Wow. What. A. Week.
This week has been a big one for me: I’ve had some personal successes which have been great to celebrate, and we’ve been allowed back in the Business School which has made lockdown life feel a little bit more like we’re on the road to normality….
We started on a real high with International Women’s Day on Monday. Throughout the morning I received lots of “Happy International Women’s Day!” messages and The Business School and OWLA (Oxford Women in Leadership Alliance) had organised a whole host of activities to celebrate the wonderful humans that we are! OWLA took over the Instagram account as well to share everyone’s #ChoosetoChallenge slogan. It was a really positive start to the week.
What wasn’t so positive was the continuation of my ankle pain. I’ve done zero running this week, which makes me sad. I really miss it when I can’t run! I’ve been doing lots of rest and ice but the problem is I don’t actually know how I hurt it, so who knows if I’m even doing the right thing to get it better. All I know is that I want it to be better soon. Like now, please.
More positivity followed on Wednesday with the release of our latest set of results from the papers we submitted before Christmas. For the long-time subscribers, you’ll remember the three papers on Finance, Marketing and Analytics that I had to submit before we finished for Christmas, and the assessment week routine that I had refined to a tee. Well, it worked! I now have two more Distinctions to add to the British Airways one, which is mad. I was so close to not even applying to Oxford as I didn’t believe my application was strong enough…and yet I’m here, getting Distinctions?! It’s so crazy but I’ll take it!
And then the big one. The big one for the week of positivity is that Michael (on my GOTO project team) and I had a thirty minute Zoom interview with former Prime Minister, Theresa May! In 2018 Mrs May instigated a review into Loneliness and her team produced the Loneliness Strategy. At the start of term when we first picked loneliness for our GOTO project, I emailed her office to see if she would talk to us about it. A couple of emails later and a little persistence, and voila! Interview with Theresa May booked.
It was all rather surreal questioning a former Prime Minister, but honestly, she was really lovely and very helpful. The half an hour went by so quickly but I did manage to sneak in a question at the end related to International Women’s Day and being a woman in a position of power. Such an incredible opportunity to spend time with her, and a great addition in the GOTO presentation in two weeks time!
So all in all, a week that deserved a Prosecco celebration on Friday night. As we all know by now, I’m all for celebrating the wins in life, both big and small. However, it was tainted with the devastating news we all didn’t want to hear. The disappearance and subsequent abduction and murder of Sarah Everard this week was a real and stark reminder of how unsafe it can be for women. Sarah was just walking home. She never made it. It really shocked me and many of my friends here. Having lived in London for over seven years and walked those streets alone many times before, it felt all too real. Sarah was doing what we all do regularly and yet she never made it home.
It was a stark reminder that all the things women do on a regular basis, on auto-pilot; taking the longer route home at night (I did this from the Business School on Thursday night); telling friends to “text me when you’re home” and making fake phone calls when you see a man coming the other way, are just considered “normal”. But they shouldn’t be. And that’s the problem. Why should we have to do all of these, and more, to feel safe at night? Sarah did take all of these precautions and yet, a week after her disappearance her body was found. Women don’t get attacked because of their actions. They get attacked because of the actions of their attackers.
As we hurtle towards another assessment week, my diary is increasingly jam-packed. It’s been a rollercoaster week – plenty to celebrate, but tainted with sadness too. She was just walking home.