Name: Sam Gibbs
Where are you from: Surrey
Best thing about Merton?
Being a small college means Merton has a really strong community feel and this is especially true of Merton lawyers. The college law society (Halsbury Society) is very active and provides a great way of getting to know the lawyers in all the years.
Best thing about your course?
Law is a subject that is always changing. While it can be really frustrating when you’re told in a lecture that this may not be the law in a week’s time it is also really exciting – not many other subjects have such rapid developments that affect how we live our lives.
Best thing about Oxford?
The teaching at Oxford is second to none. Not only are we taught in tiny tutorial groups of just two students but we get a whole hour to discuss what we’ve found interesting or particularly challenging that week with a world-leading academic – often the same person that has written our textbook!
What new opportunities have you had?
I have had so many new opportunities at Oxford that I could never had imagined. From playing inter-college water polo to being this year’s JCR Male Welfare Rep and President of the Halsbury Society there is so much to do, regardless of what you enjoy!
What’s the work like?
I’d be lying if I said the work wasn’t challenging – not only do we have to read the primary materials (i.e. cases) but we also have to embrace and attempt to understand the incredibly complex views that academics have on the topics during any given week. That being said, the work is incredibly exciting and I really enjoy the challenges every single week – it means that the work is never ever boring.
How do you cope with the workload?
To be honest, coping with the workload during the first term of my first year was tough but by the end of Michaelmas (first term) I had just about got the hang of it! This meant that even though we had exams in Hilary (second term), I was more relaxed and had more time to enjoy myself as I had worked out how to approach my reading lists and work more effectively. Downtime is also important and I make sure to meet up with friends most evenings.
Favourite place to eat?
Hall is definitely my favourite place to eat. I eat in hall twice a day (lunch and dinner). For just over £3, lunch is practically an all-you-can-eat buffet where you can go to not only fill yourself up but chat with friends and have a great time together.
What do you do in the holidays?
While I do have some work to do during the holidays I make sure that I spend a lot of time relaxing and catching-up with friends from home. I also try to go travelling and earn a bit of money.