8 Things Oxford Taught Me (Lessons That Will Apply Everywhere!)

By Avani Bansal

1. Do Your Homework!

There is a lot to do – a lot of classes and events to attend! You can make the most of any of them only if you do your homework in advance. This would mean knowing the topic being discussed, its nuances, bigger debates on it and policy gaps amongst others. Think critically about these issues. Also read about the speaker in advance to appreciate his/her perspective better.

There are far too many events happening on a given day. And you can make the most of them only by prioritising, reading in advance and going into it knowing exactly what to expect (ofcourse they are not always fulfilled!). But being prepared is the key.

2. Take the Leap

There is so much to observe, learn and take-in that you could practically take all the time in the world and still not be done.

Do yourself a favour. Take the leap! There is much to be in awe of – but getting into action is important. Your stay might be over before you blink! And time waits for no one.

When you look back at your journey, you don’t want to have any regrets.

3. Everyone’s not Fooling — Read!

We often live and die in our own little wells. But it is essential to pause and realise that the boundaries of our school, college, home or city is not where the world ends. It is important to realise that there is a world out there and that there are people who do the same thing that you are interested in. Beyond a certain point – the whole world will become your reference point and then you really need to know the stuff that you claim to know. So being the smartest in your well wouldn’t suffice. No matter how good you are already – keep sharpening your axe!

oxford lessons avani bansal

4. Develop your own style!

The world is full of individuals – who have an identity of their own. Often the best of us go through an identity crisis. It is important to know who you are, and strengthen that sense of individuality. Your style defines not just what you wear but also who you are. Don’t be lost in the crowd – find your own voice, your own style.

5. Whatever you are afraid of — Throw yourself into It!

We all have comfort zones! But it’s time to get out of it. No pain is equal to no gain. There is much to fear, one life and so much to learn and experience. Make mistakes, make them early! But never let fear hold you back. For it’s not every day that opportunities come knocking anyway.

6. Take the First Step!

Ever entered a room full of people, expecting to be treated nicely (like a queen/king) and realising no one really cares? Everyone’s really interested in themselves! This is so important that I will repeat – Everyone’s Really Interested In Themselves. So don’t let your ego play tricks on you. It’s okay to be the one who takes the first step (even when sometimes the other person does not reciprocate!).

In taking the first step, you will never lose. You will either win a friend or know that you will never be friends with that one!

7. It’s OK not to know — Keep Learning

Sometimes it’s so difficult to accept that we do not know or that we do not understand something. Being at the best places with the best of people may give rise to self-doubt. But we need to realise both our and other peoples’ limitations and ‘human-ness’. We can’t know it all but as long as we are willing to learn – nothing is rocket-science (even rocket-science!).

Knowing that we do not understand is the first step towards learning. Never be ashamed to admit that, nor lack in courage to ask. But most importantly be forever willing to seek, to understand and to learn.

8. Nobody is there to teach

It’s the biggest truth I discovered. No one is out there to teach you – you need to learn yourself! Institutions at best can provide an ideal environment for you to learn but the learning has to be done by you. Growing up, we may be spoon-fed by our parents, friends, relatives, sometimes even teachers. But real learning takes place only when we are ready to learn and realise that the real question is – Am I willing to learn? So it’s not what Oxford can or will teach you but what is that you will learn.

It is ‘you’ who will break or make yourself!

Looking For More Inspiration – check out a collection of poems, quotes and thoughts that changed my life!

Feeling Inspired! Get In Touch! I would love to hear from you about arranging an inspiring talk, working on a project together or just to hear your story.

Avani Bansal- E: [email protected] | [email protected] | M:+91 7745953900

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Comments Till Now

  1. I plan to study at Oxford and the thought is daunting in terms of the scope and the obstacles involved. Your article has eased my tension a bit. I want to aim for this University, and complete a PhD successfully. Thanks for your words of inspiration.

  2. Lex is Rex says:

    Sr. No. 5 has been taught to me by Mumbai local trains……i was afraid initially…now everyday i throw myself into it….:D

  3. Perfect description. Exactly what we often fail to realise and are overwhelmed with the things around us. Thank you for sharing it.

  4. Nilesh Bijlani says:

    Nicely written, Avani.

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