When I applied to University College London, I was sceptical. I had never imagined myself the kind of person to go to one of the best universities in the world (number 5 in the world in 2015, to be exact, and number 3 in the UK in 2017 after Oxford and Cambridge). My grades from University of Westminster were just enough to meet the entry requirements and my personal statement was as cringeworthy as a drunk uncle at Christmas dinner. But I got in. I remember receiving acceptance letters from not only UCL, which was my first choice, but from King’s College and Queen Mary too – Queen Mary who had rejected me for an undergraduate degree 3 years earlier.
My degree at UCL provided me with more knowledge than I could have imagined. Most notably, it gave me a language which I felt I had previously lacked. Being a feminist advocate for women’s and human rights from Sweden, it can sometimes be difficult to get your point across when your human rights and feminist vocabulary is limited. Concepts such as intersectionality and adaptive preferences are examples of this, and I now use both frequently in debates or discussions to explain concerns I may have or to challenge an opposing argument.
It was not an easy year, neither academically nor personally, and my endurance and sanity were both tested throughout. But I managed to come out of it alive and well, with a well-deserved degree in my hands. I must say I am proud.