The End of a Great Beginning

21 June 2013

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Myself, Sophie, and “Peach” or Erin. We matched so perfect, I had to take a picture… These two ladies are incredible examples to me of the power women have in the world. They are go-getters and I have no doubt will make incredible social changes in the world.

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We couldn’t of had a better group at Oxford. There were so many people who made our experience absolutely incredible. Local saints and students, professors, facilitators, etc… The past two weeks could not of been possible without such amazing people. I will miss each and every person dearly and cannot wait until we meet up again in the future as leaders of social innovation. Until then I love you all and wish you well in all you endeavors.

Just as is typical at Oxford, this morning we were examined at the end of our 2 week seminar. Although we did not wear the traditional robes, we did test in the traditional Oxford way of a series of timed essays. Our lecturers have been incredible and I found it refreshing to be able to review all that I had learned during that 3 hour exam period we had today.

Jane and I received permission to sneak off early and meet with admissions about the MBA program at Oxford. We were guided by two fabulous persons who both had incredible backgrounds prior to their work at the Business School. They answered all our questions, told us tips for applying to Oxford, and gave us advice on how what we should be doing to prepare now. Oxford had a student admitted this year who scored an 800 on his GMAT. That is the absolute highest you can score…if only I could do that! The average here is a 690, which is a really competitive score. We were also given great advice on how to conduct our essay when applying to Oxford, as well as how to handle ourselves in the interviews that follow acceptance of the application. All the advice was very very descriptive, which was surprising for a college visit…but after all, this is Oxford.

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King Arthur’s roundtable! Can you believe that this actually still exists? Movies like sword in the stone and sleeping beauty have elements of history from this time and place that I have always found fascinating. I have read several books about King Arthur and his nobility to his people and love the mystery behind the roundtable. Seeing this really made me want to study deeper into King Arthur’s life…

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This is the largest Cathedral in England, quite miraculous.

We were able to go to Winchester and spend the afternoon looking around the quant town full of markets, an old castle that holds Arthur’s roundtable, and the largest cathedral in England. It is neat to be in places where you know your direct lineage lived and breathed. Far back in our genealogy, Alfred the Great pops up. This is through Queen Mary of Scots, the reason we can trace our ancestry back so far. WInchester is also the place where Jane Austin lived. We went by the house where she died, and visited the gravesite in which she was buried. After surrounding myself with such rich history on Jane Austin, I feel obligated to read her great works. Long ago I watched the old pride and prejudice movie, but it has been a long time.

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Kailey posing like “….” I don’t remember whom, but one of the great knights of the roundtable I believe. Can you see the similarities? ūüėČ

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A car covered in grass? This is the ULTIMATE “smart” car.

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Jane Austin’s home where she lived and died. What an incredible woman and writer (one of her great works was Pride and Prejudice).

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Jane Austin’s grave sight right outside of the Winchester Cathedral.

I can’t believe that today is my last day at Oxford. It has been an incredible journey the past few weeks to learn and network in such an extensive way while at the Said Business School. I will never forget the people I met and the things I have learned. I often ask myself how a 20 year old girl from Northern Idaho ever found herself in the tight embrace of Oxford University. How I was directed and brought here is a miracle, and one I will forever be grateful for. I understand why Oxford holds the prestige that it does, and I can honestly say that it deserves it. It has been shaped through the ages as the top educational institute for people around the world. It’s name stands for honor, growth, determination, intellect, distinction, and tradition. Oxford University is something special.

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Our “boat group”, and when I say boat group I mean the original five of our punting excursion on the River Thames. Punting is quite the bonding experience, and I cherish each of the relationships I built with these four incredible people. Throughout the entire program we have had this little connection that was built off of one hour stranded together on a little boat in the middle of the River with only a long stick to move us along. Thank you for that hour because these people are incredible friends!

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Final group huddle in our “boat group”…

Our final banquet dinner was beautiful yet bittersweet. Every person in our group bonded so well and we hate to just leave each other after only a short two weeks together. It is quite remarkable the friendships and bonds you make when you spend such valuable time with others. Oxford not only taught me about the importance of innovation and the skills to be a better leader in the world, it taught me to have a deep love for people. I have always known that I love to meet and interact with people, but until now I don’t think I realized how deep my passion for creating relationships was. I love to listen and learn from people who have experienced things that I haven’t. I love to hear about the culture and traditions in one’s live and see it manifest in their everyday living. Oxford is the most unique community on earth. It is a place where THE MOST INFLUENTIAL people come from all around the world to learn and grow. Of course they learn and grow in their disciplines as well as many other subjects, but the real beauty of their Oxford education is the chance to learn about how the world works through the people who are around them. Can you imagine going to school everyday with the smartest and hardest working people in the world? That is what Oxford feels like. It feels surreal. It is a University unlike any other IN THE WORLD.

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I always want to remember this great man. I want to remember the great conversations we had and the life-changing advice he offered to me. If you ever get a chance look up the biography of John Hoffmire and be prepared to be blown away by not only this man’s success in the business world, but his countless years spent improving the lives of those in poverty. He has dedicated his life to service, and I am thankful for his selfless example of how a life should be lived.

I count my blessings everyday for the opportunity I have had to study and be a part of such a great place. It was one of the hardest things I have ever done to hop into the car that took me away from it. I want to be at Oxford. I want to be here studying what I love with people that I love. Two years is too long to wait for graduate school, it is too long to be away from such an opportunity as Oxford offers. I plan on applying to Oxford’s 1+1 MBA program shortly after I receive my undergraduate degree at BYU. Until then I will be doing everything I can to progress towards the type of leader they want in their program. I desperately hope that when the time comes, they will want me to come back as much as I want to come back. Oxford really is the place where dreams come true.

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Dr. Kerry gave us the sweetest gifts as a final parting gift from Oxford. A book of Kant’s works, including “What is Enlightenment”, and a copy of the Eucharist Evensong recordings for us to listen to as we wish and remember the beauty and importance of Oxford’s traditions. We also received back our written Exams from Dr. Hoffmire…and I passed, woohoo!

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Getting ready for Portugal…it was quite the endeavor to pack up all my belongings. A few of us decided to go out in the town for the evening and it was quite late when we returned home. Packing in the wee hours of the night is not fun, and I ended up only getting a couple hours of sleep. Kailey wasn’t even that lucky, her head did not hit the pillow one time. When we travel tomorrow morning we are going to sleep well…let the good times roll!

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Candids…Sophie and I prepping for a night out in Oxford, maybe some clubbing….or something of that sort ūüėČ

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Haven Barlow tends to get into the “midst” of everything. Somehow he was able to convince someone he needed to be back at Cambridge this year, and so for the second summer in a row he will be studying at Oxford’s sister University… This makes me even more anxious to go, because if people are taking the time to reapply for the second summer in a row, it must be nothing less than amazing…

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