Si Hughes

Anthropology

Si Hughes

After my A-levels I was unsure of what I wanted to do with my life, but a chance encounter with the work of Richard Dawkins helped me decide that I wanted to study human origins. It was only after a tour of Brookes that I realised I could combine Anthropology with Human Biology, using my science qualifications

Si Hughes, studying Anthropology and Human Biology, is due to graduate in 2009. Unsure of what to study following his A-levels, Si was inspired by a book by Richard Dawkins. A Brookes Open Day made him realise that he could integrate biology and anthropology in a joint degree and tailor his studies to suit his interests.

After my A-levels I was unsure of what I wanted to do with my life, but a chance encounter with the work of Richard Dawkins helped me decide that I wanted to study human origins. It was only after a tour of Brookes that I realised I could combine Anthropology with Human Biology, using my science qualifications.

The course is incredibly diverse, and the Brookes teaching staff have encouraged me to work within all subdisciplines of anthropology: social, archaeology, primatology and evolutionary. I truly have been able to tailor my degree to my interests.

When I found an area I wanted to investigate which didn’t fit a specific module I was able to undertake my own research, funded by a grant from the URSS (Undergraduate Research Studies Scheme). The grant allowed me to travel to Borneo to study a species of orang-utan, research that is vital to this animal’s survival. As a result I’m hoping to get some experience in a relevant field before going on to further study. There may be little money in it, but the monkeys need us!

When I first arrived at Brookes I was fairly shy, and my essays were unfocussed. I’ve learnt valuable writing techniques as well as independent research skills, and have gained in confidence. The planning necessary to propose and write a dissertation has been a vital experience, especially if I choose to go on to do a Masters.

Oxford is a lovely city; Headington is very close to Oxford city centre and Cowley Road’s student life. The architecture is beautiful, and there are plenty of activities for the time aside from essays. Oxford feels like home now; people are friendly and I feel comfortable walking around the streets in the evening.

Uni is more than just a degree; the fees alone would be worth it for the friends and moments I’ve shared. My friends and flatmates have supported my degree more than they will know, even if they don’t know what a cave man or ape is!