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Finding Yourself at Oxford

Moving to Oxford from a small village in Yorkshire, I was initially overwhelmed at the huge variety of societies and extra-curricular opportunities available, many of which I had never even heard of! Walking around the Fresher’s Fair in my first week, I was amazed at the opportunities available; there really was something for everyone.

What was perhaps particularly daunting was that it seemed as though many of my friends and peers had very quickly found activities that were natural choices for them. They had already got involved with these hobbies earlier in their school lives, which made the transition to Oxford that bit easier. Amongst them, they had joined choirs, the lacrosse team, and college rowing to name just a few.

Fresher’s week provided a great opportunity to try new things, with many societies hosting ‘open doors’ events where everyone was welcome to come and have a go. I particularly enjoyed the cross-country freshers run, where we ran with the university level runners. We were able to chat with them about the society and about life here in general. Whilst this was great fun, I really wanted to find something new.

This prompted me to give the college football team a try early in my first term. I had never played football before, but the captain of my college team was incredibly welcoming and supportive. She even directed me to the university-wide ‘Development Squad’ where I could get coaching and training alongside my college matches, which helped to alleviate my worries about not being as good as the other girls!

Whilst at first I had been apprehensive about playing a sport for the first time, particularly in a competitive setting, I quickly realised that a huge part of the college sport atmosphere was having fun. All of the girls I play with are so supportive of each other, and the training sessions are as much about having a good time together as they are about improvement. A real highlight of my second term was the away match against Magdalene College Cambridge!

I now play football not only at college level but as part of a university-wide casual women’s football group, as well as the Development Squad. Getting involved in football has made my first year here so much fun, and it has certainly proved that the best way to find your ‘thing’ is to just give it a try!

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