Everyone else in my family went to Oxford

I’m the ‘dumb’ one

national noad

My parents met while attending Oxford back in the day and my brother is currently there studying English and Spanish. However, I failed to get into Oxbridge, and am at Bristol instead. So what’s it like to so obviously be the stupidest family member?

Firstly Scrabble is my worst enemy. It always ends in an argument over whether foreign words should be allowed just because the z landed on a triple letter score. (I got an 11 once. The excitement set me up for life).


The worst game ever invented

I don’t get to enjoy small talk around the dinner table either. Any situation where the whole family is together is sure to develop into a full-blown debate the likes of which would rival the feistiest episode of Question Time.

I’ve also had to accept that I’ll never be the best at anything. There’s a common assumption that anyone who attends Oxbridge can do anything, and judging by my family that’s absolutely true. Not only are they academic, they’re creative, musical and sporty too.

The only things I can definitively say I’m better at than them are going out too often and spending too much money, which I’m not convinced you can really class as achievements.


All smiles before the conversation carnage starts

Bristol is a great place to study and I know my degree will get me a good job when I graduate, and yet it pales in comparison to the dizzying heights of Oxford, arguably the best university in the UK, if not the world.

Obviously my parents are still proud of me. But it’s hard not to notice how when introducing me to their friends they’re sure to mention Bristol is actually an excellent uni for *insert course name here*, making it acceptable I didn’t get into Oxford like the rest.

It’s not just them either. Once people know where the rest of my family studied, it seems all they ever want to ask is why I’m not there either. The answer? Well, I just wasn’t smart enough, but that’s okay.


Me and the bro out to see some Shakespeare #highculture

Ultimately, my second-hand experience of Oxbridge has been invaluable. Though I’m not sure I’ll ever get over my intellectual inferiority complex, I do know I would never have been happy at Oxford. The pressure cooker of essays, exams and egos would have caused me to explode before prelims had even started.

So I’m glad I ended up at the liberal and lively University of Bristol instead, even if it doesn’t quite have the pizazz of an Oxbridge college. All I need to do now is figure out how to turn my talent for spending money into a career.