It’s December, which reminds me of the time 27 years ago, I did interviews for getting into Oxford and sat waiting to find out if I got in. I wrote this article some time ago and I submitted it to my old college magazine, (but they didn’t publish). It might be worth reading if you do, don’t or did get into Oxford.
I recently met a young woman who had won a place to go to Balliol College to study PPE at a salsa dancing class. To my chagrin, I worked out that she would have been born after I graduated. She asked me what I did and I told her I was a speechwriter. I met her a few times, and I felt moved to offer some advice: “Read the reading list”, I said, “And don’t, whatever you do, get a Third.”
Having given the advice, it bothered me for a while. It forced me to ponder. Had my time at Brasenose College been a success or a failure? Should I be proud of my Third? Or like the Ancient Mariner do I have a duty to warn others?
We now have a pretext to remember our BNC experiences. About teatime in the spring, I get a call from an undergraduate studying my degree asking how I’m getting on. Eager for vocational counsel, these young fundraisers are more formidable than the telesales calls I normally have to brush off working in my home office.