Keep Calm, It's Only A-Level Results!

As A-level results approach I’m sure many of you are trying to cram your days with activities and holidays to distract you from the looming results day. It’s a terrifying time, that envelope has the potential to have a significant impact on your life. I’ve gone through this process twice, once in 2011 and then again in 2015. Though there were slight differences each time.


I had attended Ashlyns sixth form and thoroughly enjoyed my time there. A miracle had occurred and I had been fortunate enough to be offered a place off of the reserve list at Anglia Ruskin University Chelmsford to study BSc Midwifery. On results day, sitting in the car park I was shaking, my mother had spent the last year telling me I would regret my party lifestyle and I was beginning to wonder if she was right, had I studied hard enough?
Due to my place at the university originally being on the reserve list, before becoming official, unlike all of my friends I was unable to tell via UCAS that morning whether or not I had met my conditional offer. So whilst my friends were celebrating, I was biting my nails.
I can remember peeling back the envelope seeing that I had met my offer and running back to the car yelling “I’m going to be a midwife.” After taking several moments to collect myself and calm down I phoned the university to have my place confirmed. After that it was all official, I was part of the September 2011 cohort. Now I may have only completed one year due to becoming incurably ill, but it was the best year of my life.

Learning about the fetal skull


After leaving ARU it took a few years and training in a variety of trades before I decided I wanted to return to university life. Eventually I settled on publishing; having always been an avid reader and writer and it seemed a logical option, one that I am now thrilled to have chosen. University entry grades had climbed dramatically since I had first applied four years ago, so I returned to college to study an A level in Creative Writing.
At the end of my AS year I attended the Oxford Brookes June 2015 open day.  The uni, course, and city captured me. I managed to grab hold of one of the lecturers and explained why I had left my previous uni and my experience in publishing (I am very lucky to have had several freelancing opportunities for magazines such as Cosmopolitan), just like that I had an unconditional offer.
Having an unconditional offer took a huge amount of pressure off of my results, however naturally I still wanted to achieve well for myself. So when results day came around my stress levels were lower the previously but I was far from relaxed despite knowing that no matter the result my place here was secure. It transpired that my grade was fantastic and I had no need to worry.
How could you not fall in love when your have lectures in this building?!

Results day is never going to be stress free, you may do exactly as your school predicted, exceed by miles, or be disappointed. No matter what your results are don’t be afraid to phone your university/college/employer and see if they will still be willing to take you on. This happens far more often than is openly talked about! 

Why I chose Oxford Brookes

For me choosing Brookes came down to a handful of things. The main sell factors for me were knowing the fantastic reputation my course held and success of the open day I attended last summer. The campus definitely delivered a wow factor on arrival, and there was an army of students on hand to point us in the right direction. During the BA Publishing Media course talk, the second years mentioned several times how the cohort is a close knit bunch and has a family feel to it. Whilst this was an appealing thought, at the time I thought they were simply just talking the uni up. Now at the end of my first year at Brookes I would say those same words. My course mates are some of my closest friends, and our cohort is like one loud family.

I could not be happier in my decision to attend Brookes. Not only is it the best university for my course but the support that has been provided over this academic year has been outstanding. I’m rather Dyslexic and have several chronic health conditions, this left me with some concerns about how this would impact my ability to perform on the course. The Disability and Dyslexia team have ensured that I have had an extremely positive experience, I very rarely worry about these issues now.

My tutors have been a great source of support from before I was even here. The first time I met my course leader was at the open day last year, after chatting for a few minutes she asked me why I hadn’t applied yet and made sure I did before I left! They have been people I can go to with questions course related and non-course related. This weekend I signed a preliminary contract with Britain’s Next Bestseller. It’s a new publishing house and operates slightly different to the ones we have studied this year. To ensure my novel gets published I have to achieve 250 preorders in a six-week period. My lecturers have been on hand to talk me through the process, which has been an incredible aid to have available!

Embrace The Sun & Explore

Spring is finally here...honest, just ignore the rain, we had sun the other day and I'm sticking to the fact the summer is round the corner. With that fact it means it's time to stop holing up in student accommodation and explore. Oxford is beautiful a city and there are so many places near to campus worth venturing too.

Joe Perks & Co.

This is a unique little cocktail bar on St Clements Road that I cannot recommend enough. Happy hour run 4:30 till 7, perfect for celebrating your essay hand ins. With candles sitting on the wooden tables and a wide range of music in the background its the perfect way to unwind. Lets be honest, you are now half way to town, you may as well make a night of it and head out.

South Park

Located on Headington Hill it's perfect for anyone studying on John Henry Brookes Campus or living in either Clive Booth or Cheney Halls. Grab a picnic rug, food, and relax in the evening sun.
Picnic in South Park

Varsity Rooftop Bar

Open from Midday onward Varsity club is worth a visit simply for the stunning rooftop view. At night the rooftop is lit up with heaters, fairy lights and you can look out over a star lit Oxford. During the daytime be captured by the sun bouncing off the spires.

Refresher Week

Refreshers Week has finally drawn to a close. After a nonstop week of clubbing and doing more shots than most would care to admit, you can practically see the relief in the eyes of fellow freshers. Many enjoy a good night out, but let's face it we’ve only just recovered from the Christmas & New Year period where any excuse for a drink was readily found; we weren't quite ready for the onslaught that Refreshers provided.

Monday night of Refresher Week

This week has been ideal to getting reabsorbed in to uni life carefree. With no lectures to worry about until the 2nd of February, our days have been free to fill with reconnecting with friends and coursemates, or sleeping off the hangover; whilst the nights have been spent bouncing from club to club. Tuesday night was spent at Varsity, for me this was the highlight of the week, purely for the view from the rooftop.

Whilst Freshers week in September helped you cement friendships back when we were all still rather lost and new to the area. Refreshers has been a great way to dive back into uni.Though I’ll admit I’m looking forward to crawling into my bed at normal hours, and waking up with work to do again.

Driving Home For Christmas...

Where have the last twelve weeks gone? All my assignments have been submitted so I can finally breath without panic and enjoy the holidays. Before you go to university, everyone tells you that living in halls is great; you will meet amazing people, develop a fab social life etc. They are not wrong. Cheney halls has an amazing social atmosphere, and even if you are not a party animal you are bound to meet people that live in or around your halls through society’s and on your course.

Getting ready in Cheney before Freshers Ball

Life in halls at Brookes is pretty great. This is my second time around living in halls and I’m really impressed by the standard Brookes has set. I live in the Postgraduate/mature student block, and I don’t have to worry about a thing. Cheney Student Village is only 5 minutes from JHB, which is great for days when you have slightly overslept as you can still easily make the lecture. The launderette is not even 30 seconds from my front door and there is a common room just round the corner. Though a word of advice for all you prospective students learn how to use a washing machine before you come! So far I’ve taught 6 very embarrassed, very confused freshers.

Packing up my belongings I need for Christmas I can’t help but feel blue at leaving Brookes, even if it is only till the end of January. I love my life here, and I don’t doubt that I will find a reason or two to pop back and visit over the holiday. I have become so used to laughing with my housemates over breakfast at our hangovers and drunken antics, then sharing a bottle of wine over dinner; because you know that’s a cure for the headache!
Have a great Christmas!