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Mia McCarthy

Degree:

Diploma in Strategy and Innovation

Location:

Australia

Industry:

Food production

Year:

2015

By Mia McCarthy

The final chapter: Oxford 2015

As I opened the acceptance letter late 2014, I knew 2015 was going to be full on. I was committing to running a full time business in Australia and studying at Oxford. However, I was ready for the challenge and excited to see what would unfold over the coming year, as this year is starting to draw to a close I have not been left disappointed. I remember first arriving at the Oxford train station like it was only yesterday; extremely nervous about the journey I was about to embark upon. Coming into a post-graduate business course with no previous academic business study the nerves started to creep in. My mind was put at ease after the first session of lectures. Here we were a cohort of 60 odd men and women from around the globe from all from different backgrounds and careers, yet we were united at the DipSI group of 2015.

In the first few days we were introduced to the Oxford way of academia. A far cry from the university life I was used to back home in Australia. Examinations were to be formal attire, formal dinners, river punting, Colleges and about a 20 different log-in passwords, at times I felt a long way from home. As the months rolled on and sessions increased I found myself falling in love with the town of Oxford, not just the university rather the whole environment. The architecture, streetscape, local pubs, you definitely get a sense that you are participating in something much larger. An institution that has been around for 900 odd years with many students before you treading the streets in their sub fusc and mortar board and many more after you to walk the same path.

Splitting my time between Sydney and Oxford has not been easy, I sometimes felt like I had made my home on the airport runway as another flight came in, another transfer lounge another baggage collection. Although I relished in the opportunity to experience a snapshot of life abroad. The days on campus were long, usually starting with a 4am wake-up phone call as I would scramble half asleep to catch up on the working day in Australia and 8 am I would leave to class and would be there until 5 to 6 pm at night. Each night, the group would come together for dinners and socializing, then to do it all again the following day. The sessions would fly by, a mixture of interesting and thought provoking conversations (often led by the class) would have to be reigned in by the tutor trying to bring us back to topic, although this is where I did my greatest learning. Learning from my peers, their experiences outside of academic life.

I am forever thankful to my team, family and friends who would go for long stretches of time trying to work the varying time zones whilst I was in class and picking up the pieces back home.

As I sit here writing this, I have only an essay and dissertation left of my course at Oxford. I am eternally grateful that I took the plunge into the unknown. I have made classmates I can call friends and developed a sense of belonging in Oxford, London and the UK. I am excited about walking nostalgically back through the hallowed halls remembering my time as a sleep deprived Oxford student with pride.

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