Iwasn’t going to Cambridge. I knew that I wanted to study Theology and it kept being suggested that I consider Oxbridge, but my GCSE grades, whilst good, didn’t match what I had been predicted, and the idea of Oxbridge seemed out of reach. Eventually, I agreed to go to an Open Day at the Cambridge Divinity Faculty, more to prove that it wasn’t for me than as an actual consideration. By the time I got home that evening, I’d fallen in love with everything that Cambridge and the course had to offer.
I began filling out the preliminary application forms at the end of my lower sixth year, but then received my AS Level results. As with my GCSEs, my exams hadn’t matched up to what I had been predicted or achieved in class, and I knew that I had no chance of making it to Cambridge with those grades. My teachers were incredibly supportive as I re-sat exams and worked on my exam technique in order to ensure that my A Level results were better, and I chose to take a gap year rather than to apply to different universities that year.
With my A Levels, I earned the grades to apply to Cambridge. Although I knew that other people applying would have better overall grades, I had the chance to aim for the goal that I had been pursuing for two years. My gap year was spent working and volunteering for various local organisations, and every place that I worked in had Cambridge graduates who only fuelled my desire to go to Cambridge when they spoke about their time here. After the interviews, I received a letter to say that I had been placed in the winter pool. It was Murray Edwards, a college that I had never heard of before, who rang me up that weekend to offer me a place. My Mum screamed so loudly when I put the phone down that our dog ran and hid in the next room.
Now that I am halfway through my undergraduate course, I know first-hand that the hard work that went into getting into Cambridge doesn’t stop with an offer, but that it is all worth it. Having discovered a love of the Old Testament and had the chance to learn Hebrew, I wish to pursue study in this area beyond undergraduate level. I am incredibly privileged to be studying a subject that I love and learning from some of the best academics in the world. Every essay that I write and supervision that I have refines the way that I think and approach issues, and it is always worth wading through the endless reading lists in order to discover that proverbial light bulb moment. Being placed in the pool during applications turned out to be the best possible course of events, since I was chosen by a college that is welcoming and continually supportive, providing not just a college but a community to live and study in. It was through Murray Edwards that I realised that I really could be going places.