that you are happy to share here? If so, how did you cope with them?
I have had some personal challenges, with health and mental health of loved ones and myself which I won’t go into too much detail with. More generally though, I’ve felt what I think a lot of people from not as well-off families and from normal state schools feel here in that other people just seem to have it easier. It’s easy to let that get to you but I think I’ve just always seen it as a reason to work and try harder for what you want to achieve.
Describe Univ in three words.
Passionate, Dedicated, Lively
Published: 8 August 2022