Molly McParland is a Graduate Ambassador undertaking an MPhil in Russian and East European Studies at Wadham College. Being at Oxford gives Molly the feeling that she can do anything, something she would love to see available to as many people as possible. Here is her story…
I applied to Oxford due to its reputation for academic excellence -it has exceptional teaching and academic support, and surely one of the most impressive collections of academic resources in the world. As an Area Studies student, specializing in Russia and East Europe, I was particularly drawn to the amount of expertise in this area at Oxford. However, it would be ridiculous to suggest that academia is the only thing that Oxford has to offer to students. I have never seen a university with so many opportunities! From fascinating lectures and debates with some of the foremost experts in the world; to opportunities to get stuck in to all manner of hobbies and interests such as sport, volunteering, writing and art; to the amazing quality of the student body in which I have met some of the most interesting and motivated people – Oxford is a place that is would be impossible not to feel inspired by. There is nothing that you cannot do in Oxford, and you can be assured of finding hundreds of people able and willing to support you. Whether its starting your own business, learning a language, editing a newspaper or running that extra 5k, the support here to learn and grow in every imaginable field is truly second to none.
Having spent several years working with students and children in underprivileged areas of the UK, as well as Russia and the former Soviet region, I have really come to appreciate just how vital access to these incredible opportunities are for people, their families, and even whole communities. For so many, the chance of an Oxford education does not seem realizable, despite their clear ability, and it is incredibly disheartening. On the other hand, the feeling of watching a student who felt they would never be able to apply to Oxford, not only acquire the funds to study but truly excel during their time here is second to none. Studying at Oxford gives you an overwhelming sensation that you can do anything – if you work hard at your chosen field, all of the resources, contacts, advice and support are there to help you succeed. Additionally, the inspiring people – the experts that teach or come to give lectures, as well as the peers that you live and work with – encourage you to keep learning, keep growing, and keep challenging yourself to do your best. I would love to see these opportunities available to as many people as possible.
In the future, I would like to return to the post-Soviet region and work in development and diplomacy – improving lives and fostering sustainable links between countries that can provide invaluable political, economic and cultural exchanges. I am certain that my experience of studying at Oxford, the people I have met here, and the ideas and worlds that I have been exposed to will be invaluable in my future career.