Hello! I’m Nicole, a Classics student drawing close to her fourth and final year at Corpus.
The realms of language and literature captivated me from a fairly young age, but neither Classics nor Oxford were obvious considerations for much of my school education. When I had the good fortune to encounter Latin, and later Greek, it was simply the love of the ancient world and culture by which I was driven. Nonetheless, I’m glad that I decided to apply to an Oxford college to study the classical world further!
Corpus definitely lives up to its reputation of having a cosy and cordial nature. The small college size means that it is all the easier to make friends across different backgrounds, subjects and year groups, which fosters a close-knit sense of community. Even on the chilliest and windiest of days, the quad with its sundial has come to be a source of warmth to me.
Four years for a Classics degree is rather unique: to the surprise of many friends, this was one of the main factors which drew me to the Oxford course. While the first year and a half are geared towards providing you with a broad, balanced foundation across the different fields of which the subject is composed, the latter half of the course is far more flexible in terms of picking and choosing more specialised modules. Trying a variety of disciplines, from ancient art to philosophy, was important to me; at the same time, I have also enjoyed delving into more specific areas such as Late Bronze Age archaeology and the history of the century preceding the fall of the Roman Republic. The faculty hosts a range of “streams” catering to all experiences and levels of language learning within the Literae Humaniores (Classics) course, along with joint courses that link the ancient world to humanities like language and history.
Between college, the faculty and the central libraries, a wealth of resources both digital and in print await to be dipped into. Especially in the earlier stages of the Classics course, teaching is divided between group classes and tutorials. Although a session between an academic, one or two other students and yourself might sound daunting, tutorials are widely treasured for the remarkable chance to engage in fresh discussion and are a highlight for many students!
Similarly, the interview process might come across as intimidating: after all, you’re staying away from home briefly1 and will be discussing the subject face to face with University tutors. On the other hand, there’s something special about spending some time around the college(s) and having the opportunity to talk to tutors who share the very same interests as you - in essence, a little taster of life as a student here.
Studying at Oxford is an all-encompassing experience. Undoubtedly, the academic focus forms the core of Oxford terms, but that is by no means to say that other aspects are limited - quite the contrary. Not only are there all sorts of clubs on a wider University level and in college, but these truly form the basis of communities across the student body. From multifarious sporting, musical and theatrical events to faith-based societies to the appreciation of Dr Who or cheese, there’s bound to be something for you. It’s often the case that so much happens each term that it’s hard to choose between everything that’s going on! Every part of the experience is memorable in its own way.
Whenever things feel intense or overwhelming, that’s where the wonderful pastoral network comes in. There are always plenty of people who are more than happy to lend a listening ear and moral support.
If there’s anything you’d like to ask about Corpus, Classics or Oxford, whether concerning the application process or life in college, please do contact me via the email address given. I also hope to meet you at some of our Open Days2 and outreach events!
1 Please note that interviews will be held online in 2021.
2 Please note that the Open Days on 30 June, 1 July and 17 September 2021 are virtual.
Resources categorised by subject and by Key Stage, as well as materials for applying to Oxford and finding out more about Corpus, can be found here.