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Why I sent Oxford a rejection letter
A little over a month ago, I sent Oxford a rejection email that parodied the thousands that they send each year. Much to my surprise, it has become a bit of an Internet hit, and has provoked reactions of both horror and amusement.
In my letter I wrote: "I have now considered your establishment as a place to read Law (Jurisprudence). I very much regret to inform you that I will be withdrawing my application. I realize you may be disappointed by this decision, but you were in competition with many fantastic universities and following your interview, I am afraid you do not quite meet the standard of the universities I will be considering."
I sent the email after returning from my interview at Magdalen College, Oxford, to prove to a couple of my friends that Oxbridge did not need to be held in awe. One of them subsequently shared it on Facebook because he found it funny.
I certainly did not expect the email to spread as far as it has. Varying between offers of TV interviews and hundreds of enthusiastic Facebook messages, it has certainly been far-reaching. Many of my friends and undoubtedly many strangers were unable to comprehend that I'd sent such an email to this bastion of prestige and privilege. Why was I not afraid of damaging my future prospects as a lawyer? Didn't I think this might hurt my chances with other universities?
For me, such questions paint a picture of a very cynical society. I do not want to study law because I want to be rich, or wear an uncomfortable wig and cloak. Perhaps optimistically, I want to study law because I am interested in justice.
To me, withdrawing my application to an institution that is a symbol of unfairness in both our education and the legal system (which is so dominated by Oxbridge graduates) makes perfect sense, and I am reluctant to be part of a system so heavily dominated by such a narrow group of self-selecting elites.
So, why did I apply in the first place? If you're achieving high grades at A-level (or equivalent), you can feel quite a lot of pressure to "prove yourself" by getting an Oxbridge offer. Coupled with the fact that I grew up on benefits in council estates throughout Bristol – not a type of heritage often associated with an Oxbridge interview – I decided to give it a try.
It was only at the interview that I started to question what exactly I was trying to prove. I was well aware that fantastic candidates are often turned down, and I did not believe that this was a true reflection of their academic potential.
Although I share concern that not going to Oxbridge gives you a "chip on your shoulder", I did not write to Oxford to avoid the risk of being labeled as an "Oxbridge reject": I already am one. Last year I made an (admittedly weak) application to Cambridge and was inevitably rejected post-interview.
A year ago, I was in awe of the beautiful buildings of Oxbridge, but today I am in awe of the sheer number of people who, like me, have managed to not take it so seriously. Ultimately, I am not harming Oxford by laughing at it, and it is an amazing feeling to realize that so many people are enjoying my email. Actually, I was amazed to know how many people of different ages bothered to read it and even to leave their comments about it in Facebook. I had fun reading some of them, too.
The author accuses society of cynicism because …
people supported Oxbridge.
lawyers do their job for high incomes.
universities are very selective.
people seem to be more worried about reputations.
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Judging by paragraph 7, the author comes from a family which is …
not very rich.
The author believes that the selection to Oxbridge …
reveals candidates’ abilities.
is hard to understand
The expression “chip on your shoulder” in paragraph 9 means …
record of achievements.
reflection of one’s potential.
feelings of unfair treatment.
“It” in ‘have managed to not take it so seriously’ in the last paragraph refers to …
Установите соответствие между заголовками 1–8 и текстами A–G. Занесите свои ответы в таблицу. Используйте каждую цифрутолько один раз. В задании один заголовок лишний.
Music from every corner of the world
From pig to pork
Perfect time for a picnic
From a holiday to a sport
Famous religious celebrations
See them fly
Animal races and shows
Diving into history
Diwali is a five-day festival that is celebrated in October or November, depending on the cycle of the moon. It represents the start of the Hindu New Year and honors the victory of good over evil, and brightness over darkness. It also marks the start of winter. Diwali is actually celebrated in honor of Lord Rama and his wife Sita. One of the best places to experience Diwali is in the "pink city" of Jaipur, in Rajasthan. Each year there’s a competition for the best decorated and most brilliantly lit up market that attracts visitors from all over India.
The Blossom Kite Festival, previously named the Smithsonian Kite Festival, is an annual event that is traditionally a part of the festivities at the National Cherry Blossom Festival on the National Mall in Washington, DC. Kite enthusiasts show off their stunt skills and compete for awards in over 36 categories including aerodynamics and beauty. The Kite Festival is one of the most popular annual events in Washington, DC and features kite fliers from across the U.S. and the world.
The annual Ostrich Festival has been recognized as one of the "Top 10 Unique Festivals in the United States" with its lanky ostriches, multiple entertainment bands and many special gift and food vendors. It is truly a unique festival, and suitable for the entire family. The Festival usually holds Ostrich Races, an Exotic Zoo, Pig Races, a Sea Lion Show, a Hot Rod Show, Amateur Boxing and a Thrill Circus.
Iceland's Viking Festival takes place in mid-June every year and lasts 6 days, no matter what the weather in Iceland may be. It's one of the most popular annual events in Iceland where you can see Viking-style costumes, musical instruments, jewelry and crafts at the Viking Village. Visitors at the Viking Festival see sword fighting by professional Vikings and demonstrations of marksmanship with bows and muscle power. They can listen to Viking songs and lectures at the festival, or grab a bite at the Viking Restaurant nearby.
Dragon Boat Festival is one of the major holidays in Chinese culture. This summer festival was originally a time to ward off bad spirits, but now it is a celebration of the life of Qu Yuan, who was a Chinese poet of ancient period. Dragon boat festival has been an important holiday for centuries for Chinese culture, but in recent years dragon boat racing has become an international sport.
The Mangalica Festival is held in early February at Vajdahunyad Castle in Budapest. It offers the opportunity to experience Hungarian food, music, and other aspects of Hungarian culture. The festival is named for a furry pig indigenous to the region of Hungary and the Balkans. A mangalica is a breed of pig recognizable by its curly hair and known for its fatty flesh. Sausage, cheese and other dishes made with pork can be sampled at the festival.
Hanami is an important Japanese custom and is held all over Japan in spring. Hanami literally means "viewing flowers", but now it is a cherry blossom viewing. The origin of hanami dates back to more than one thousand years ago when aristocrats enjoyed looking at beautiful cherry blossoms and wrote poems. Nowadays, people in Japan have fun viewing cherry blossoms, drinking and eating. People bring home-cooked meals, do BBQ, or buy take-out food for hanami.
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America’s fun place on America’s main street
If any city were considered a part of every citizen in the United States, it would be Washington, DC. To many, the Old Post Office Pavilion servesA __________. If you are in the area, be a part of it all by visiting us – or B __________. Doing so will keep you aware of the latest musical events, great happenings and international dining, to say the least.
Originally built in 1899, the Old Post Office Pavilion embodied the modern spirit С __________. Today, our architecture and spirit of innovation continues to evolve and thrive. And, thanks to forward-thinking people, you can now stroll through the Old Post Office Pavilion and experience bothD __________ with international food, eclectic shopping and musical events. All designed to entertain lunch, mid-day and after work audiences all week long.
A highlight of the Old Post Office Pavilion is its 315-foot Clock Tower. Offering a breath-taking view of the city, National Park Service Rangers give free Clock Tower tours every day! Individuals and large tour groups are all welcome. The Old Post Office Clock Tower also proudly houses the official United States Bells of Congress, a gift from England E __________. The Washington Ringing Society sounds the Bells of Congress every Thursday evening and on special occasions.
Visit the Old Post Office Pavilion, right on Pennsylvania Avenue between the White House and the Capitol. It is a great opportunity F __________, this is a landmark not to be missed no matter your age.
by joining our e-community
that are offered to the visitors
its glamorous past and fun-filled present
that was sweeping the country
to learn more about American history
as a landmark reminder of wonderful experiences
celebrating the end of the Revolutionary War
Meat eaters – you are daredevils or dumb. Or both.
I am a vegetarian as well as my parents and all my family members. I’ve been a vegetarian for as long as I can remember. There have been times during my years of vegetarianism when I've wondered if I may indeed grow out of it. I've wondered if there might come a day when I'll put aside my childish aversion to the thought of dead stuff travelling through my intestines, like a corpse on a raft ride.
However, it could never happen, and not because I'm so enlightened, sensitive or any of the other euphemisms for "whining hippie" usually dumped on vegetarians. My conversion to flesh-eating couldn't happen because, frankly, I'm not stupid enough. As in, I can read.
Analysis of more than 6,000 pancreatic cancer cases published in the British Journal of Cancer says that eating just 50g of processed meat a day (one sausage or a couple of slices of bacon) raises the likelihood of pancreatic cancer by a fifth. 100g a day (the equivalent of a medium burger) raises it by 38%, 150g by 57%. Men are worst hit, as they tend to eat the most processed meat. And while pancreatic cancer is not the most common of cancers, it's frequently diagnosed late, with four-fifths of sufferers dying within a year of diagnosis.
It should be pointed out that this is about processed meat. However, many past studies have stated a probable link between too much meat and all manner of cancers and heart problems, as well as links to other conditions, from diabetes and high blood pressure to obesity and Alzheimer's.
If, by now, you're thinking that I'm out to shock you, then you couldn't be more wrong. I'd be shocked if any of this was considered new enough to shock anyone. This information has popped up regularly for years in all forms of popular media – newspapers and numerous TV and radio programs, to say nothing of the Internet. Indeed, in this era of info overload, if you've never come across the "burgers and kebabs are unhealthy" revelation, one would have to presume you've been lying in a coma.
Sympathy is in short supply these days. You can't move for people being blamed for their own miserable situations: smokers who "burden" the NHS; alcoholics who don't "deserve" liver transplants; obese people who "should" pay more for flights. By this logic, people who've been regularly informed of the dangers of meat, particularly the cheap processed variety, but who continue to wolf it down should be held just as accountable.
Yet if these meat eaters are mentioned at all, it's in general poor lifestyle terms, as an afterthought to drinking, smoking, and lack of exercise. You just don't get people making emotional pronouncements about bacon lovers not deserving cancer treatment or kebab fans burdening the NHS.
It's not as if they haven't been warned countless times about the dangers – how willfully ill-informed can people be? Or maybe they're just hard. In fact, when I say I'm not dumb enough to eat meat, I should probably add brave enough. With so much frightening information, so readily available for so long, the modern committed carnivore must have nerves of steel. And yet, we should admit it, meat eaters still predominate and even grow in number. Must all of them be deaf and blind, and immune to a general sense of self-safety?
Speaking about her vegetarianism, the author admits that …
it was provoked by the sight of corpses.
there were times when she thought she might abandon it.
it is the result of her childhood experiences.
she became a vegetarian out of fashion.
According to the author, how much of processed meat a day is enough to raise the chance of pancreatic cancer by more than a half?
Less than 50 g.
From 150 g.
“This” in paragraph 4 stands for …