My Journey to Oxford from the US

By Elizabeth Hotz @ehotzz

My journey to Oxford is a little different from most, as I took a rather large detour along the way. I graduated from high school in 2010, with the plan of studying Psychology at University. Like a lot of other individuals, along the way I realized that may not be the subject I wanted to pursue as a career. Fast forward a few years and I graduated from the University of California, Santa Barbara in 2016 with a dual bachelor’s degree and the experience of 2 wonderful study abroad semesters. Still, I wasn’t sure exactly what I wanted to do, but I knew I needed to find a job, so I started working in retail. I worked there for a few years and decided retail wasn’t for me, so then I started working at my local zoo. I spent just over 2 years there and started as a tram driver, working my way up to an education specialist and interpretive sign coordinator. I loved that job, as it gave me so many unique experiences and ignited a passion for conservation, but I still felt something was missing. Something that I often found when I was traveling. I have been fortunate enough to study abroad and travel to many places and it was during these trips and vacations, that I realized my true passion was in archaeology.


So, the summer of 2019 I decided, I was going to apply for graduate school. I was extremely nervous and convinced that no one would accept me. I had been out of school for years, I didn’t have an impressive career, I didn’t have an undergraduate degree in archaeology, what did I have to offer? I looked up as many tips and recommendations regarding application materials that I could find and was comforted by the advice and stories I saw on sites like That Oxford Girl. It’s what convinced me to take a chance and apply to the University of Oxford, a chance I self-described as my “Hail Mary pass”. So, when I received the email that I had been accepted, I was in complete shock. Even to this day, I have moved to Oxford and officially started classes and it still feels surreal. But the most shocking part of all was realizing if I hadn’t even bothered applying to Oxford or if I believed all of the negative things I told myself, I would have never known what I could achieve.


Oxford saw something in me, and to be honest I still am not sure what that was, but it goes to show why you should always take that chance when it comes to pursuing your passion and be confident in everything you have worked for and achieved so far.