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Profile: Przemyslaw Kubiak

Przemyslaw Kubiak, (2020, PPL)

Przemyslaw Kubiak has just finished his first year studying PPL (Psychology, Philosophy, and Linguistics), coming to Univ from Poland. He was a student helper at the recent Virtual Open Days

Why did you apply for PPL? 
Interestingly, I chose PPL because I wanted to study Philosophy, which I had done in high school and loved, but I wanted to combine it with something different than a language or Politics and Economics. So I chose Linguistics, as it seemed fascinating. And now I actually want to do Linguistics in the future!

PPL is exactly about what interests me the most: the mechanisms underlying the way we behave, think, and structure our language. It enables one to analyse more critically and deeply the way human mind works. I knew I wanted to focus my studies on these problems which was my main motivation to choose PPL.

How did you come to Univ?
In terms of the college, I did not initially choose Univ: I applied to and was interviewed by a different college. However, all PPL applicants have interviews at at least two colleges, and my second one was Univ. That is when I fell in love with Univ because of how amiable, helpful, and fun everyone was, not to mention how beautiful it is! So I was more than happy when I received an offer from Univ.

How have you changed since walking through Univ’s doors for the first time?
I think I have become even more accustomed to being out of my comfort zone. I generally try to remain out of it because this is how you have great experiences and gain valuable knowledge, but studying abroad required me to face many obstacles I had not even thought of. How was I going to make friends in a country with a different culture? How was I going to live on a different side of the continent? Ever since walking through Univ’s doors for the first time, I have had to confront my own fears and presuppositions in daily contexts I had not expected. Even though it was hard at times, I think I have done great: I love my uni friends to pieces, I really enjoy my degree, and I have found a specific kind of happiness in Oxford I had not experienced before.

What do you enjoy the most about studying PPL? Has anything surprised you?
What I love most about PPL and what may be quite unexpected is that it is less humanities-based than one would think it is. I have studied Probability and Statistics, Logic, Phonetics, and Analytic Philosophy, and aim to do even more maths-like or science-related modules in the future, such as Modal Logic, Psycholinguistics, and more advanced Phonetics. PPL incorporates more science than many other humanities subjects (especially natural sciences if you do Psychology) – something a bit surprising, and very enjoyable. And, ironically, I just wish Linguistics was even more science-oriented!

What do you get up to outside your studies?
I am a very big coffee enthusiast, and I often spend time in Jericho Coffee Traders near Univ enjoying some coffee and chatting with the baristas. I also try to do as much as I can for popularisation of international education: I am the current co-head of the Polish branch of the charity Project Access which promotes applying to great universities abroad. I supervise and work with a network of mentors studying all over Europe, and cooperate with both the international team and other national teams. I also try to spend as much time as I can with my friends when I am not busy with work, and Univ does provide a lot of opportunities for socialisation (the COVID-related restrictions being in place notwithstanding).

What advice would you give to prospective students?
I remember how, when I was applying to Oxford, I asked one of my friends studying there already if he had any advice for me. He said something that, in that moment, sounded extremely useless: he told me to be myself. But the more I think about it, the more I consider it a great piece of advice. So what I would say to prospective applicants is: be yourself, you are a smart and hardworking individual, and you deserve to have a chance. Try to do the best you can during tests and interviews, and when they will seem like a lot to take, just remember that you are strong and you can do this.

Do you have any favourite Univ moments?
I don’t think I have a single favourite Univ moment, but I have a couple of them which are equally my favourite ones. Being with my friends and enjoying our time in the evenings, our study sessions in libraries, trashing in Port Meadows, chilling in University Parks when it was warm and sunny, or ordering yet another pizza with my household. It’s not about just one moment for me, it’s about the whole year.

Describe Univ in three words.
Warm, welcoming, idyllic.

Published: 26 July 2021

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