College.  After school, before university.
About this time last year, I was trying to debate where I wanted to study for some of the most important qualifications I will ever have.  No pressure, right?  Choosing the college environment that best suits you is a big decision, so I did what all my teachers were constantly advising me to do – have a look around different colleges and see what’s out there.
While I went to lots of college open evenings, I knew from the start that I wanted to study A levels and that a Sixth Form College would be best for me as an individual.  Oaklands just seemed like the perfect choice – it was local, everyone I talked to there seemed genuinely enthusiastic and informed and I loved the atmosphere.  I liked the concept of a small community where everyone is treated as their own person and given the support they needed to flourish.
My only quandary was that I was an external student – I wasn’t sure if I could step out of my comfort zone and leave everyone I knew behind.  Oaklands just felt  like the right place for me and halfway through Year 12 I could not be more certian that I made the right decision.  I was worried that I would struggle making friends, everyone was so welcoming and it wasn’t long before I felt like part of the Oaklnds family.  I have a fantastic group of friends who I can’t imagine life without and who I have made many memories with already.
When it came to deciding which courses to choose, I was advised to take subjects that I enjoyed and that I was good at.  I decided on Mathematics, Further Mathematics, Physics and French.  It’s hard work, but no more that I expected it to be, these are A Levels we are talking about after all!  A Levels can be stressful at times, I know exactly who to talk to if I need any extra support.  For example, there are chapter specific support sessions available to Maths students and all my teachers are happy to discuss what I can do to progress further and achieve the grades I am working towards.
There are a plethora of extra curricular activities to choose from to support your subject choices.  For example I am curently involved in an Engineering Project with Portsmouth Aviation to enhance my Maths and Physics knowledge.  Another hobby of mine is writing and I was given the opportunity to help produce the termly Sixth Form Newsletter.  As well as this, I jumped at the chance to join the Concert Band which is yet another fantastic community within Oaklands.  I even decided to take up the challenge of the Gold Duke of Edinburgh’s award.  This is only a small handful of what is available here.
Oaklands also has a phenomenal events committee which organises all kinds of trips and exursions throughout the year.  The most recent event I attended was the Sixth Form Christmas Ball which I throughly enjoyed.  It was an amazing experience shared with my best friends and the perfect way to start the holidays.
So even if you are an external student like I was, if a small, friendly and academic college sounds like the place for you, I would urge you to consider Oaklands Sixth Form.  I genuinely believe that choosing Oaklands was one of the best decisions I have ever made.

                                                        Lucy Taylor 2019 Leaver – now studying Maths at Bristol University