Name: Claire Baillie
Subject: Classics IC
Matriculation year: 2010
Why did you choose Oxford/Magdalen?
It’s a fantastic university for Classics, and I loved the idea of being taught by world-class tutors and surrounded by like-minded (and probably cleverer than me!) peers. The course structure works really well for me, and I also liked the college system and the quality of tuition you get from having one-on-one tutorials. More to the point, I live quite close to Cambridge and my mother threatened to ‘just come and visit without warning’…
As for Magdalen, I liked its location (close to everything but not in the city centre), the pretty-old-building thing, the fact that you can have accommodation in college for your whole degree, and the number of facilities which the college has. In addition to that, I came for a visit, took about five steps along the walk around the deer park and just fell in love – and I’ve never regretted it.
What do you like most about Magdalen?
Everything! If I had to pick one, the Classics tutors are just phenomenal and have made my time here amazing. They’re frighteningly intelligent but funny and interesting to talk to and they really care about their students’ progress and concerns. They have supported and inspired me so much.
What is involved in studying your subject?
For the first year or so, the focus is on language classes and on reading for and writing a weekly essay on literature, philosophy or ancient history (depending on the term). After that, you have lots of choice as to what you focus on – I’m doing lots of literature and philosophy, so I spend my days in the Bod reading for my essays or translating and learning literature from the original Greek or Latin.
What’s the one piece of advice you would give an applicant?
APPLY. You will fit in, you will love it, it will be amazing. If you have any doubts at all about any of those, get in touch with one of us – we’re all very evangelical about it simply because we love it so much (despite the occasional essay crisis or sleepless night) and we like answering questions!
What do you like to do when you’re not studying?
Sleeping is quite high on the list! I spend lots of time with friends, often wandering around the various beautiful parts of Oxford, play a bit of various sports (Rounders, of course, being the best), sing in a very casual choir, bake every now and then, try to learn Mandarin, and even read for pleasure occasionally. I’m also addicted to House and Game of Thrones, but I’m not admitting to that… Tutors, if you’re reading this, I translate Tacitus for fun. Obviously.