Wednesday, 23 December 2015

Back from the interview.

So it’s been something along the lines of eighteen days since my last blog post, which means it’s probably time to get a new one out before UCAS start kicking me for being a lazy blogger. In those eighteen days, I’ve taken four flights, been to my interviews in Oxford, sat my semester exams, begun my holiday with two more trips to the airport, and received a fourth offer – alas, not from Oxford.

The Oxford trip was mind-blowingly spectacular; after a comfortable twenty hour journey to the exotic land of England, I had a day to work my way from Heathrow to Corpus Christi on a comfortable train, where I spent the next four days playing board games and card games with other history and politics enthusiasts, which made for a bit of fun socialising. Since then a group of us have remained in touch so that, come January sixth, we’ll know who is to be reunited in Oxford and which of us will be hoping to meet up again in Durham.

Out of the people reading this blog – which I fear has risen from two people I don’t know to being two people I don’t know and eight people that I do – I’m sure none of you are interested in hearing about the interview. So I’ll tell you about it. After months of people building you up for it and telling you about the tricks the interviewers will play on you, you arrive nervous. The student ambassadors tell you that it’s not a process designed to trick you and that the interviewers will instead help you, but for all you know they’re part of the plan to make you feel too comfortable, so you ignore them. You show up to your first interview, worried about what’s to come, and suddenly you’re talking about something you love with others who love it more than you do. The interviewers go through different passages and pictures with you (for CAAH, at least) and help you on your way in order to learn more about your reasoning process. I never stopped feeling nervous, but I definitely enjoyed the process a lot more than I expected.

I was somewhat caught off guard when I walked into the archaeology interview and was asked about a settlement I’d mentioned in my personal statement, Hierapolis Pamukkale. I knew it well enough to speak on its origins and brief history, but was slightly thrown when, after I’d been through it, the interviewer suggested some reading to me and then told me he’d written a couple of essays on it. Apparently he knows it quite well, and I may or may not have looked a bit of a fool.

For those who skipped those last two paragraphs (i.e. everyone), the marginally more interesting stuff resumes here briefly. After receiving my fourth offer, adding St. Andrews to my list with just Oxford left to reply (and end my lucky streak), I was speaking with a friend, Trym, who, much to my chagrin has discovered that I am a UCAS blogger, asked me to put out a notice to the last university he hasn’t heard from that they should hurry up and reply. Clearly he thinks UCAS blogging is a lot more prestigious than it actually is. A notice to all Scottish universities: you might do well to send your rejections to him, and quickly. He is, after all, named after the Norse god of evil.

Obviously I joke, I wish to have no influence on any decisions unless it’s positive and in my favour (*cough* Hi Oxford!). Due to the rather slow nature of my holiday I’ve nothing else to say (yes, I hear the sighs of relief), so I’ll duck out of writing more till I’m bored again on Boxing Day.

Till whenever.

Saturday, 5 December 2015

Hello to all two UCAS blog readers!

Hello The Internet! My name is Oscar, current UCAS applicant and  new blogger. Well, not new, it’s just taken me two weeks to find the time to write my first blog post. I could possibly have done it last weekend but I had two research papers due on the Monday afterwards as well as two others later during the week, two tests and two exams. Also somewhere in there was a music festival in Singapore, which may not have been the best idea under such a work load.

Anyway, I’ve been advised that a good way to start might be to introduce myself a little and give some information about my applications and aspirations, so I’ll try and make myself sound like I’m not dull and frigid, or pretentious. You’ll probably get one of the two. Sorry.

I’m an International Baccalaureate student in my final/senior year, currently taking higher level History, English literature, and French as well as three standard level classes. With those, I’m hoping to go into classical history and archaeology, much to the chagrin of the rest of the Model UN team who are all aspiring politicians. They’re convinced that I’ll be wasting my time “digging with spoons”, but the joke’s on them; while they’re sitting in their nice cushy office jobs on six figure salaries and changing the world, I’m going to be the one camping in a wet field with a metal detector and trowel. I think we know who the real winner is here.

I’m the sort of student who takes work a bit too seriously and still manages to be about average, who gets really enthusiastic about some courses and does well in them while neglecting others, who telephones large tea-making corporations at two in the morning to ask them to give me the precise quantity of caffeine in one tea bag for a “critical research paper”, and who is advertising himself well in this paragraph just in case any of the universities he’s applied to are reading this.

I currently live in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, an absolutely wonderful place to be except for this year’s haze. Before here I lived in France for twelve years and went to school in Geneva, Switzerland, and before that a measly four years in England, meaning I know nothing about the country I’m “from”, and will have to spend a while getting to know it while at university.

As for my applications, I’ve sent five out through UCAS to Oxford, Durham, St. Andrews, Exeter and York, and I’m leaning towards the idea of sending a few applications out in France if there’s still time. The process so far has been absolutely amazing; I sent my apps out on October third and have had four replies so far – three affirmative, one invitation to interview – which would have been pretty much impossible without our school counsellor and the guidance from UCAS (but I won’t prattle on about them now, I’m sure UCAS will be kicking me to compliment them more in future).

I’ll be in Oxford next week for an interview, so perhaps I can do some blogging from the field, which I’m sure is the sort of thing UCAS wants me to be doing, but other than that I’ll just be rambling on here every now and then about applications and work and student life and archaeology and literature and whatever takes my fancy. I’m sure that all two of you reading this blog, and the one of you that stays around for the rest, will find me slightly boring but just good enough to use as an excuse to procrastinate. Everyone else in the world is probably more like me and doesn’t actually read UCAS blogs, but hey, no one’s judging you.

Till whenever,