During my work experience week, Tilly and I visited Lady Margaret Hall to talk to their Access Officer, Marrium, about LMH and Freshers!
R: What’s your favourite thing about LMH?
M: The history! When I was applying I didn’t have the foggiest about all the colleges – but I remember reading LMH was the first one to allow women an education at Oxford. That’s pretty cool – it’s the reason I might have the opportunity to study here, I remember thinking. Then I found out that Benazir Bhutto (1st Female Pakistani Prime Minister) had also been at LMH. Well, that kinda sealed the deal for me…
(We also have the meanest hash browns in town!)
R: What’s the best thing about LMH for Freshers?
M: For me personally? It’s that you can see it as a home. Oxford can seem so intimidating when you’re new, but LMH is that perfect middle: pretty informal, though still ft. that odd Harry Potter moment. Close enough to the centre that it’s only a 5-10 minute walk, but far enough that it’s away from the touristy hustle and bustle of town. It’s comforting – and that makes a world of difference when you’re settling in.
R: How would you sum up LMH in one word?
M: Revolutionary. Or pioneering. It’s life-changing, too, but that’s more personal, more for the individual. Sorry, you said one word didn’t you…
R: What can new students starting in October expect from Fresher’s week at LMH?
M: There are tonnes of events to help freshers find their feet and settle in during the first week – my favourite is probably the massive speed dating session to get to know everyone in the year. Every evening there’s either a ‘night out’ or a ‘night in’. Nights in were always my favourite – you can’t beat a good movie and ice cream! Both nights are highly attended by both freshers and older years, so a great way to make friends.
R: Any top tips for new students?
M: Yes, quite a few!
It’s useful to create a list of things to bring – anything from bedding to laundry kits (that sounds sophisticated – they really don’t have to be! Bit of Tesco washing liquid did the trick for me…) to hangers to a decent backpack. Be prepared – it’s a really good way of limiting your stress levels in what can seem a stressful week. But also don’t panic about it – you will always have friendly neighbours who happily lend if you’ve forgotten anything vital, plus plenty of affordable shops to buy from.
Read through all of the documents your college sends you carefully, before starting.
Don’t be worried about asking your college family loads of questions – they will love being bothered by you!
This one sounds so cliché but it’s completely true: everyone will be in the same boat, so please don’t worry too much. And remember: oxford is what you make of it, not what you’ve been told it is – seize every opportunity.
I spent so much time wondering whether I was ‘the Oxford type’ (there isn’t one!!) that I nearly shot myself in the foot. A dose of ‘imposter syndrome’ is entirely normal. Ignore it, and remember that the tutors are very good at choosing who takes a place. You really really deserve to be here – don’t let anyone tell you otherwise!
It takes a while to adjust, but you will get there.
Make sure you are aware of all the contact points for help in college, for instance the Welfare Team who are always on hand to chat.
Most importantly: enjoy it J
R: What was your experience of LMH as a Fresher?
M: In truth, really scary. I come from a big family, and I was missing home and my mum’s curries a lot! It took me a while to realise that it was completely okay to feel like this (in fact, I think it was a very frank conversation with my tutor that did it!), and that this was just a normal part of transitioning. From then on, I loved it. Finding societies suited to you and your interests is a really good way of settling in as a Fresher, as is remembering that the tutors are human (not the three-headed dogs I had anticipated!!) and want you to succeed and do well.