Profile: Rebecca Galbraith
Becca is in her fourth year studying Earth Sciences at Univ. She is also one of Univ’s peer supporters — peer supporters are trained by the University Counselling Service in listening and supporting other students with their problems.
Why did you choose to study Earth Sciences?
I chose to study Earth Sciences because I had, for a long time, loved and been somewhat obsessed by volcanoes; I knew from early in my secondary school years that I wanted to study them, and Earth Sciences was the way to do that. I also loved Physical Geography and the Sciences, so Earth Sciences combined those fields well and with rigour.
How do you think you have changed since you walked through Univ’s doors for the first time?
While over my time here I have developed better critical thinking skills academically speaking, I think I’ve become a more open-minded person. Being at Univ, and university generally, you are exposed to so many new people and experiences, and you realise there is much more variation in life than you ever thought before. For this reason, I would also say I’ve become a more interesting person, because here I’ve had the chance to try many new clubs, societies, and activities, meeting many different people in the process. For example, I have recently gotten involved with OUWC and OUMC – Oxford University Walking and Mountaineering Clubs, through which I’ve gone on some exciting trips and have made some amazing new friends.
Why did you become a peer supporter?
I became a Peer Supporter because I wanted to learn how best to help and understand others. Being a Peer Supporter is about more than just listening to the problems others are going through. It’s about being an open, trustworthy confidante, and a person who respects the boundaries of others. I only joined the Peer Support team in Hilary term 2020 when all the training was being run on MS Teams. It was a unique way to develop relationships of trust with fellow trainees, and very relevant practice for the virtual, post-covid world. However, since returning to Univ in person, I have had the chance to meet some of my co-Peer Supporters in person and get to know the extensive and caring Univ welfare system better.
Do you have any favourite moments thus far from your time at Univ?
I loved having several opportunities to attend special events in college as the event photographer. For example, in my first year, I was enlisted to photograph the Women’s Formal celebrating 40 years of women at Univ, which was very special and meant I got to meet so many wonderful women and non-binary people across different year groups. I also enjoyed being invited to photograph a couple of the Univ Music Society concerts and experience the amazing talent of friends in the beautiful building that is Master’s Lodgings.
Do you have any comforting words or words of wisdom for interview candidates?
Be yourself. The tutors are looking to see that you are as driven an individual for your subject as you have shown yourself to be thus far in your application to Oxford. But, if you do find yourself uncertain, I’d say to make your thought processes clear to the tutor by ‘thinking aloud’ when possible. This doesn’t mean jumping to conclusions, just that you vocalise how you are thinking about the question. And if you need clarification, don’t be afraid to ask.
Describe Univ in three words.
Attentive, progressive, welcoming.
Published: 20 December 2021