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Miriam Balanescu, 19, is a second year English undergraduate from North London.
As a student of Parliament Hill, a state secondary school, she attended an access talk by a Cambridge alumnus that proved to be a pivotal moment in her life. Having previously planned not to apply to University, and to work locally in retail, she was inspired to switch direction and set her sights on a place at Cambridge, changing schools to attend a sixth-form college with more experience with students who wanted to apply to Oxbridge.
Her family circumstances meant that another crucial part of her decision making process was the discovery that an annual bursary support of £3,500 was available to her. For Miriam this has focussed around a growing passion for creative writing and she has relished the chance to develop her skills; discussing and sharing ideas across the College community and writing submissions for magazines and competitions. She is a member of a writing group, has had articles published in the student magazines Notes and Footnotes and is also hoping to develop her creative skills musically by joining the choir and playing her cello in one of the University orchestras. Her future career plans are still being formulated but a recent meeting with a journalist and Churchill alumna at a History and English dinner has opened the door to a possible work experience opportunity that she is planning to pursue.
Describing Churchill as unique because ‘it’s modern and you don’t feel weighed down by any traditions’, she greatly enjoys the College’s diverse community and recalls being made to feel comfortable straight away, something that she puts down to the large number of state-school admissions at the College;
‘you feel a lot more comfortable at Churchill if you come from somewhere like Parliament Hill where there is only one person every four years who goes to Oxbridge.’