Student Ambassador: Ollie Bowling

Ollie Bowling

Year: 2

Subject: Economics and Management

Where are you from?: Peterborough

Why Merton?

I chose Merton for 3 main reasons, the location, the size and value. Merton is in a great central location, and I can walk to pretty much anywhere I need to be. By size I mean number of people. The number of people isn’t too big that you feel like you don’t know anyone, but it is big enough to meet lots of people in different subjects with different interests. Finally, Merton is great value for both accommodation and food. I’ve really loved the rooms I’ve been able to stay in and think they’re great value for money. On top of this the food is brilliant and at a great value, especially lunch which is a huge meal. 

Best thing about your course?

What I really love about E&M is the opportunity to study in a huge variety of areas. You have the mathematics of economics and the discursive element of management. When you get into second and third year there are different modules which dabble in psychology, sociology, history, statistics and more. Basically, there is a lot of option to study whatever aspect you may be interested in. 

Best thing about the collegiate system?

I find the best thing is getting to meet people outside of your subject group really easily. You might be living with people who study History, Medicine, English or any other subject. The great thing about this is that you get to make friends with loads of different interests. For me as well, the collegiate system lets you try out sports at a much less intense level than playing for the University. I love playing football for Merton because it’s really relaxed atmosphere and I’ve also got to try out loads of other things through inter-college sports. 

What were you worried about before you arrived?

Mostly I was worried about not fitting in. I didn’t think I’d be smart enough, I thought everyone was going to be very different from me and that I wouldn’t belong here. I think maybe the beauty of Oxford is loads of people feel like that when they first come, but quite quickly you realise that it isn’t true, there is always some space available for you. I made friends really quickly in Merton and across other colleges, and there are loads of groups and clubs you can join to meet people you think you might have stuff in common with.

How do you cope with the workload?

Generally, I try to stick to a rough kind of schedule. I do two modules a term, so I try to dedicate three days to each and then have at least one day where I don’t do any academic work. For me, I try to do a morning work session, usually from around half nine/ten-ish to about twelve. Get some lunch and then try to start work again by about two and finish around five or six. Obviously, you can be really flexible with this, so if I want to go to a talk or some other event, I’ll just shift this around. There’s no strict best way of working, it’s just finding something which works best for you. Some people prefer mornings, some evenings but you’ll always have other people to work with if you want, or if you prefer to work alone there are loads of spaces to do that too. 

What do you do when you’re not working?

I like to play a lot of sport, it’s something that I find relaxing. Quite often I’ll use the Merton gym, which is free to all Merton students, or I’ll play football for the college team. Other things will be watching a film in the TV room. As a group of mates, we try to watch a film every week or so in the evenings, just a good way to relax and have a laugh with people. 

Favourite spot to relax?

Christ Church meadow is lovely to walk around and is really nearby to college. My friends will often go to brunch on Sunday and then go for a walk afterwards, which is a really nice way to catch up with people, have a relax, and just clear your head from the week.