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poll: feeling like you got in on a fluke Watch

  • View Poll Results: have you ever felt you got into oxbridge based on a fluke, mistake or a blag?
    hell yes, i'm worried i'll get booted out after my third supervision/tutorial
    26
    41.94%
    sometimes i do wonder
    18
    29.03%
    nah... i'm [insert relevant deity here], i always knew i'd get in
    18
    29.03%

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    I don't think I'll be booted out, but I certainly do think it was a fluke. 2 A*s at GCSE, far-from-perfect AS grades, a suck-up personal statement and wobbly interviews... I'm not sure what they were thinking.
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    definite fluke
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    Someone once said that 3 As (at A-level) aren't worth the paper they're written on unless you have the confidence to go with them...and also that your 3 As don't feel as good as everyone elses 3 As. That kind sums up my position. I feel like I blagged my way through A-levels and into uni (I don't go to Ox-bridge, but the same principle applies) and I don't feel like I belong at all. I blame this for my lack of work - I don't really see the point in studying because I feel as though I can't pass anyway. And then somehow, by some miracle, I manage to get top marks. So I guess it's about state of mind rather than your actual capabilities. I do wish I had more confidence though.
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    (Original post by LizB)
    It was very generic feedback to be honest. It was sent to my form tutor but he let me read it. Thats horrible that your tutorial partner said that and even if it were true (which I'm sure it's definitely not!) no one should ever say something like that to someone else. My first reaction would have been to tell them to take a long walk off a short plank to be honest.

    Besides that you've always been lovely to us applicants, you were our cheerleader during the process. :hugs:
    I was too shocked to say anything at the time. Really, all I should have done was to do what you would have said and tell him to take a long walk off a short plank and he probs would have apologised right then. He did admit he was wrong and he apologised months later, when I finally did confront him. I think he's deep down just a bit insecure, coz his AS grades weren't great and he took a gap year to make sure he could apply with AAA at A2 and that lower AS grades wouldn't stop him getting a place. Whereas I know they were willing to take me with lower grades, he didn't/doesn't have that certainty, if you get what I mean

    :hugs:
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    You know something that highlights how irrational it is to think that you got in by fluke is the fact that when positive signs contradict this, you still find a way to carry on thinking it! I just think its a natural paranoia that all students with a modicum of humility will experience to some degree.
    I had a lurking feeling throughout that it was fluke. Ironically this is partly because of one of the very things which suggests that it couldn't be fluke. i.e. that I look awful on paper. Clearly they must have had good reason to take me despite poor performance, but the poor performance is the precise thing which ingrains the irrational uncertainty. The feeling carried on right through the first two years. It was worst during first year, until I got my 2.1. That year Peterhouse announced they were dropping SPS. I went to the Admissions Secretary and asked why they weren't continuing it, and she said the only reason they'd even taken any in for my year was because we totally wowed them at interview and made them change their minds. Still the background paranoia lurked until I got my first last month, and even then after the shock wore off I found myself thinking of all the ways in which the first must have been a mistake :rolleyes:
    So yeh - the key is just to remember that most people are insecure and this sort of paranoia is a direct outcome of that, not a reflection of reality!

    Another point is that the wow-factor is to blame here. People think 'omg I can't possibly be good enough for Oxbridge :eek: :eek: :eek:' Yes - you must have outperformed alot of bright candidates, but at the end of the day, Cambridge and Oxford are just Universities! You don't have to have mutant ninja powers to complete a course. You need to be psychologically willing to work hard and withstand pressure, but that's not really particularly relevant to intelligence or academic capacity. So it really shouldn't be that hard to accept that you made it, and that this isn't really that big a deal.

    Two other important points to bear in mind are the following:
    1: The application cycle is quite a lottery. So many factors are involved that there isn't any way to judge who "the right" applicants really are. A selection of innumerable bests are going to get through, but there must be hundreds who got in when better students were rejected (better by some small unimportant degree) and nobody will ever be the wiser.
    2: There's this notion people have that because they were selected and given the opportunity to study at Oxford or Cambridge they then have to excel in order to 'earn' there place. As said above, its just a University course! The tricky bit was getting in. That's done. That was the big hurdle. After you're in, what you do and how well you do it is your own prerogative. A college can put pressure on you, but unless you get a third, you're genuinely at liberty to put in what you want to get out what you want. You're paying for the degree after all - nobody should care about the competitive interests of colleges (unless this overlaps with their own values and concerns) So yeh, once you get over the notion of needing to 'earn' your place somehow, then again its not really such a big deal.

    Finally - for you personally - if ever there's a course to get admitted to by fluke, its PPS! There are some subjects where lack of capability is going to really be a problem (sucking at maths in NatSci for instance) If you turned out to be poor at PPS you would be able to overcome that and squeeze out a 2.1 by working very diligently. Most of the work is not intellectually difficult, its just very abundant. Ok I accept that perhaps its subjective that I don't think its hard, but I would be surprised at anybody getting a 2.2 for reasons of intellectual inability. I think only people with personal, psychological, health, motivational issues aren't getting 2.1s in it. It must be about 80% that get 2.1s.

    (Original post by nexttime)
    :eek: woah, bad times. The warden said, after discussing my general failure, that i would fit in well at another university. I thought THAT was *****y...
    I love how you guys get to have a 'Warden' All we get is a boring old Master :shifty: I'm from your sister college by the way :five:
    (Original post by Popa Dom)
    Having said that I find the whole idea of feeling you're not good enough to be there quite strange. Its only Oxbridge, I imagine most people who apply would be perfectly capable of doing OK on the course, those who get chosen are just the ones who happen to do best in the admissions procedure, which I always feel is more about how good you are at thinking on your feet, which although a useful skill isnt really all that necessary for writing essays/doing problem sheets/ sitting exam papers.
    This
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    (Original post by fumblewomble)
    By the end of all this, they really know who you are academically.
    Each year they have these 'Interviewing Training Seminar' signs up in Peterhouse, presumably attended by all the staff who interview. I've been really tempted to sneak in and place my dictaphone on a windowsill :p:

    The whole interviewing process is completely mystifying. I really can't imagine how they can get that much information out of peoples' performance! Particularly in arts.
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    (Original post by Craghyrax)
    I love how you guys get to have a 'Warden' All we get is a boring old Master :shifty: I'm from your sister college by the way :five:
    :five: yours was one of my favorite colleges in Cambridge actually. The only contact i know of is when some of the girl rowers stayed here once - they were a bit boring :sadnod: (no offense if that was actually you btw :p: ).

    (Original post by Craghyrax)
    The whole interviewing process is completely mystifying. I really can't imagine how they can get that much information out of peoples' performance! Particularly in arts.
    Really? Do you not think that often you can tell a lot about a person by the way they speak, even in normal conversation? I can imagine them being able to tell a lot tbh. Certainly better than the abomination that is the PS anyway!
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    (Original post by nexttime)
    :five: yours was one of my favorite colleges in Cambridge actually. The only contact i know of is when some of the girl rowers stayed here once - they were a bit boring :sadnod: (no offense if that was actually you btw :p: ).
    Heh, don't worry I'm not a boatie. I am a workaholic, though, so probably more boring than they were.
    (Original post by nexttime)
    Really? Do you not think that often you can tell a lot about a person by the way they speak, even in normal conversation? I can imagine them being able to tell a lot tbh. Certainly better than the abomination that is the PS anyway!
    Well its unquestionably better than limited admissions procedures elsewhere, to be sure. I still think it must be quite difficult. I guess if I had any experience of conducting them I'd change my view :p:
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    (Original post by Craghyrax)
    Well its unquestionably better than limited admissions procedures elsewhere, to be sure. I still think it must be quite difficult. I guess if I had any experience of conducting them I'd change my view :p:
    I conduct them in my sixth year :yes: (if i'm still there obv). I'd even get a say in who gets in and who doesn't :eek: .

    Boaties are interesting huh? Ever tried speaking to one??? Every other word is 'catch', 'M2', 'coxbox', ... :p:
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    (Original post by nexttime)
    I conduct them in my sixth year :yes: (if i'm still there obv). I'd even get a say in who gets in and who doesn't :eek: .
    Wow, that's quite cool. Will you be tutoring too?
    (Original post by nexttime)
    Boaties are interesting huh? Ever tried speaking to one??? Every other word is 'catch', 'M2', 'coxbox', ... :p:
    Lol, yeh I've made the mistake of sitting next to clumps of boaties at hall many a time :rolleyes: We give them their own thread in the Cambridge forum :p: I just assumed you might be one because you'd met them.
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    (Original post by Craghyrax)
    Wow, that's quite cool. Will you be tutoring too?
    The PHD students do that sometimes, but not clinical medics no. I'd be a little intimidated trying to teach a year group like ours it must be said! Even the actual tutors complain about the quick-fire questions about receptors and whatnot that they've not even heard of.

    (Original post by Craghyrax)
    Lol, yeh I've made the mistake of sitting next to clumps of boaties at hall many a time :rolleyes: We give them their own thread in the Cambridge forum :p: I just assumed you might be one because you'd met them.
    Oh, i don't claim to be innocent of the traits i describe :ninja: . My house next year has ten rowers in :yes: . Can you imagine anything more tortuous for the five non-rowers (or 'infidels' as we call them)?
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    (Original post by nexttime)
    The PHD students do that sometimes, but not clinical medics no. I'd be a little intimidated trying to teach a year group like ours it must be said! Even the actual tutors complain about the quick-fire questions about receptors and whatnot that they've not even heard of.
    Hah. Smart-arses. Suppose it is Merton after all...
    (Original post by nexttime)
    Oh, i don't claim to be innocent of the traits i describe :ninja: . My house next year has ten rowers in :yes: . Can you imagine anything more tortuous for the five non-rowers (or 'infidels' as we call them)?
    Poor things. Well we go all out at Peterhouse, in that almost all the boaties in my year are also medics, so if they're not talking about rowing at hall, they're going into detail about anatomy :pinch:
 
 
 
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