“In Conversation With”: Alumnae offer great advice to students

“In Conversation With”: Alumnae offer great advice to students

4 February 2021

We enjoyed the first of our “In Conversation With” sessions this week, in which alumnae undergraduates and postgraduate students are interviewed (remotely at the moment) by a member of staff about their chosen subject, course and university life.

First up was former Head Girl Taisie (2019) who talked with Head of Science Mrs Baldwin about life at Durham University and her anthropology course, on Tuesday 2 February. Taisie explained what anthropology is about and its appeal to her. Taisie shared her enthusiasm for Durham University and its collegiate system, helpfully also suggesting why it might not be the ideal university for some. She reassured any of our current Upper Sixth feeling daunted about the change from school to university that she had felt just the same but had adjusted well. She attributed this to having been encouraged to step out of her comfort zone during her time at Woldingham. When asked by Mrs Baldwin what advice she would give to her Lower Sixth self, Taisie recommended starting research into universities, courses and entry requirements early, saying “It may be tedious but it’s important.” She also advised looking at university reading lists or asking teachers for recommended reading for university courses under consideration and chipping away at chapters, or listening to podcasts, in the summer between Lower and Upper Sixth. Taisie added that doing an EPQ was very useful preparation for university life.

In the second session, Head of History of Art Mr Cullen talked to Charlotte (2017), who is doing a History of Art Masters at The Courtauld Institute of Art, where she also studied as an undergraduate. Charlotte has loved her time at The Courtauld and has very much enjoyed studying in London, which, she said, offers fantastic resources for students of art and art history, including opportunities to meet artists themselves. Like Taisie, Charlotte recommended students read around their chosen subject as much as possible, and she also told everyone, whether planning to study art or not, to make the most of Woldingham’s “amazing Art department”. Her final piece of advice for students at this difficult time, which everyone, herself included, is finding stressful: “Keep reading, get excited about things and go easy on yourself.”

Both talks were a wonderful opportunity for students to get fresh advice – and the benefit of hindsight - from people who understand exactly the position they're in. The talks are recorded for parents who would like to listen to them, or for students who were not able to join live. Contact Mrs Chambers for the links.