Due to a half 5 start, the long minibus ride was greatly appreciated for a few hours to catch up on some sleep, resulting in us arriving in Cambridge at around 10am. First impressions of the town were how quaint and pretty it was: the buildings looked like they were out of a storybook and the canal running in the middle made us all feel we were in a scene of Sylvanian Families. We then met our Cambridge tour guide Sandy, who brought us to Magdelene College, built around a beautiful old sandstone courtyard and looking like a real life Hogwarts.
After refreshments, we had an introductory talk to Cambridge and university life in general. We then had a small tour of the grounds of Magdelene College and a more informal chat about what life would be like at a college in Cambridge. This was followed by a very interesting talk by a neuroscience professor at the university. The discussion about how we form consciousness from past experiences was deeply interesting and fascinated the whole group.
After lunch we made the treacherous trek to the Engineering Department where Cambridge town decided to turn into the Amazon rainforest as the heavens opened and soaked us all. But after a few minutes, we were in the safe and dry of the Engineering Faculty. There we were given an informative tour, which was really engaging as we got to fully experience what being an engineering student would be like and saw lots of current projects and opportunities throughout the tour.
After this, we made the short journey to the Law department, which again was a fantastic opportunity as many of us are interested in that field. There we learnt about the set up of the law degree, what lectures are like there and had a mini Q&A session, which was really helpful. After this, we had a short visit to Selwyn College, which was close by and much bigger than Magdelene College. Then, unfortunately, it was time to start making our way down to Oxford, which we were all very grateful about as our day had been jam-packed and we were all ready for a good nap.
After about 3 hours of driving we arrived in Oxford town centre and, after a bit of confusion, we found the secret doorway into St John's College. There we were greeted by the porters and shown to our accommodation. After a bit of unpacking we went down to the dining hall were we sat and had a gourmet dinner of roast chicken in red wine jus, and had an extremely import debate about the pronunciation of ‘scone’.
We were then given some free time to go around the town of Oxford, which was a historic city with many modern touches to it. After bee-lining for the Starbucks and stretch of our legs, we headed back to the college for some much needed wind down time as we’d had such a busy day. After a hot shower and a change into our PJs we went into each other’s rooms where we chatted and played many heated rounds of card games. Then, after a quick debriefing about the next day’s Open Day we planned the talks and sessions we wanted to attend in groups of two or more.
We met for breakfast the following day at 8.30am where we then parted ways to go and see the specific parts of the university we wanted to and the West Kirby invasion was truly underway. Many people of the group went to see Science talks and look around the Medical faculties, whereas some of us went to the Law talks and History lectures. After these extremely informative and revelatory sessions we then looked around some different colleges in Oxford to get a real flavour of what the social side of university life is like at Oxford. This part of the day was great as we got to talk to actual students and chat to them about anything that we wanted to find out without talking to a daunting university professor.
Afterwards, we met in Kewdricks café, which was on site in St John's College, where we sat and had more tea and biscuits and chatted about everyone’s different exciting days. This was another opportunity to sit and chat in smaller groups of about ten, to professor’s in the particular area we were interested in. This gave us the chance to ask questions and air any enquiries we had on a smaller and more personal scale.
After this, we unfortunately had to go back to the porter’s lodge and collect our bags as it was time to leave Oxford and make our way back home. The minibus journey was quick and easy and we arrived back at school in good time.
I think we all agree that the trip was extremely interesting and we all had a lot of fun! I would like to say on behalf of the group, a massive thank you to Mrs Szuplewski and Mrs Wright for organising this fantastic opportunity and putting up with us lot for two days!
E Astbury, Year 12