I’m glad I didn’t go to Oxbridge

It’ll get you a good job, but it won’t make you a good human

“So”, the monobrowed banking executive croaks from across the interview table: “I see you went to Oxford and obtained Gold D of E.”

You awkwardly shuffle in your chair as the holder of your CV and all your hopes and dreams furrows his brow: “Who am I kidding – you got a bloody first in Classics. Welcome aboard!”


This is the scene that pushy parents, hopeful teachers and schools desperate for success stories will construct in your mind.

Oxbridge, they say, is the educational Eden and will get you a golden ticket to whichever job and whichever life you want. It’s the place you should aim for above all else and will provide you with the finest university experience possible.

Oh, how wrong they are. I’m glad I didn’t go to Oxbridge, and I’m not afraid to say it.

The workload sounds horrendous

“Work, work, work, work, work” – Is this a Rihanna quote or the personal mantra of an Oxbridge student? While stressful homework every night may feel like a memory of the distant past for most, Oxford and Cambridge students are forced to endure the nightmare for three more years.

With some arts students facing an essay every week on top of their normal studies, it is no wonder that many students reportedly do their last minute work during pre-drinks.

Does this sound like fun to you?

Tom 1

Stress, stress and more stress

As a result of their heinous lecturers setting them more work than is healthy for a person of such a delicate age, stress is king at Oxbridge.

It is no wonder that depression, anxiety and other mental health issues are so common in an institution that seems to care little for their students’ general mood and stress levels.

While most Russell Group university students face ups and downs throughout term, Oxbridge students go through something they call “the fifth week blues” when, as one student put it, “you essentially just feel shit about yourself 24/7.”

A good club, a rare sight at Oxbridge.

A good club, a rare sight at Oxbridge.

University is supposed to be about more things than academic pursuit

Although many students I know at the University of Bristol perceive uni as an excuse to smoke pot in a dingy room and listen to Kendrick Lamar for three years, the golden path is very different to both this and the Oxbridge student’s stress overload.

Trying not to sound too pretentious, University is a unique time in your life when one should be discovering things about oneself, finding new hobbies, and forming important social connections.

Think of it as a finishing school for your personality.

How are you going to throw yourself into musical pursuits, delve into poetry and writing, set up the society of your dreams, get a skill based job in that fancy cocktail bar, and develop yourself politically all while having a social life if you’re trapped in the library writing about dead Greek scholars every waking moment?

Oxbridge will teach you how to work in high intensity employment, but it won’t teach you how to be a successful human being.

An average Bristol night: Partying with Azeem Ward, flautist extraordinaire.

An average Bristol night: partying with Azeem Ward, flautist extraordinaire.

The location is boring and insular

Oxbridge exists in its own little geographic and social bubble where not much happens and contact with the outside world is limited. The two unis are placed in the inordinately dull middle ground of England, too far from London to be exciting and too far from any beaches or borders to be worth travelling away from.

This sleepy hollow of a region is both sleepy and hollow to the core. Students have reported to have “gotten lost in the Oxford bubble” and “completely lost any perspective of the world outside of Cambridge.”

Oxbridge Map Picture

You can get a fantastic degree from so many other places

Your parents and teachers lied to you. You don’t need that Oxbridge degree to get where you want to go. Although it might make it that little bit easier to get on that intern training ladder at Deutsche Bank, is it really worth three years of soul-destroying boredom?

Why choose to go through a system that will spew you out as another generic graduate with another generic Oxbridge degree?

Why settle for being a hollow husk of a student when you can earn great results from another Russell Group university and develop yourself into a valuable member of society?

Choose happiness. Choose freedom. Choose anything but Oxbridge.