Testimonial: Diren Ozcelik
As a first-generation student, my application experience was not only a daunting one but also solitary. Although my siblings were applying for uni the same time as me, we were all trying to go to different places doing different things so we basically did everything individually.
Like everyone coming from a similar background, state school educated throughout my life and not knowing anyone who got into Oxbridge nor even knowing anyone who applied, I had this view of Oxford as only for well-read and well-spoken people, and can’t deny the thought in the back of my mind that it might make me change too if I did get in. Now that I’m here I can confirm that it’s true- you do change, but not necessarily in the sense that you lose your roots and the essence of your upbringing. You change more so in that you learn different things, you meet people outside of your comfort zone- outside London- and all of it opens your mind to new perspectives, new people, and this is one of the most valuable things I’m developing in my time here.
Coming from an area with low progression to higher education, I couldn’t help but think that the other applicants would have been better prepared and suited to a uni like this. They would have had home-libraries and family members who went to Oxbridge themselves, whilst I had read only a few books outside the curriculum and had moral support at home for my application but no real material support.
When I got the acceptance letter I was in two minds, and my initial thought was to decline. Visiting the college however (where I met who is now my college mum and her friends) was such an eye-opening experience that not everyone was the typical wealthy, private school educated student. You didn’t have to come here and become this typical ‘Oxford student’, and that’s what essentially made me go forward with my application. You’re here based on your intellectual ability, not on your financial status or your background.