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News: Ion­a’s on her way to The Uni­ver­si­ty of Oxford

Please note: This news story may contain information that is no longer current or up to date.
Iona during a visit to Oxford
Iona during a visit to Oxford

Iona, 19, studied her A Levels at our High Pavement Sixth Form. Achieving two A*s in Geography and Environmental Studies, and an A grade in History secured her a place at the prestigious University of Oxford to study Geography. We spoke to her shortly after receiving the good news and on how she’s feeling about her big move to Oxford.

How did you feel when you received your results?

I actu­al­ly felt kind of stunned when I found out I had got­ten the grades to get into Oxford, so it did­n’t real­ly sink in until lat­er but I was very hap­py and relieved! I already had my A* in Envi­ron­men­tal Stud­ies A Lev­el from last year but I still need­ed two As to get my place so I was very ner­vous. I suf­fered with real­ly bad exam anx­i­ety this year, so I was espe­cial­ly ner­vous. I knew I had been very stressed, upset and under-per­formed in some of my papers, so I was wor­ried I would­n’t get the grades I needed. 

Not only did you get your place at one of the top uni­ver­si­ties in the coun­try, but you were also the high­est per­former in OCR’s A Lev­el Geog­ra­phy. How does that feel?

I still can’t believe this is true; it seems so crazy! It was such a nice sur­prise and made me feel even hap­pi­er with my results! 

Your par­ents must be so proud. How did they react when they heard the news?

My par­ents have been very sup­port­ive through­out my exams and I think they were just as hap­py and excit­ed as I was, after col­lect­ing my results we went on a fam­i­ly day trip to Oxford to cel­e­brate which was a real­ly nice way to explore more of the city where I will be living. 

High Pavement Sixth Form

Are you excit­ed about start­ing your course at Oxford?

Yes, I am very excit­ed to take my stud­ies to a high­er lev­el and real­ly get to dis­cov­er more of the broad spec­trum of Geog­ra­phy. I’m par­tic­u­lar­ly excit­ed to learn direct­ly from researchers and experts in the field of geog­ra­phy who make up the teach­ing staff. Also I’m just excit­ed to expe­ri­ence uni­ver­si­ty life at such an amaz­ing place! 

Have you always aspired to study at Oxford?

No, actu­al­ly I had not real­ly con­sid­ered it as an actu­al pos­si­bil­i­ty until Kevin (my Geog­ra­phy teacher) sug­gest­ed it at a par­ents’ evening in first year. I still was­n’t sure as I thought it was unlike­ly that I would get in, plus I was­n’t entire­ly sure if Oxford would be the right place for me as I was wor­ried about it being snobby. 

How­ev­er, I decid­ed to go to an open day and found it real­ly friend­ly and a great aca­d­e­m­ic envi­ron­ment and quick­ly fell in love with the place, so I decid­ed it would be worth a shot at applying. 

Luck­i­ly I man­aged to get an offer after the inter­views — which weren’t as scary as peo­ple say! — so I would advise any­one to con­sid­er going on an open day there, even if you find the idea of Oxford as daunt­ing as I did. 

If you do decide to apply I would advise def­i­nite­ly doing thor­ough research into the dif­fer­ent col­leges as they all have dif­fer­ent atmos­pheres. My col­lege, St Anne’s, is a more mod­ern col­lege, which feels a lot more relaxed and inclu­sive than some of the more tra­di­tion­al col­leges and that attract­ed me to it. 

What is it about geog­ra­phy that you love?

I love the way geog­ra­phy is such an inter­dis­ci­pli­nary and wide-reach­ing sub­ject. I find the diver­si­ty of con­tent fas­ci­nat­ing from human geog­ra­phy like place mak­ing to phys­i­cal geog­ra­phy such as plate tec­ton­ics, but what I love most is the way the two spheres inter­act as human and phys­i­cal fac­tors which are inter­con­nect­ed. For exam­ple, vol­canic activ­i­ty is a key deter­min­ing fac­tor in the eco­nom­ics and place iden­ti­ty of a region such as Ice­land, which bases its tourism indus­try on tec­ton­ic activity. 

What did you enjoy about your time at High Pavement?

The teach­ers at High Pave­ment were so help­ful, par­tic­u­lar­ly my His­to­ry teacher Mar­tin Vick­ers. With­out him mark­ing all of my extra essays I gave him, I know I would not have done as well in the exam. I also had help from Zoe (the College’s UCAS coor­di­na­tor for A Lev­el stu­dents) with edit­ing my per­son­al state­ment to make it more suit­able for an Oxford application. 

What is your dream career?

My dream career would be in the envi­ron­ment and con­ser­va­tion sec­tor, I am part of a Wildlife Trust youth group and I would love to work for a sim­i­lar organ­i­sa­tion in the future. My geog­ra­phy degree will help towards this as there are mod­ules on bio­geog­ra­phy and con­ser­va­tion. Then, I may either do a more spe­cialised Mas­ters Degree or go straight into a career, depend­ing on opportunities. 

Published on:
  • 19th September 2019 (1:14 PM)
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