I’m Julia, and I’m a second-year studying History at Queen’s. I was born in Belfast in Northern Ireland, and I grew up in Newcastle-upon-Tyne in the North East. I attended a state comprehensive school throughout my education, which made me quite nervous to come here, but I love it!
I always enjoyed history, but I first became really interested in it in Sixth Form. It was a bit daunting for me to come here as I thought I knew relatively little about history outside my A Level course. Before coming, I did some reading on topics that I was interested in and listened to podcasts to discover new subjects. The Oxford course is great because it allows me to explore and find my interests – I started off thinking that I would really love medieval history but I have ended up enjoying modern history more. The course boundaries mean that I get to try out lots of different time periods, but also allow me to focus on what I like. My tutorials often give me an entirely new perspective on the subject I am studying, which helps me to improve and expand my opinions. Tutorials are also fun because it’s not just a tutor telling you what to do – sometimes I have different opinions and we can find ourselves in a discussion on opposite sides. This allows me to put my knowledge and arguing skills to the test! I used to be quite afraid to go against my tutors’ opinions, but I now think it’s a great way to improve.
I was scared before coming to Oxford that the atmosphere would be very work-based and not very fun, but since coming here I’ve learnt that that’s not the case. Queen’s is such an amazing friendly place and I’ve made many friends across the year groups. I love the fact that College life is so co-operative and community-based, and I’ve taken part in concerts for our music society and had a role on the JCR (Junior Common Room) Exec as Access and Outreach Representative. The collegiate system is nice because it allows you to be part of a smaller community of people who will look out for you and allows us to have some fun rivalries with other colleges!
Queen’s also has some traditions, which are rather crazy experiences but very entertaining if you don’t take them too seriously. I’ve also tried out lots of different extra-curricular activities outside of college - I am currently in an a cappella singing group, which performs gigs around Oxford, and I am part of a project to make Oxbridge applications more accessible. I like to swim, and I use the University pool which is very close to my accommodation. I also love to go punting with my friends in the summer, and go to 'bops' (parties) to have fun after working – there’s always fun things to do in the evenings! I’m so glad that I applied, as Oxford is such a unique and incredible university experience.