IBSB is where I gained the confidence to pursue my dreams and the care and support I needed to turn them into reality. It was here that I first edited a magazine, represented the school at a Remembrance day ceremony, learned Scottish dances, defeated my fear of speaking in public, and had individual History lessons not entirely unlikely Cambridge supervisions. IBSB has a rich and diverse community and I learned so much about myself and the world whilst studying here.
What I am doing at University
Writing an essay every week, for a different paper each term. This year I did modern world history and early history of political thought. When not reading books or articles, I organise events for the Brooke Society, my college’s history society, or help run services in the Caius Chapel. I never expected I would spend my time here attending Anglican services, but somehow that happened. Our Dean is incredible and I have learned so much from her in general. I am also a member of a student-run think tank, The Wilberforce Society, and I was the Director for Publicity for a while. I also helped found a feminist society in college, which is now run by someone else and has speaker events each term.
Advice to prospective Cambridge applicants
If you have the grades and the passion for learning, you should apply to Oxbridge; everything else will come later. I knew I really wanted to apply to Cambridge before I knew what I wanted to study or how the application process worked. I only decided I wanted to read History after I started my AS History course and absolutely loved it, so there is no need to worry if you don’t yet know what you want to do. The whole application process might seem daunting and pointless at times, but that feeling will go away and it will be worth it.
A word of caution: Cambridge is a specific kind of academic and social environment and it is not for everyone. You are going to spend 3 years in a small town, mostly in your college, stressing about work in an environment that is not very international and at times not that vibrant. The work feels very rewarding and most people here love the strange bubble we live in, but it might not be for you.
Think carefully about college choices. I did not and was simply lucky, but there are very important differences. Some newer, more modern colleges are quite far out of town and they do not have the same resources that other colleges have, so you might have fewer supervisions and less academic support. Subject-wise, if a college has an active student society for that subject, that usually means it will be really good for what you want to do. That being said, everyone ends up loving the college they go to and there are no ‘bad’ colleges.
Future plans: Will probably apply to do a World History MPhil at Cambridge.
IBSB is where I gained the confidence to pursue my dreams.