I eventually came across Mansfield College after getting horrendously lost in Oxford and I am so glad that I did! It is a very friendly college and I instantly felt welcome despite the atmosphere being completely different to my experience of learning in a comprehensive school in London. The tutors are incredibly supportive and really push you to work beyond what you ever thought possible. The English Literature course is so broad and it is interesting learning Old English alongside the Victorians and Modern literature. It is truly motivating to be surrounded by other students who have a genuine thirst for their subject. For me this is probably the most satisfying thing about studying at Oxford.
There is also a huge variety of clubs and societies students can join (I got slightly carried away at the Freshers' Fair and joined about 50 different societies!) After realising that this is completely impossible with the already busy Oxford timetable I stuck with the swimming and rock climbing club. I am also a member of the SWSS (Socialist Workers Student Society). We have organised a variety of successful and interesting meetings ranging for issues concerning the revolutions in the Arab world, feminism, LGBT liberation, environmentalism and the threat from the far right.
Mansfield is truly a wonderful college to be a part of. Not only is the academic atmosphere motivating and rewarding but the people are friendly and supportive. The only downside of Oxford is that I am practically blind now from the amount of reading we do!