Reflecting on Three Years

By Isobel Hawkins



Three years ago, walking back from some of our first lectures with my friends, we talked about how quickly the time seemed to pass in Oxford, joking that we’d wake up tomorrow and suddenly be graduating! Sure enough, we were right: despite those many arduous hours of essay writing, labs, and lockdowns where time seemed to stretch on forever, those 3 years in Oxford did seem to pass in the blink of an eye. At the end of term, as we took a final photo outside our house, re-creating a photo we took outside our first-year house 2 years previously, I was reminded of how lucky we had been to have the time in Oxford together that we did.


Looking back, those 3 years were far from what I had expected arriving in Oxford as a nervous fresher, intimidated by the grandeur and prestige of a place I didn’t feel qualified to be studying in, surrounded by people I never expected to connect with. From uncertain muddling through initial essays, complete confusion in early lectures, and those tentative friendships in Freshers week, came, with time, work I could be proud of, lectures I not only understood but enjoyed, and friends akin to family.


Some of my initial reservations on Oxford were short lived- making friends was infinitely easier than I had anticipated, much to the relief of my shy 18-year-old self! Some took longer to shake, with the highly academic environment at times leading to a lack of confidence in my abilities compared to my clever, competent peers. Thankfully, after three years, all reservations are long gone, and the memories made in Oxford aren’t those of essays or exams, but of the hours spent with friends, walking in University Parks, swimming in the river, and spending time together.


Some of us are lucky enough to still have another year here to make the most of, and three more terms to spend together in Oxford. If you’re starting university this autumn, make the most of it too, and enjoy yourself- it’ll go more quickly than you can imagine!