Will I fit in at Oxford?

Seren Ford
Created: 8 months, 1 week ago
Last modified: 8 months, 1 week ago

This is a big worry for so many people for all sorts of different reasons. My biggest piece of advice would be to not worry if it feels as though everyone else apart from is finding their “group” in Freshers week, because everyone feels like this!

Before university, I was a very closeted queer person, and I wanted to be more “out” at university but was nervous about socialising in an LGBTQ+ setting because I’d never really had the opportunity to do so before. However, I soon felt very comfortable because the LGBTQ+ Soc at Oxford runs all sorts of events and places a large focus on welfare. CAKE (“Oxford's best women*'s and non-binary club night”) was definitely one of best nights out I’ve had, and was made even better by a group of us from different colleges getting together to bake banana cake in the kitchen of another college! The LGBTQ+ Rep at my college also held an event in the college bar before a night out in the last week of term, which was another really fun evening with friends.

I was also worried that I wouldn’t fit in because I don’t drink, and I’d heard that Oxford had a big drinking culture. But I haven’t found it to be an issue at all – no one pressures you to drink, the college bar has plenty of non-alcoholic drinks, and there are plenty of activities where alcohol isn’t playing a central role (for example we’ve had movie nights in the common room), so there’s nothing to worry about.

A lot of Black and Minority Ethnic students have this concern about fitting in too, because Oxford has not been a historically ethnically diverse university - although this is improving - and there are lots of societies for you if you’re part of that demographic - for example, there is an Afro-Caribbean Society at Oxford, the Hong Kong Society, the South Asian Arts Society, along with societies like Common Ground and Melanin, that examines the University’s colonial past.

There is a college parents scheme at every college, which is similar to a buddy system where second year students, usually doing the same subject as you are available for you to get in touch with for advice both before you arrive and during your time at Oxford, which means that you have a first port-of-call where you can ask someone who’s been in the same position as you just a year earlier! The Class Act campaign is part of the Student Union at Oxford also provides an additional parenting system for students who are from working class, low income, first generation, and state comprehensive school backgrounds, and the LGBTQ+ society has a similar process called rainbow parenting. This is an additional level of support which is really useful, especially if you’re from an underrepresented or marginalised group.

On YouTube and social media, there are lots of students sharing their experience of Oxford from different backgrounds, as well as Access and Outreach reps from the different colleges, on Facebook pages like Humans of Oxford University 🔗 🌟, which are great ways to hear about how people’s expectations matched up with their experiences of Oxford.

There are so many different societies on offer for you to find people with similar interests and make friends, and Fresher’s week is designed for you to meet as many people as possible within your college.