The motivation to pursue a graduate degree in Oxford is primarily academic. What one
cherishes and remembers can be far more than that. Lincoln College and the Berrow
Foundation Scholarship have provided me with opportunities far beyond my academic
interest. I hope that in reading this, I can excite you about a potentially thrilling, unexpected,
and memorable experience in Oxford.
My DPhil degree in clinical neuroscience started during the pandemic – of course, without
knowing what to expect. While the pandemic brought many restrictions and changes to
ordinary life in Oxford, opportunities still existed. I joined the university tennis and baseball
team, became a fellow at the Global Leadership Initiative and enrolled in a neuroimaging
course. The struggles and frustrations of the first year of my DPhil were apparent, but the
social interactions (mostly over Zoom), sports training, academic opportunities (also
online…), hidden spots in Oxford I discovered and new friendships were the highlights, even
in a pandemic-ridden year. Now imagine the wealth of opportunities in a normal year!
As I write this, things are open, and formals are taking place six days a week at Lincoln.
Beyond college life, there are endless opportunities. The spectrum of interest is beyond
imagination, and I feel like there is something for everybody – regardless of the type of
interest. Although my degree consumes a substantial portion of my day, I try to make the
most out of social and academic events and cherish the spontaneous, unexpected and fruitful
moments Oxford can offer; days you will remember for a lifetime. But importantly, one can’t
do everything. I’ve not rowed, I’ve not been to all the libraries, and I’ve missed many college
dinners and events. In an environment where rest is too often underrated, being ok with
missing out is also an important attitude. Nonetheless, designing your journey, being
proactive, and assessing your priorities are what can make this time in Oxford special.
No two Oxford experiences are the same. Countless unanticipated choices exist which in turn
can design one’s interests, priorities, and ambitions. Many things I cherish now were beyond
what I expected, and I look forward to hearing how each of you designed your own time at
Lincoln College, Oxford - Michaelmas Term 2022
Kengo is a DPhil candidate in Clinical Neuroscience