Alexandra Wilson University College Oxford - Young Univ GalleryUniv Dates: 2013-2016

Degree: BA PPE

Degree Level: Undergraduate

Occupation: Pupil barrister at 5 St Andrew’s Hill

Biography: Alexandra Wilson is also a member of Middle Temple Hall Committee and a member of the Criminal Bar Association’s Social Mobility Committee. After Univ, Alexandra studied for her Graduate Diploma in Law and recently completed an LLM BPTC at BPP University. While at Univ, she was JCR Access and Equal Opportunities officer, Chair of the Student Ambassador Scheme and Site Manager and Academic Mentor for the UNIQ Summer School. Alexandra also received the Master’s Scholarship, which enabled her to travel to the United States to conduct some primary research for her undergraduate thesis. She regularly blogs about her experiences.

 

How was your first day at Univ?

My first day was really mixed. Meeting my college “mum” was amazing, she was so friendly and gave me a huge hug within seconds. She is still one of my closest friends today and we are both in the same profession now as well! It was also quite intimidating as I was completely out of my comfort zone – I didn’t know anyone and no-one was from my area, my school or my background. It felt like a huge step in my life!

How do you think Univ helped shape the person you have become?

Univ definitely shaped who I am today. As a recipient of the Master’s Scholarship I was fortunate enough to be able to travel around the United States to conduct research for my undergraduate thesis on the impact that the police shootings in the US were having on young people. I spent a month travelling and researching and it influenced my career choice today, I wanted to make an impact on the criminal justice system.

Do you have a favourite memory from your time at College?

One of my favourite memories from my time in College was celebrating Oxmas in College. A large group of us all cooked a huge Christmas dinner in the kitchens and sat down to eat with Christmas crackers, hats and tinsel. It felt very festive and it was amazing to be celebrating Christmas twice!

What made you decide to pursue Law and be a barrister?

I loved the intellectual challenge at Oxford but also wanted a job where I would feel like I was making a real difference in people’s lives. The Bar offers both of those things, particular at the Criminal and Family Bar, which is most of the work I do. I meet new clients every day and travel around the country. Since being able to represent clients on my own I’ve felt that I am able to impact their lives for the better, even in a small way.

How did it feel to be the first recipient of the Queen’s scholarship at Middle Temple?

I was absolutely delighted to have received the first ever Queen’s scholarship at Middle Temple. When I found out I burst into tears on the phone and couldn’t quite believe it was true. Middle Temple wrote a letter to the Queen to tell her about my achievements and I met Prince William for tea! It’s been very surreal and I am very grateful for the generosity of these scholarships because without them I would not have been able to pursue a career at the Bar. I hope that I can inspire others to apply for these scholarships and consider a career as a barrister.

What inspires you to get involved with access projects?

I went to a state comprehensive school until I was 16 and then moved to a grammar school for sixth form. Throughout my schooling I was discouraged from applying to Oxford and told that it wasn’t for “people like me.” Access work is vital in challenging stereotypes that form this misconceptions and I want to be a part of encouraging other students to realise that there are no limits on what they can achieve! I enjoyed visiting schools and hosting schools in my access roles at Univ and more widely at Oxford and continue to take part in access initiatives at the Bar. My blog encourages people from underrepresented backgrounds to consider applying to Oxford and to pursue a career at the Bar, as well as giving them an insight into my experiences.

I am delighted to see the growth in access projects, particularly at Univ. I support them wholeheartedly and look forward to staying involved.

What do you think the importance of the Young Univ Gallery project is?

The Young Univ Gallery is important for current and prospective students to see where they could be in years to come. It is inspiring and motivating to see someone who is only a few steps ahead of you succeed in your ideal profession. The Gallery also creates a sense of community amongst young OMs and is a great resource for keeping up to date with people’s lives.

How do you feel about celebrating 40 years of women at Univ?

Although it has only been 40 years, when I was here, I can’t say I ever saw a gender imbalance. I was here when we were celebrating 35 years of women at Univ, which feels weird because those five years has flown by! Equally, it is such a huge milestone and I think it is important that it is recognised.

 

Alexandra Wilson University College Oxford - Young Univ Gallery