Uninspired Oxford

One of the things I was worried about when choosing Oxford was its emphasis on preprofessionalism. It’s no secret that Emory’s sciences are strong or that Goizueta is a great business school, and I’m not surprised that every other student I meet is a pre-med or prebusiness student. What does surprise me, however, is how uninspired everyone is.

I am an idealist. I have dreams of becoming a writer and making some sort of social impact on the world. I am not set on my major, but I know I want to do something that explores human interaction and rights. Yet, every time I tell someone that I am leaning toward an English major, I am met with reactions of, “And what are you going to do with that? Become an English professor?”

First of all, it is interesting that becoming a professor is viewed as a horrible thing (there’s a real irony to that). Secondly, there’s a reason Emory doesn’t allow students to choose a major until the end of their second year. Even if I end up majoring in the STEM field, I will have no problem doing so if it is something that inspires me. And generally the students at Oxford are uninspired.

Many of the pre-med students have no genuine interest in the sciences or helping others and are only focused on the prestige that comes with being a doctor. Similarly, many pre-business students have no ambition for entrepreneurship or any specific direction for their studies. Prenursing, pre-health, and pre-law students are much rarer than the other two groups, so I don’t usually count them as uninspired. Still, the emphasis on pre-professionalism at Oxford puts pressure on every student-- what’s the point of coming to Emory if you don’t take advantage of one of the school’s pre-professional programs?

I expect the uninspired pre-med and pre-business students at every school, but I also expect dreamers— people who want to write, to create films, or to study all over the globe. I want to meet actors who are excited to play their roles, chemists with a passion for experiments, archaeologists who never grew out of liking dinosaurs— people who love what they do and are excited to make an impact. I want to meet future doctors who like medicine because they want to help others, cocky business students who want to get ahead in fortune 500 companies, and crazy mathematicians with a scary knack for logic. I want to meet inspired people who will inspire me. I’m sure they exist at Oxford, but I have not found any of them yet.