Hello! I'm Katie and I'm from a town near Hull, in East Yorkshire. Before coming to Cambridge, I went to a state secondary school, and then a sixth form college a bit further away from my house. No one in my family had been to university, so although my parents fully supported me it was still quite an abstract concept.
Throughout secondary school, I worked really hard for my exams but never thought seriously about what the next step was. When I moved to sixth form, I was suddenly launched into an environment where everyone was talking about what they were going to do next, attending talks, and planning for their future, whether this be at university or not. I remember the first time I thought seriously about university was when my teacher told me to go to the Oxbridge meeting that was being held that lunch time. I went along and the deputy principle began talking about choosing between Oxford and Cambridge, choosing a subject, planning our application, and having mock interviews. I was baffled. I didn't even know what Oxbridge was. For the next week I researched the two thoroughly and surprisingly, the more I researched, the more Cambridge began to stop being on this untouchable podium and started seeming like a place that I genuinely wanted to be at.
I already vaguely knew that I wanted to study Psychology, so when I saw the Psychological and behavioural sciences course at Cambridge I was set. This is what I wanted to do. Of course I had the same thoughts as everyone else, that I would never get in, but I stuck to the mind-set of the only way I would be disappointed in myself would be if I didn't try my best, so this is exactly what I did.
What I hope to portray above is the fact that the decision to apply to Cambridge doesn't have to be clear-cut. You don't have to have been working towards it for your whole life, and if you try your hardest and utilise your passion then it is just as realistic an aim for you as it is for anyone else. What I also hope to get across is that Cambridge isn't the be all and end all. If I hadn't spotted the perfect course for me then I would have applied elsewhere and been equally as happy - it is about finding what is right for you. I was extremely lucky that although my sixth form college had very few applicants, they did everything that they could to support us through the whole process. There is information and support out there for anyone who wishes to apply, and I would urge anyone to use it.
Coming to Cambridge, and specifically to Emmanuel, is the best thing that has ever happened to me. I have had experiences that were otherwise unimaginable, and I feel that coming from a background of low Oxbridge progression I am able to appreciate this so much more. The environment that we are lucky enough to study in, and the friends that we are lucky enough to meet, are so special to me.
Finally, and most importantly, I would like to say how comfortable and accepted I feel at Cambridge. I have encountered almost no talk of background or schooling, and I have never felt judged. Everyone comes from different backgrounds and that is what is incredible. No background is better or worse; everyone is here because they deserve to be here, and everyone respects this. The biggest challenge for me is developing and learning about my identity in such a new environment, with such long term breaks at home. It is sometimes a struggle to keep things in perspective when going home and when coming back to Cambridge but this is something that is allowing me to understand myself and the people around me so much better.