Former student studying MSc at University of Oxford

Three of our current students visited the University of Oxford’s Law Faculty and attended All Souls Criminology seminar. They were accompanied by former student from The Henley College, Elspeth Windsor, a Kalisher Trust Scholar at University of Oxford studying MSc Criminology and Criminal Justice. Read more about what she has been doing since leaving 5 years ago.

I am an old lady now. Now aged 23 (shudders), it has been five years since my last day at the Henley College and life has unfolded in ways that I could not have possibly imagined. Much has changed since those days of pushing through a border-line cardiac arrest on the ascent up to Rotherfield and in writing this short piece for the college, I find myself quite overwhelmed with nostalgia. 

As a student who had a difficult time at secondary school, finding out that I had gotten solid enough GCSE results to study for my A levels at the Henley College was an incredibly exciting time. I knew from attending the College’s open evening that this was a place that did things differently. I understood that at Henley, I would be treated like a capable, competent and independently minded ‘adult’- able to get as much out of my studies as I wanted to put in. And this was transformative.

During my time at Henley I studied Law, Politics, English and Sociology A level. I was lucky enough to be taught by the inimitable Shirley and Julian who were (and I’m sure still are), simply phenomenal at fostering the academic potential of students. Likewise, despite ill-health in my second year, the dedicated pastoral support I received from Gini Forrester meant that I was able to cope and sit my final exams without interruption. I secured good but not exceptional A level results and was happily accepted to the University of Southampton (my first choice) to study law. I graduated from the University of Southampton in 2017 with a first class honours degree in law. I am now currently reading for my Masters in Criminology and Criminal Justice at the University of Oxford as a Kalisher Trust Scholar. I am hoping to study for my BPTC from September 2019 and ultimately aspire to practise at the Criminal Bar.

As indicated in my opening statement, Henley feels like a scarily long time ago for me now. I do not think that I could have ever foreseen quite how much my time at Henley would shape my future. I met my best friends at Henley. In fact, I can say quite singularly that I met the best and the kindest people I have ever known during my time there. Sadly, the passage of time and curious unfolding of life has diverged many of our paths, and the tragic passing of one of my dearest friends, who I met on my first day at Henley, has left an unfillable void in all of us who had the immense privilege of knowing her and of sharing our time at Henley with her. This being said, when I think of Henley I cannot help but do so with such fondness because for me, it will always be the place that is symbolic of the time that we all once had together. 

For all of those at Henley now, and for all those with their time at Henley ahead of them, my advice to you would be to work hard but have fun. This time in your life is more precious than you will ever know and it will pass in the blink of an eye. At an age where you will undoubtedly and understandably be in a rush to grow up (much as I was) take a moment to enjoy the freedom and possibility that is synonymous with your time at the Henley College. That you are at Henley now means that in your future you will have the world at your feet, but in the meantime try not to take for granted the underrated bliss of having your friends at your side. 

I would like to send my heartfelt good wishes to Amy, Laura and Grace for their upcoming exams. I have every confidence that such bright and congenial students have both exciting and important career paths ahead of them. I would also very much like to encourage any other Henley students who are interested in a career in Law or Legal Academia, or even just in study at Oxford, to contact me. It is very important that everybody sees Oxford as an option for them, regardless of their background. If you have never considered Oxford as an option for your undergraduate study, I would very much urge you rethink that omission! Please be assured that I am happy to speak with anyone, regardless of your GCSE results, or predicted grades for A level.