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Leah's Journey Part 2

By Leah Aspden

I was so chuffed and shocked that I had received an interview, I cried. So off I went! I had to stay for 4 days but went the day before my first interview and after a whole kerfuffle with the wrong room I was settled into Jesus College. I had my first two interviews, but little did I know they were the first two out of six. They went okay but were obviously overwhelming and it was my time of the month which didn’t help! I didn’t do any work in between my interviews because I wanted to save my energy, so I just had fun with the wonderful friends I’d made. I was in Tesco with my friend James buying some chocolate fingers to ease the pain and I got a call that ran:

‘Hi, it’s Jesus’

‘No way omg…’

‘Sorry, it’s Jenny from Jesus College you’ve been pooled to two more colleges, you’ve got 4 more interviews.’

These interviews were at Oriel and St Hugh’s (on behalf of St Anne’s). In my Oriel German one the next day I hadn’t been given a dictionary so I sat, red faced, across from a German lady who looked at me like I’d just stripped and started doing the macarena when I couldn’t understand a word of the Rilke poem about autumn and forgot that people call God ‘Lord’ sometimes which apparently is ‘Herr’ in German. After 20 minutes we concluded that I hadn’t been given the dictionary I was supposed to have - so yeah it was fantastic. But, I believed that if I went in there as my true and authentic self then if they didn’t want me then it wasn’t a reflection on me or them, Oxford just wasn’t for me, so I tried not to dwell on it too much.

The last interview came, and I was exhausted, but the poem was wonderful, and the tutors were asking me the most challenging questions e.g.

If Oscar Wilde said both that art is useless then how can art also be art for art’s sake?

I could have cried with happiness because I thought this is what I’m here for somebody to ask me questions like this and for me to um and ahh a few times but really wrack my brain for the answer.

I went home feeling a little forlorn and drained because I’d had such a wonderful couple of days, I didn’t want it to end. The caveat with the application process is the huge looming uncertainty of it all. I spent Christmas counting the days and finishing coursework when January 14th finally came round the corner – Judgement Day. I had a mock exam and a German test so I turned my phone off and waited until I could go home at 12. A 40-minute drive with my mum later and I got in and held the extremely thin envelope in my hands. I opened it, trembling. Now behold the most misleading sentence of all time…

‘Dear Miss Aspden, I regret we are unable to offer you a place at Jesus College, but I understand another college is likely to accept you…Congratulations on your success’

Imagine the roller coaster of feelings in that sentence alone. I had to check UCAS to see that campus K (Which I later found was St Anne’s) had given me an offer.

I cried a lot and went for a celebratory McDonalds.

It’s important to note, too, that the next two weeks I spent in a kind of depression because I’d psyched myself up for it and genuinely couldn’t believe I’d gotten in but now honestly I can’t contain the excitement I have for this coming year, and the thought of going in September is what’s getting me through this time. It is difficult and emotional, but it is so worth it, regardless of the outcome.

If you have any more questions at all about open days, how I chose my college or anything my Instagram is @leah_aspden feel free to DM me or email me at 😊


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