My name is Miriam Quinn and I hold an offer to study Human, Social and Political Sciences (HSPS) at Murray Edwards. I’m currently studying A Levels, but what has really defined my school experience is the opportunities I’ve had outside of lessons.
Nearly five years ago, I co-founded an Oxfam Youth Action Group at my school. We’re a student led group, doing a range of campaigning, fundraising and awareness raising activities for Oxfam. Through the group, I’ve had the opportunity to engage actively with the political process, for example talking to my MP, visiting the Foreign Office and even meeting David Cameron at 10 Downing Street.
Our most recent campaign has been about climate change. Perhaps my favourite thing about the group is our desire to do things just a little bit differently. So instead of just talking to people about the issue, we set about making a house from Lego. We then did a stunt, which involved flooding the Lego house to show the impacts of climate change. Hopefully, we caught people’s attention and engaged those who might not otherwise have been interested, and we certainly had a lot of fun along the way! Other highlights have included a staff ‘Strictly Come Dancing’, taking over an assembly kitted out in hi-vis jackets and hard hats to raise awareness of land grabs, and collecting and displaying 500 customised paper plates to campaign against world hunger.
It can be easy to feel, as a young person, that no one is really interested in what we have to say, but right from the beginning this group felt different. Our teacher seemed to genuinely believe that we could really make a difference if only we put our minds to it, and there is no more empowering feeling. I’m always blown away when I enter a meeting by how much energy and enthusiasm there is in the room, and in this sort of environment creativity and belief amongst students of all ages come to the fore.
I first set foot in Murray Edwards in September 2013. I felt that it would be helpful to attend an open day as early as possible, and in all honesty I picked the college that had theirs at a convenient time, without really giving it much thought. Happily, this college turned out to be Murray Edwards! I fell in love with the place right away – it just felt like a very happy, energetic and positive environment in which to live and study. I feel incredibly privileged to hold an offer from Murray Edwards, and can’t imagine a more perfect place to continue to pursue my academic and wider interests.