Campus News

Bethel students heading to Oxford

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In the land of tea, royals, and “Doctor Who,” there lies a university with astounding prestige. The school has produced many of the world’s brilliant minds, including the literary pair: C.S. Lewis and J.R.R. Tolkien.  Now, the University of Oxford is about to welcome a new duo (possibly trio) into their midst. Bethel juniors Christopher Scott and Ryan Bollier applied early to attend the school for a semester and have already been accepted. “I applied in February of 2013,” said Scott, a Miami native and Philosophy major. Scott encountered Philosophy at age 16, around the same time when he converted to Christianity. “Theology has always been essential to my faith, and philosophy ties in well with that,” he said. Scott heard of the opportunity to go to Oxford from a friend who went during her junior year to study English. After that, he did some random searching on the internet in order to find the Scholars’ Semester in Oxford group, a Christian organization that takes students on a semester long journey of rigorous study and travel. The university, which used to be rooted in Christianity, is now a secular school, but that does not bother Scott. “I can’t wait for it,” said Scott. “My faith from the beginning has thrived in the face of opposition.” One thing Scott is nervous about is the Oxford Tutorials, where he will meet one on one with a scholar in his designated field. “My greatest joy and my greatest fear are the Oxford Tutorials,” he said. “They are very directed by your own interest. He or she (the scholar) rips to you shreds and shatters your ego. I’ve already heard horror stories, but that’s what makes you better.” Scott and Bollier have already started study meetings every Friday to prepare for the academic challenges ahead, but they are not the only ones preparing for the trip. Junior Thomas McPhail, who chose to apply at a later deadline, still awaits his acceptance. “I was drawn to study at Oxford by many things: the academic rigor and history of the school, the beauty of both the city and university, and the community--especially, within the parameters of the program I would be studying through” said McPhail of what initially drew him to apply. As for the application itself, the process was apparently rather normal. “The application process was not that bad,” he said. “It didn't differ much from typical applications. The application essay provided a fun challenge: the task was to write a "meta-essay" of sorts. Knowing the selectivity of the program gives some unrest.” McPhail plans to study Theology at Oxford, and he is excited to study at the same school as many of his favorite intellectuals. “It's hard to say who my favorite Oxford graduate is,” said McPhail. “There are so many brilliant minds that come from those halls. The first to come to my mind are C.S. Lewis, John and Charles Wesley, and N.T. Wright.” Scott, Bollier and McPhail all have a lot of work ahead of them. Oxford promises to present a challenge academically, while being in a foreign country will produce difficulties of other varieties. Even so, the students seem ready for the great trials and successes that lie ahead.  
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