I unfortunately heard the bad news today; that my application to study Physics at Worcester College was unsuccessful. I should've really predicted this, considering something like ~90% of students do not receive an offer for the course, but it does come with a sting.
I didn't expect to make it this far- when I sat the PAT earlier this year, I thought it was over. It felt much harder than previous years (none of the more common motifs came up) and I truly struggled on that day. Nonetheless, my hopes were reignited when I was invted to interview a month later and especially when I felt I performed well in those interviews.
So, I kind of got my hopes up. It's a really weird scenario because I hadn't even decided what my first choice university would be - Oxford sounds great for prestige + tutorial system, but I have the "gifted kid problem" of being unused to working hard so I thought it might be a very harsh four years! I also applied to Edinburgh, Lancaster, Durham, and Manchester, which are all outstanding universities for Physics (and Astrophysics, which was the speciality I applied for) so I had/have many good options to choose from.
And yet, as we came closer to today, I found myself more and more in the Oxford spirit, and so I am now vaguely considering reapplication next year. Maybe the rejection sucks more than the material idea of not going to Oxford ("tying up self-worth with your Oxbridge application" etc etc) or is it truly that I feel worse-off for missing out on a place at a very historic place? I'm not too sure, my feelings are very muddled today.
In short though, I'm not too keen on taking a full gap year. I really would doubt I'd spend it well, especially with the vestiges of the pandemic still going on, and it seems almost scary and lonely. I've heard of reapplying for Oxford while at a different university, but that also seems somewhat disrespectful and yet again I would miss a year in terms of the time when I would receive my qualification.
Is the undergrad programme (specifically for Physics but honestly in general with the tutorial system too) worth the second try, or should I look at completing my integrated masters at a different university and see if I could go to Oxbridge for postgrad? Should I even try to get in for postgrad, or (looking at DPhils) is the so-called specialness of Oxford not really shown anywhere else but in their undergrad programmes?