Laila Sirag was one of our students who got into Oxford University last year and is now studying French and Arabic.

We are delighted that she has taken the time to drop us a line about how things are going:

“So far, my first term at University has been a whirlwind: whilst Oxford tends to have shorter terms than other universities, the workload remains the same, meaning that the same amount of work is packed into eight weeks as would be for twelve weeks. Despite the COVID restrictions resulting in no in person classes for me, being taught by experts in my fields (French and Arabic) has been extremely fulfilling, even though the work is intense.

I have fewer contact hours than I would in school, but the remainder of my time is taken up with preparation / homework for the next class. As well, Oxford maintains its unique tutorial system, in which you have a personal meeting with a tutor to discuss your essay work and gain a better understanding of your field. However, as my Arabic work takes up a large chunk of my time, I haven’t had any tutorials yet – I should be doing those next term !

I have Arabic lessons every day, plus about an hour of prep work for each lesson, and about three French classes a week (this term I am exempt from some classes due to clashes with my Arabic schedule). Life is definitely hectic, but also manageable!

Moving away from Lichfield to a larger city was strange, even more so when my entire household came down with COVID and we had to isolate together after barely knowing each other for a week. On the bright side, we’ve now become close friends, and because of the online teaching methods, I was easily able to continue my classes.

Overall, University is challenging, presents immense workloads and homesickness, and the general stress that is to be expected given the circumstances, but it is also extremely rewarding: the wide range of people that you meet, the opportunity to learn more and become better at your subject, and of course, the independence of living in a fantastic new city truly make it worthwhile.”

Carrie Cain, Assistant Headteacher, said: “We were delighted Laila secured her well-deserved place and we were fascinated to learn more about the impact of COVID on university life having seen so much in the news. Laila’s messages about hard work, managing workload, being adaptable and pushing yourself reflect the mantra we push in school and we are delighted Laila’s settled in so well despite the difficult challenges she is facing.”