Not just Reading...
Today Rose is telling you, what else she did, outside of reading, to prepare for interviews:
Although reading is definitely important, it’s not the only thing you can do. Still on the theme of books, you can read, but find other ways to interact with the text.
I read Aeschylus’ play Agamemnon as part of my Classics ALevel, and I loved it so much that I decided to write a re-working of it with a modern-day twist, with a view to it being performed in school. I never actually got to put the play on, in the end, but I still ended up with the whole experience of writing a play, including thinking about costumes, staging and tech. This also allowed me to discover another passion of mine (aside from Classical art): the interaction of the ancient world with the modern. This meant that I had something to discuss in my personal statement, and I was confident that I could talk about it in interviews, too. In fact, I thought I would need to talk about it in person, in order to do my idea justice.
There are so, so many things you can do to prepare for interviews or just generally to expand your knowledge! In Year 10, I’d co-founded the school magazine (the somewhat questionably named The News of the Girls) and in Year 12 I decided to start writing a Classics column for this. My first article for it was an interview with the Classics professor, Mary Beard, and I also wrote about Why Rome Still Matters (expanding on that interest in the way the modern and ancient worlds intertwined). I found it was actually really enjoyable just to have an outlet, a way of talking about Classics that I enjoyed!
Another thing I found pretty enjoyable was listening to the radio. There’s a really good radio series on BBC Radio 4 called In Our Time, where for about 40 minutes, the presenter (Melvyn Bragg, what a babe) and his guests (professors from top universities, usually featuring at least one person from Oxford, Cambridge, or a London university) discuss a specific topic. In the Radio 4 Archives there are literally hundreds (nearly thousands), so there is something to interest everyone, from climate change to DNA sequences, Sappho to The Tempest. Listening to the radio is so underrated: it’s so easy to do it anywhere (as you can download most shows) – on the way to the bus stop, whilst straightening your hair, or if you’ve just had enough of reading and homework. Another personal favourite of mine, for Classics nerds, is Natalie Haynes’ Natalie Haynes Stands Up for The Classics. It is honestly a stroke of genius.