St Thomas' Summer Blogs

Sunday 21st July to Saturday 3rd August

Saturday 27th July 2019

 

In the morning today, our students had their Hero sessions, during which they met with inspirational young professionals from their chosen fields. For our Psychologists, this meant meeting Lotte, who wokrs for a medical research charity, while our Enterprise students met someone from the Bank of England who works on their Brexit strategy!
 
 
Students were given free time in the afternoon, with the options of exploring the city, visiting some of Oxford’s museums, or participating in sports activities. Latifa and Emily enjoyed perusing the Ashmolean Museum and its bookstore, while others played football at the pitch. 
 
Later, students headed to Cornmarket for some dinner at Leon. 
 
 

 
 
This was then followed by a House Night led by Tia and Rayan. The students all participated in an in-house scavenger hunt. Team Silver started off in the lead; however, the determination of the Pink Team led them to find 8 out of the 10 hidden treasures.
 
 
 

 
 
The team was awarded neon slime as a prize, which was then followed by a game led by Mayank of “Hot Slime”, where a group of students tried to throw the slime to one another without dropping it.
 
 

 
 
That’s it from us today. Goodnight #TeamThomas!
 
 

 

 

 

 

Friday 26th July 2019

 

In YDA’s class today they had a guest speaker, Tia Raju, who came in to act out two scenes of a patient with different medical conditions. In both interviews the students were interviewing the patient in order to find out what symptoms and medical issues the patient might have. The students diagnosed the patient with OCD and Mania, with more than half of the students hypothesising the correct condition. In the second interview all students were correct in diagnosing the patient with depression.

Some quotes from the class…

“Do you have something in your head?” – Rayan

“Do you feel like shopping is a way to avoid your feelings?”- Ishani

“Has working made you isolated?” – Latifa

Later YDA students hopped in a taxi to the John Radcliffe Hospital to experience what their future daily tasks would entail. They spoke to patients and interacted with staff, learning about the patients’ conditions and their needs.

 

 

Our Creative Writing students worked on creating a magazine. The theme they elected to work on surrounded International Youth. They decided on this topic because each student in the class came from a different background; therefore, they felt youth and an international element would unite them all and represent their different countries. They then decided on the different aspects to include in the magazine. Maddie started writing a summary of a book she’s writing. Parker worked on writing a story. Emily worked on a Shakespearean insult generator, while Dhi-Yazan worked on creating a fashion spread.

 

 

Computer Science and Enterprise designed a metal credit card that makes money from its subscription fee. Veronika’s team designed an app that designed the ideal date for individuals to go on. Some students worked on the website design, while Enterprise worked on a pitch for potential investors (tutors).

 

In Psychology, students had an overview of their 9 classes, covering topics such as Mood, Intelligence, Personality and Attachment. In their Challenge they were allowed to focus on a topic that they are interested in. Then they were tasked with designing an experiment and testing their hypothesis. Their study focuses on how different personalities respond to stress by designing a questionnaire. They aimed to find the relationship between whether personalities had an effect on stress levels (they had different ranges of stress). They used three colours to indicate stress levels: pink, green and yellow. Pink represented collaborative but reserved. Yellow represented being more social but faces social stress, and green represented someone who values themselves over others and is more controlling. Meanwhile, Heidi, Allison and Yasmine were working together as a group with a study focusing on attachment cells (secure, ambivalent and anxious).

 

 

After lots of hard work students headed to Gourmet Burger Kitchen for dinner, which was then followed by an evening quiz night led by the Activities Coordinators.

 

Thursday 25th July 2019

 

On the fifth day of the summer school students made their way to one of the most distinguished debating societies in the world: the Oxford Union. Here students engaged in two Masterclasses, one focusing on dialogue and the other focusing on debate skills. Students were challenged to engage in discussion surrounding controversial topics, such as whether the death penalty should be enforced and whether schools should be coed.

 

 

 

 

 

 

The following students were tasked with taking on the persona of a Marvel character and justifying why their character deserved to stay on a hot air balloon:

Karam, as Ant-Man, noted that he doesn’t take up much space as he can shrink and fit into small spaces. Due to his lightness and ability to transform into different sizes, he thought it was most fitting that he should remain on the balloon.

 

 

 

 

Emily as Scarlet Witch made a point about having the ability to manipulate chaos magic. Therefore she could prevent the balloon from stopping and save the others.

 

 

She was also a closing speaker and made a point about how parents are gatekeepers of social media and through how individuals are raised, their relationship between their use of media can be unhealthy or healthy.

 

 

Alex as Captain America and Nina as Spiderman were tragically the first ones voted off.

 

 

The top three finalists on the hot air balloon was Emily (Scarlet Witch),  Leo (Iron Man) and Karam (Ant-Man). Scarlet was voted off of the hot air balloon, although kudos to Emily for providing us with the most rational justification as to why she should remain on the hot air balloon. Next, Leo was voted off of the balloon, leaving Ant-Man as the winner and controller of the hot air balloon.

 

 

Debate: Social Media Pros and Cons

Yianni was the opening speaker for the in-class debate and performed so well that he was selected as a candidate to speak in the final Debate.

Leo gave an outstanding argument as to why social media should be banned. He approached the topic through a historical lens, comparing how generations before us did not have different forms of social media and still had a high quality of life.

 

 

We heard a lovely argument by Natalie as to how social media can be instrumental in changing the outcome of events. Her example of the Arab Spring throughout articulated the importance of social media as a tool to fight different government regimes, especially autocracies.

The closing opposition came close to winning; however, opening opposition won the debate.

That’s all from us today! Goodnight, #TeamThomas.

 

 

 

Wednesday 24th July 2019

 

This morning, our Psychology Academy students had a special class featuring a performance by Jenny, where they learned about the importance of mental health. They had an actor portray signs of mania and depression and students were tasked with interviewing the patient in order to guess her condition. In the meantime, students at St Thomas’s spent the morning quietly attending to their assignments and homework. Afterwards, students were treated with a day out at Blenheim Palace, the birthplace and childhood home of Winston Churchill!

 

 

All aboard the coaches! Our students embarked on a journey, exploring over 300 years of history and walking the breathtaking gardens of Blenheim Palace. On arrival students were fascinated by the architecture and were eager to set off exploring the palace.

 

 

The group was given free time to explore their areas of interest, ranging from visiting a butterfly garden to picnicking alongside the lake to exploring the maze and taking in the 18th century Baroque architecture. 

 

Heidi and Allison enjoyed strolling around the Water Terrace, soaking in the sun and enjoying some ice-cream while taking in views of the fountain. After a day out having fun in the sun, the students adjourned to the Westgate to have dinner. They then continued their evening by relaxing in the house and playing some fun card games!

 

 

It’s now 10:30, which means lights out for #TeamThomas ahead of another busy day!

 

 

 

 

Tuesday 23rd July 2019

 

This morning, our Young Lawyers had an assignment where they had to carry out research on famous legal cases such as the Nuremberg Trials. Marina volunteered as a speaker and impressed her fellow students with her clear arguments and attention to detail. Students covered complex issues, such as whether students should be rewarded by scholarships for merit or the state should offer financial incentives for medical care to obese people. Our Young Doctors were writing about a chosen medical condition.

 

 

In the afternoon, students had the pleasure of partaking in a traditional British activity: punting. A punt is a flat-bottomed boat with a square-cut bow, as pictured above, which is designed for use in small rivers. Ioan was a master at punting and led his crew along the waters. Harrison, Marina and Sonia also gave punting a try. In the evening, we walked to Wolfson College to enjoy a BBQ on the college grounds. After feasting, the students enjoyed some sports in the sun.

 

 

Playing Capture the Flag at Uni Parks:

 

In the evening, students attended a Masterclass on happiness, by Oxford University philosopher Michael Plant, and enjoyed a peaceful meditation session before bedtime, ready for another jam-packed day!

 

 

 

Monday 22nd July 2019

 

Monday was an exciting day for #TeamThomas as everyone woke up well-rested and ready to meet their tutors for their first day of class… Our students were all introduced to their subjects before heading into town for a well-deserved lunch and an intense afternoon of activities! The afternoon kicked off with a tour of Oxford led by our Activities Coordinators Carys and Claire. They discovered the main Oxford landmarks – including the Covered Market, the Bodleian Libraries and our team’s colleges, Worcester College and Mansfield College! The latter was a good place to stop for a water break and for Hector and Sami to admire a game of croquet on the lawn!

 

 

Having explored Oxford, all students met at the house to work on the projects set by their tutors: Sean, an International Relations student, prepared a presentation on the Malaysian Prime Minister while psychology students Shereen and Yianni prepared personality questionnaires they later tried out on Karam!

Everyone then headed back out for a scavenger hunt that took the students to some of the landmarks they had previously discovered and at the Sheldonian Theatre where every team got their own graduation photo! We were particularly impressed by Team ‘The 300’ — with Leo, Hector, Ioan, Reem, Nina, Cora, Sarah, Gonçalo and Abdulla — which won with 55 points!

 

 

The day was finally wrapped up with an Italian dinner and ice cream and everyone was able to relax before the next day – tomorrow, students will experiment with one of Oxford’s most unique activities, punting!

 

 

 

 

 

Sunday 21st July 2019

 

#TeamThomas is back for a second group of students as thirty-nine joined the house for the second session of the summer. Students came from all over the world, including Cyprus, the United States, Malaysia or Switzerland, and many other countries! By the time everyone had set up, the house was already full of energy and a few students even settled in the common room for a few card games!

Having unpacked their bags, the students began getting to know one another over refreshments and a tasty barbecue on the roof of Oxford’s very own castle! ….

 

Our students were then formally welcomed by the Scholastica team and got to warm up with icebreaking games. Harrison showed impressive flexibility in a game of human knot and Rayan impressed by being the only winner of the evening in a game of ‘Keeper of the Keys’!

 

However, with many students coming from far away, everyone was keen to get some early sleep and head back to the house for their first evening briefing before finishing unpacking – with an exciting first day of classes and discovering Oxford planned ahead!