Contest

contest.png

Rebecca Horner

Contest

There is huge pressure, from within the University, and from the public, to ‘be’ a certain way. This is manifest in everything from phrases used by students - ‘you’re not doing Cambridge right’- to mainstream newspaper articles about activities which often in the public sphere, are considered normal. Thus, my poem is about the idea of what the Oxbridge student is, the power that comes with it, one I am uncomfortable with, and thus of what people expect of you. More than that, though, it expresses the tension, which can morph almost into an identity crisis, over the instinctive desire to belong, and not wanting to conform to a stereotype. Ultimately, I wanted to express the fact that while there is such an ingrained image and expectation of what the Oxbridge student ‘should be’, everyone wants to be able to forge their own identity. That struggle brings with it many conflicting emotions. Yet we are all, to an extent, constrained by the idea of what we are; it is that tension between personal and public image. The irony is that in a society that is hyper-aware of the fact that image does not always represent reality, public image is expected to.

391