By Natalie Bright
Upon becoming a student at Oxford, it can be very daunting to know what societies to join. A common choice is a sport team; yet this requires a lot of time (a luxury that as a STEM student, I lack) and commitment. Plus, I am not very good at sport… Another obvious option is joining the societies associated with your course – in my case, studying biology led me to join the Biological Society and Nature Conservation Society. However, as most other members also came from my course, this did not open up as many doors to new friendships as I had hoped.
Starting Oxford in 2020, during the height of the COVID pandemic, meant that many other options that might be more ‘me’ were not in the running. I began to worry – I had heard from so many students that joining a society was how you met ‘your people’ and developed your passions, yet my options were not looking plentiful. Coincidentally, during my first term I received an email looking for students to represent my college – doing things like Instagram takeovers, helping out with the interview process, giving tours of the college and running open days. Being passionate about access and outreach (hello, I am afterall a That Oxford Girl ambassador) and a massive ‘people person,’ I decided to go for it. After a short application process, I became an ambassador of my college, Lady Margaret Hall.
Writing this as a third year I can safely say being a college ambassador has been a great experience. It has allowed me to make friends with people in my college I would never have otherwise met, and while tiring, the open days are always so fun to be a part of (plus you get free accommodation in college for the night - ensuring a great evening out with the other ambassadors). I have also given multiple tours to prospective students only for them to end up coming here– most notably this happened with a girl who ended up being my college daughter! Finally, representing your college and indirectly Oxford University can give you a massive sense of pride. It is an indescribable feeling knowing that only a few years ago you were the timid prospective student and now you are the knowledgeable and confident tour guide, hoping to inspire the next generation of Oxford students.