Alumna: Riya Jindal
Before starting university, my perception of reading Law at Oxford was clouded by terrifying myths. I had heard that I would not be served food if I wasn’t wearing matching black socks with the appropriate, academic attire, and even worse, that people at Oxford would lock themselves in closets for hours on end just to cope with their work. After completing my second year reading law, delightfully, none of that proved true. Although the level of work is undeniable, these last two years have taught me an indescribable amount, and more importantly, have helped me grow as a person tremendously.
Looking back, the one quality that Oxford has ingrained in me is the ability to think and form opinions. It sounds quite trivial, as people assume learning about material and thinking about it is virtually the same exercise. For me, Oxford teaches you to engage with highly complex, and broad materials while understanding its depth and breadth. After piecing the all the information together, you have to take a step back and examine the result- figuring out what you actually think about it. At first, I found this extremely intimidating. Who was I to judge the product of great minds and centuries of case law? What did I know about the Land Registration system, or the principles of constructive trusts, to call their merits into question? Oxford taught me to move past that, understand different areas of the law, while also compelling me to recognize and form my personal ties with it. What fascinated me about Oxford was the fact that world-renowned academics, and scholars shaping the law today, were interested in hearing my opinion about material. The captivating facet of the tutorial system is being able to present and defend your ideas and opinions to fantastic minds.
It is an indisputable fact that Law at Oxford is intellectually stimulating, however, it is also extremely challenging. I started my degree naively, under the impression that having a term of only eight weeks was just too short. At the end of two years, I’m pretty sure I have Red Bull running through my veins. From pouring over books on Roman Law, to laying in bed with my laptop on my face, I initially tried every possible way to translate the words in front of me to ideas in my head. However, the amount of work doesn’t change, but your ability to cope with it does. The simple process of trial and error helped me figure out the method that worked for me. You aren’t expected to have all the answers and ask all the right questions, but you figure it out along the way.
Being an international student, Oxford for me always symbolized a mystical, medieval Hogwarts-esque picture. Luckily in the time I’ve spent here, this idea was only reinforced. Even after two years, at times, just walking around the city, I feel like I’m living in a postcard.