By Maddie Walch
If somebody had told me two years ago on GCSE results day that I’d go on to apply to Oxford University, I definitely would have laughed. I was just a year and a half into remission after being diagnosed with stage 4 cancer at 13 and, honestly, I was shocked to even be getting my GCSEs.
I’ve always loved to learn and worked hard at school. I dreamed of going to university since no one in my family has been. Despite finding it difficult to catch up with work after missing a year of school, I achieved all As/A*s (7s/8s/9s) at GCSE. One teacher at my secondary school used to pester me about applying to Oxbridge in future but I was adamant it wasn’t happening.
It was the coordinator of my college’s gifted and talented programme who encouraged me to apply to Oxford. He told me that I would be a ‘genuine candidate’ and had a good shot at getting in. After the UNIQ summer school, I had my heart set on the fast-paced studying environment and began preparing my application. After spending hours on my personal statement, I submitted my application.
The truth is, applying to Oxford as a first-generation university student is terrifying. You tend to doubt yourself and your abilities, forever questioning whether you are ‘Oxford material’. But you only have one opportunity to apply and if it’s really what you want, don’t give up at the last hurdle. When you open that email from the admissions team, whether it’s good or bad news, just knowing that you pushed yourself to apply to the BEST UNIVERSITY IN THE WORLD is an achievement in itself.