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AIBU to want feed back 20 years later?

(49 Posts)
MoonStar07 Thu 18-Aug-16 20:11:37

I went to a State school. I'm a minority. Off my own back and as I was predicted 3 As at A-level I applied to an Oxford university college to do Law. I received no support from my school (it was a new thing to them and I don't think they knew how to support me. Neither did my parents). However somehow I got an interview I went to Oxford and interviewed. I was surrounded (literally every other person) was private or public school
Educated. They told me about their interview training and bless them couldn't belive I was sent with no support from my school. Anyway I duly failed at interview. Apparantly someone told me they knew someone who had got a place to do law when they stood up to the interviewer and said 'you're just going round in circles' so guess what I took on board that 'golden nugget' of advice and did just that. Anyway I didn't get in. Nevertheless my school never gave me my feedback they said it was confidential to them and sometimes j have to accept you just come
Silver! I have always wanted to know my feedback just for closure. I still feel so bad about my interview and wish there was something I could have said. I did get into a redbrick and read Law. All these a-level stories are making it all come back. I think it traumatised me. How do I get closure. AIBU to contact the college who interviewed me and see if they have my info on file almost 20 years on? Unlikely right?!

davos Thu 18-Aug-16 20:15:13

I think it's unlikely they will but it's always worth a try.

I may have misunderstood, but did you say 'your are going round in circles' or similar in the interview.

If so I think it's fairly obvious why you didn't get a place.

iklboo Thu 18-Aug-16 20:15:19

It may be unlikely that they'll still have it. They may have shredded the files under DPA rules by now.

MoonStar07 Thu 18-Aug-16 20:20:18

The question they asked at the time was related to a car and the 'theft of a car' however it was basically that the car was changed step by step so that by the time it was unrecognisable to the car that once 'owned' by you. So every time the car was changed you had to effectively argue the point ownership..things like that. Contract points, equity points, sales points were all thrown in to make each stage and therefore your justification it goes back to the original owner (who you would argue by law still owned it through lots of changes- well that's the route I took). Anyway yes apparantly someone at some point had said and got a place by telling the lecturer 'you're going round in circles' before my interview that 'golden nugget' didn't make sense. Well I was barely 17 when it happened easily influenced and certainly had no training.

Hockeydude Thu 18-Aug-16 20:21:30

I know one similar place that keeps records of everything like this but it isn't an Oxford college. You could always ask but really it would probably be better for you to make your own peace with it. There might not have been a good or tangible reason. The interviewer is just a human being, not a magic supercomputer robot analyser that can magically assess everything about each person and compare to the others. They made a judgement. Mistakes get made. It is in the past though but you do not seem to have put it behind you.

MoonStar07 Thu 18-Aug-16 20:23:27

I haven't. Put it behind me. I think generally I have. I did contact my old school and they said they no longer have any documents apart from my alevel results on file

MoonStar07 Thu 18-Aug-16 20:24:25

But yeah I guess j need to accept I'm not that person anymore and well put it behind me. I think it was more the teacher at school who was so dismissive and would not show me the letter and then went onto say some pretty horrible things!

MoonStar07 Thu 18-Aug-16 20:24:47

Like accept you're silver! Some people are made for Oxbridge you're not their 'sort' etc

davos Thu 18-Aug-16 20:27:02

Well I was barely 17 when it happened easily influenced and certainly had no training.

I totally get that. We all did silly things because we heard of someone that did similar. Especially when we were teens.

However, you admit you weren't prepared for the interview (not your fault but still unprepared) and they likely thought you were unprepared for life there and the course.

Plus you were rude, regardless of the reason. Unless they were desperate for you attend, they wouldn't overlook that.

If this is really traumatising you 20 years later even though you got to study what you wanted, you may need to look at counselling and the reasons this rejection of bothering you so much now.

whateveryousay Thu 18-Aug-16 20:28:33

Maybe the teacher didn't show you the letter as it was pretty damning re the lack of support the school gave you?

Godstopper Thu 18-Aug-16 20:29:17

Highly unlikely records still exist.

But, a lot of unhelpful myth making surrounds Oxford, and it's not suited to everyone (this is a good thing in most cases). I am an Early Career Academic, and dislike its insularity. Beyond BA level, it is not regarded as well as you might think, at least not in terms of a progressive, supportive place to be. It is entirely possible that you had a lucky escape!

tigermoll Thu 18-Aug-16 20:31:07

I'm sorry that you didn't get the support you needed at the time. I can understand that it must have been a stressful experience, although it sounds like you got into a good uni to read a very challenging subject, so you should be proud of yourself.

It seems unusual to still be stressing about feedback so many years later. You say you want closure, but I think you should think harder about why it is still important to you, and what you would do with the feedback once you had it.

Let's just say that the college dug into their archive and found your notes from that long-ago interview. The interviewer (s) won't have kept detailed logs of their thought processes, they will have scribbled a few sentences about whether they thought you could cope with the demands of the course, and whether you seemed motivated to complete it. They won't quote the thing you said or didn't say that made up their minds, they won't go through the questions they asked and the answers you gave, with the ones you got "wrong" circled in red. Even if you find your notes, I don't think it will give you the closure you think it will.

So why are you still feeling "so bad" about an interview twenty years ago? Do you think that your life would have been dramatically better if you'd got into Oxford? Did you have a miserable time at the uni you went to? Or are you dissatisfied with your life, and have decided that this was the defining moment? (It probably wasn't BTW). I think you would get more closure from working out why this is so important to you than you would from trying to track down your notes.

MoonStar07 Thu 18-Aug-16 20:31:42

I don't think I said it in a rude way probably a very silly way

Hrafnkel Thu 18-Aug-16 20:34:14

Be careful what you wish for. I failed to gain an offer at Cambridge. That was bad enough, but with the reflection letter came a grade for how they rated me. THAT was what nearly destroyed me (at the time - and it still upsets me to think what a loser I was/felt).

Hrafnkel Thu 18-Aug-16 20:34:43

I got an E and I'm now 39.

Gabilan Thu 18-Aug-16 20:40:00

Maybe the teacher didn't show you the letter as it was pretty damning re the lack of support the school gave you?

That was my first thought.

OP, whatever you hope to get by getting feedback might not happen. It might throw up more questions. I am state school educated and Oxbridge was suggested to me. I opted not to go as I didn't want the pressure of applying, didn't think I'd get on with people there and thought that there were plenty of other places to study. Ten years later I had my first postdoctoral position at Cambridge and it confirmed for me that I was right.

I didn't realise it when I was 17 but I was depressed. I wouldn't have taken the pressure of the application procedure. And I wouldn't have fitted in - there were some lovely people there but it's an odd place. And I was right - I studied at established red brick universities and got excellent results.

I think you need to find a way to accept what happened without the feedback. If you can't do that, some counselling would be worth a try.

Waltermittythesequel Thu 18-Aug-16 20:43:13

It's very possible they were trying to spare you.

Chances are that instead of it being that golden nugget you keep referencing, it was that you were underprepared and not what they were looking for.

You did well to get to where you got to with little to no support. I think twenty years later is a good time to let it go.

tigermoll Thu 18-Aug-16 20:45:15

with the rejection letter came a grade for how they rated me

Jeez, that's cold. What earthly good did they think that would do? The point of feedback is to help someone do better next time, not to underline how far below the line they fell.

Hrafnkel, I'm sorry Cambridge was so bitchy to you. I honestly think Cambridge is not necessarily a good place to study, and it is too fixated with its own mythos.

Trifleorbust Thu 18-Aug-16 20:45:16

It was always a long shot, OP. I would do my best to let sleeping dogs lie. Even if you did find out why they didn't let you in, what difference would it really make now anyway? You have an adult life to lead and what happened when you were a teenager is done and dusted.

MiriAmmerman Thu 18-Aug-16 20:47:43

The college who interviewed you won't have anything on you OP - those documents are retained for 12 months and then destroyed (I know this for certain). Even if that wasn't the policy 20 years ago, they will definitely have got rid of them in a subsequent data protection purge.
I appreciate that this has traumatised you in some way, but the college won't have any answers for you. There will be no paper record, and even if the Dons who interviewed you are still there possible, but not likely they won't remember anything useful / meaningful about you, your interview or your school background.
Whatever you need to do to get over this, contacting the college will not help.

Olives106 Thu 18-Aug-16 20:49:07

I agree it's best to let it go. I know it can be very hard to do that and also agree you might need some counselling to help you. Why do you still hold on to the desire for this feedback? You might need to understand what the experience represented for you in order to be able to let it go.

MiriAmmerman Thu 18-Aug-16 20:50:39

Also, as PPs have said, Oxbridge isn't all it's cracked up to be and certainly doesn't suit everyone. You can't assume that your life would have been better if you went - you'll never know.

darceybussell Thu 18-Aug-16 20:56:55

I also applied to Oxford and didn't get in. In hindsight they made the right decision. I wasn't bright enough or motivated enough. I would have been at the bottom of the heap, and it would have knocked my confidence. I still went to a great uni and got a great degree, and in the end I got a good job. It might not have been right for you either OP, and I do have some colleagues who did get a place and then found it to be a horrible experience.

I suspect it has had very little impact on your life and actually you might even be better off as a result. Perhaps you can turn this on its head and make it into more of a positive.

MoonStar07 Thu 18-Aug-16 20:57:43

I loved my Redbrick. I made friends for life. I guess I had always succeeded through adversity. I have never thought the teacher did it to protect me. That's such a positive way to look at it. Nothing I can gain. I think maybe it's all around failure. I wasn't used to failing until that point (later failing my driving test for the first time absolutely floored me)!

Trifleorbust Thu 18-Aug-16 20:59:07

It's also a half hour conversation twenty years ago - it says absolutely nothing about who you are now. I don't think I am even the same person I was twenty years ago!

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