Edwards' Summer BlogsSunday 7th July to Saturday 20th July
Thursday 18th July 2019
On the last Thursday our psychology students met their hero Emily, an Oxford graduate in experimental psychology who worked as a research assistant at Oxford Centre for anxiety disorders and trauma and now is undertaking her doctorate, training to be a clinical psychologist.
In the afternoon everyone attended the Social impact conference masterclass featuring an inspiring talk by Charlie Blair who runs a social enterprise. She spoke about her love of dance and how she decided to pursue her dream of studying dance rather than following what was expected of her and studying psychology. She worked hard to gain experience in the arts industry and in 2018 she launched her own company, The Blair Academy. She provided dance therapy for pensioners through hip hop music and expanded this to combat loneliness in all areas – new mothers, students during exam times, people with disabilities, and people facing homelessness.
The talent show in the evening was a success with many Edwards acts – Camila started it off with singing ‘location’, a dazzling performance by Manya and Tanishka recreating that magical Bollywood moment from the OSA Ball. Theruni and Francesca recited a poem by the former from her very own collection of published poems and last but not least, the ‘bois’, performed a song as a group.
There really is no shortage of talent at Edwards!
We ended the night with some private performances, Manya sang beautifully, Perrine played the flute and Camila performed a song she wrote in honour of her time at scholastica and the people she has met, bringing everyone to tears. Last but not least Theruni, Perrine, Ayano, Lieselot and Anastasia enjoyed the last of their ritual of chocolate spread toast before bed – surely one of the hardest goodbyes.
Wednesday 17th July 2019
On Thursday we went on the last trip to beautiful Windsor where the students had a lovely time touring the town and seeing the changing of the guard. Whilst the Chapel where Prince Harry and Meghan got married was closed, the students still enjoyed visiting the state rooms and wandering around the Castle’s grounds.
Once back at Edwards, the house gave their all for the last house night with a mini Olympic series. Champions include Nareg for wrestling, Sultan for long jump, Francesca for Triple jump and Clara for the dance off!
We then celebrated Ana Julia’s birthday with cake and balloons. It made us realise how strong the bonds between Edwards’ students became in just two short weeks.
Tuesday 16th July 2019
Edwards students attended a class about dealing with failure. Everyone got involved in the class, discussing people from Van Gogh (with Lieselot providing facts about his life) to Beethoven to Stephen Hawking (Nareg and Emilia provided information about his life and how he communicated), who all dealt with hardship and failure, and how we believed their art and work would not be the same without their experiences. Success and failure cannot be separated. We then shared our own experiences of failure and how they became valuable. Ana Julia spoke about how she originally struggled with physics but this motivated her to work harder to get to where she was. Maria Luiza shared that she joined a new school and this allowed her to be more confident in herself and who she was as a person to make new friends.
In the evening we had the most fun house night, listening to music, sharing stories, playing twister and avidly making each other friendship bracelets. Some of us, frustrated at lack of skill in braiding just put on a face mask and relaxed instead.
Monday 15th July 2019
The students enjoyed an informative and inspirational masterclass on applying to UK universities led by Simran. They learned about all stages of the process including choosing the right course, applying to Oxbridge, and how to write a stand out personal statement. A summer spent with OSA engaging with a range of courses from Creative Writing to Medicine, is an invaluable and unique learning experience for the students – great preparation for further learning at University level!
Edwards then enjoyed a very lively and dramatic production of Shakespeare’s Macbeth at the Oxford castle tonight, featuring spells, blood and battles. Malcolm, Prince of Cumberland even dedicated an entire speech to Manya in the audience! It was especially amazing to see some of our multi-talented tutors in the cast.
We ended the evening with cake celebrating Shixuan’s birthday!
Sunday 14th July 2019
We started the day slowly to give our students a break by going to have brunch in Corpus Christi College. In the afternoon students played sports and visited museums, with Steven’s team taking the win at basketball. Ana Julia, Emilia and Dilay featured in match highlights in rugby, football and rounders especially Emilia’s great fielding skills in rounders!
In the evening we had a Ball on a river cruise along the Thames starting from Folly bridge, a good bonding experience with all other houses present too and everyone dressed up for the occasion. Team Edwards brought life to the party by including everyone in true OSA style and dancing like nobody was watching. Vinayak, Manya and Tanishka took over the dancefloor with a beautiful traditional choreography when Mundian to Back Ke by Punjabi MC came on – we were all in awe and cheering, all other houses along with us.
Saturday 13th July 2019
Today our students met their heroes, those that are leading the lives that they aspire to lead.
Students studying Debate and International Relations had a Hero session with Sam, Analyst/Economist at the Bank of England in their EU Withdrawal Unit. He spoke to the students about his previous policy experience when running to be an MP and discussed what makes a good speech. The students then worked in teams representing different continents, making trade deals with each other in order to make meals out of different ingredients. There were many conflicts between the continents over carrots due to a world shortage, but ultimately Francesca’s team, representing the Americas, won (possibly helped by their monopoly on potatoes). George shared with Enterprise students what makes a good leader as a manager, focusing specifically on emotional intelligence, which is particularly important given the growing use of AI in business. Karen, doing her PhD in Mathematics at Cambridge university discussed how useful programming is in careers and job applications.
Our engineers met Kat, an astronomer who worked in Canada and helps at pro bono science projects. The Psychology course met Emily who, with a degree from Oxford is now undertaking her doctorate training to be a clinical psychologist having worked as a research assistant at Oxford Centre for Anxiety Disorders and Trauma. Our Medicine enthusiasts met Khaled who is a paediatric surgeon with experience in Egypt and the UK!
We then headed to Iffley pitches for some sports in the park and then headed back for a night of games in the house. The after 8s started melting in the girls’ faces but they still preserved even though it was proving challenging. The boys group got a record of over 200 Cheerios on their plate in 2 mins obliterating the competition as the other teams only got 172 and 179 (impressive feats in themselves). Emmy despite being the shortest ate both her and a friend’s doughnuts in record time which was fun to watch. She ate both doughnuts in one go and described herself like a chihuahua.
It was an incredibly inspiring day and a good way to end a week full of knowledge to retain!
Friday 12th July 2019
At today’s challenges the courses interacted to extend the application of their studies beyond the classroom to other fields as well!
Tumi, Amir and Tanishka designed a website to compare prices of designer clothes being sold second-hand from various sites. Tumi and Amir were doing the coding for the website and Tanishka was co-CEO.
Marcelo, Anastasia, Steven, Yiqing, Lieselot and Jeronimo designed a website to compare reviews of film, television and music.
The Young Doctors Academy, Medicine preparation and Discover medicine students had a great day interacting with real-life patients at the John Radcliffe hospital. They learned about and were able to diagnose a variety of illnesses including schizophrenia, cancer and depression.
The students ended the evening with a relaxed film night in the common room and sharing their experiences from the challenges.
Thursday 11th July 2019
Today we had an exciting debating challenge championship at no less than the historic Oxford Union Society which has seen the most prominent presidents, politicians and popular culture leaders debate – Barack Obama and Kanye West are recent guests!
Team Edwards was thrilled with the new style of debating they were introduced to by tutor Ivo: British Parliamentary Style debating! Tumi captivated his group with his story telling in the warm up activity, with the story taking many twists and turns! In the next activity of ‘Agree and Disagree’, Emilia provoked a fascinating discussion with her thoughts on the value and benefits of eating meat. In the same activity, Camila was in the difficult position of defending torture, however she managed to turn the question on its head in a rather humane fashion! In the ‘Hot Air Balloon Debates, the students were thrilled to take on the role of their favourite Marvel characters, with Tumi really excelling in his role as the Black Panther, winning over the crowd with some compelling arguments! Emilia was a one man show against the fierce competition of the boys as she argued the negative effects of social media on mental health, and things got very heated as discussion carried all the way back to the house! Team Edwards had official representation in the final round of the debating challenge as Camila made us all proud with an excellent performance to cap off such a great day!
Wednesday 10th July 2019
On Wednesday we went on our very first trip! In the afternoon we took a coach with the other houses to Blenheim palace in the Cotswolds, the residence of the Duchy of Marlborough and birthplace of Sir Winston Churchill. We got audioguides and toured the beautiful palace and surrounding gardens. Boitumelo in particular had the best time exploring and experiencing the most British of days out.
When back in Oxford we had dinner in Westgate and then back at Edwards and had a very fun House Night. Our AC Carys led a quiz with many rounds including current events, international fun facts, British trivia and a final round where the students had to face off in reenacting a film scene of their choice. Amir, Sultan, Marcelo, Steven and Nareg recreated the Lion King and took the prize as they lifted Jeronimo like Simba. Other students went for a more classical recreation of Macbeth. The prize was a cake, but the students decided to share it with everyone in true Scholastica spirit! Having seen how talented they are we can only look forward even more to Oxford’s Got Talent!
Tuesday 9th July 2019
The first Tuesday of the summer school started with the courses now in full swing and everyone getting the hang of their classes.
In the afternoon, we discovered that Team Edwards has some pro punters! Nareg took the lead and punted his boat the furthest out of any of the teams, moving them at super speeds by punting some of the way by standing at the front of the boat rather than the back! During their trip up the River Cherwell they also met some very friendly ducks named Billie and Jacob by Amir, Sultan and Ana Julia. However, their trip back was rather less peaceful as they clashed with Team Lampl’s punts who had some questionable techniques of punting across the river! With the team working together to stop all the punts hitting each other, we made it back to land safely. Other Edwards punts weren’t so lucky, with Emilia returning with weeds and muddy water on her face (!), and Aqba having to rescue her boat a few times using both the pole and the paddle!
Keen to continue the fun, Edwards joined Lampl in the park for some free time. Francesca, Jeronimo and Anastasia joined Lampl in a game of football, whilst the rest of Edwards joined in a game of ultimate frisbee. AC Holly later hosted a game of Werewolf, where we identified 2/3 of the Werewolves (including Manya!), but tragically we did lose some villagers in the process (Perrine and AC Carys).
We finally ended the day with a delicious BBQ at Wolfson College and a Masterclass on ‘Conquering Happiness’. Starting with a touching personal story, Oxford University philosopher Michael Plant introduced some philosophical theories on what happiness consists of and then asked the students to have a think about what the concept means to them. We reflected on a range of comparisons affecting happiness and Camila asked why it is that our generation finds it hard to be happy. Francesca followed that up by asking what tangible steps we can take to be happier – such as spending less time on social media and being mindful of the use of our time.
Michael finished by recalling what Epicurus believed about friendship: ‘It is not so much our friends’ help that helps us, as the confidence of their help,’ when students asked what we can do for others. Edwards was particularly engaged with the talk, with several of our students asking the speaker some thought-provoking questions, including how his theory may have to be altered to accommodate for religious views.
By the end of the day, it was very clear that at Edwards we already have some strong friendship bonds blossoming!
Monday 8th July 2019
After a Welcome Talk in St Thomas’s, our students met their tutors and got the first taste of their courses at Scholastica, with the medics Perrine and Emilia excited to bring their stethoscopes to the very first class. After their independent study sessions and their exciting classes at the Blavatnik School of Government and at the English Language Centre, the students explored Central Oxford for lunch.
In the early afternoon the students undertook a walking tour of Oxford led by our local Activities Coordinators Francesca and Carys who showed us the colleges they studied in. Once they became Oxford experts their teamwork was put to the test, as they headed off for an Oxford-wide Scavenger Hunt! Francesca’s team (consisting of Vinayak, Anastasia, Emilia, Maria Luiza, Katherine, Steven and Changlei) were the winners with an impressive points score and an extra bonus for Vinayak as the Rad Cam runner!
The students began to familiarise themselves with their surroundings, met their tutors and their fellow classmates so what better way to end such an exciting day than to have ice cream in the common room after dinner.