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Finding your place at Oxford University

By Poorvaja Arun Kumar

I sit in the magnificent Radcliffe Camera as I start writing this article. Firstly, if you have never been inside the RadCam, I strongly suggest that you drop everything and visit it right away. To me, sitting in the silence of one of the most famous libraries in the world, surrounded by a beautiful dome with typical Oxford architecture all around, was my moment of realization that I had made it – I was finally studying at Oxford University, something that most of us dreamt of for many years. The interesting part about this feeling is that it dawned upon me, not on the first day of the term, nor on matriculation day, nor in the first formal dinner, but on this fine evening when I sat on the topmost floor of the Radcliffe Camera, more than a month after I came to Oxford.

The town and university are as diverse and worldly as it can get in today's age and time. This also means that finding your place in Oxford can be daunting especially if you have never experienced being a part of an international community for a long period of time before.

It is not uncommon to be overwhelmed by the sheer number of opportunities that exist here including sport, education, social activities, and other events in the larger town. For some of us that have a year or lesser at Oxford, the self-induced pressure of having to do every iconic activity and attend every major event as an Oxford student can be a lot.

But every time you have this feeling, stop, and look around – everyone is just doing the best they can and so must you. Remember we all come from different cultures, family upbringing, educational backgrounds, and priorities. While it is aspirational to try new things at Oxford and leverage every opportunity, there is also nothing wrong in following what you truly wish for. If you already know that you only want to do one sport that you have played all your life that’s fine, but it’s also great if you want to start learning a subject that you never learnt before. That is the true beauty and uniqueness of this University, make the most of your time here in a manner that makes you happy, even if it means not ticking off the ideal checklist of an Oxford fresher!


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