My Woodhouse Sociology

Nnenna Egele
Nnenna Egele
Nnenna Egele came to Woodhouse from Bishop Stopford’s School and lives in Edmonton. She studied sociology, geography and politics at A level and graduated in 2018 with ACC.  She is currently at Portsmouth University studying International Relations and Politics.
She spoke to us during her second year of A levels... 
“I chose to study sociology as it sits well with all of my other subjects. I enjoyed it a GCSE and syllabus areas like stratification (the dividing of a society into levels based on power or socioeconomic status) interest me. Sociology opens your eyes a bit more, in the way that you see the world.
At A level there’s more theory but there’s still the basics, sometimes it feels like ‘enhanced GCSE’ but it’s more interesting and you can relate it to your other subjects. I can incorporate stuff I’m learning in geography or politics. Topics like human geography are similar and areas I’m doing this year in sociology, I studied last year in geography, so it’s a bit like revision. I think it’s similar to psychology in terms of research but sociology is more about society as a whole, even though within that we still talk about the individual, it’s more about different groups – class, gender, ethnicity… Those sort of areas.
It’s really group focused, when we come to class we collectively talk about the work that we have done independently. I look forward to the discussions. We talk about theories and see how well they hold up, see if they are relevant for today. The way we look at it makes me think ‘Oh, I’ve been a sociologist all this time, I just didn’t realise.’
We get so much support outside of the classroom. We have a sociology club on Wednesday lunchtimes. It’s run by the teachers and it’s great for going over questions you didn’t understand or anything that’s come up. Then there’s subject tutorials and on top of that, teachers will often make time to see you after college. Incidentally, sociology teachers are the fastest to reply to emails!
There are so many facilities here, you can never say ‘there’s no place to work’ or ‘it’s too loud here’ – there are learning zones all over the place; in the math’s department, the library, above the library… and our library compared to other places is really, really good. For me it’s the facilities and the people that make Woodhouse – I made the right decision coming here.
At Woodhouse, I have done so much debating – my subject choices make sure I have to debate. I was part of the debating society last year, I’ve been to discussions in the social area and at the Somali society meetings. This year we are setting up an Afro-Caribbean society and putting on events and a culture day as part of Black History month and there’s another debate in the social area. I don’t think these events would happen at a school but that’s just Woodhouse for me… Whenever I think Woodhouse I think debates. It’s like a university. There are disagreements in discussions but at the end of the day we still respect each other in the room, that’s what good. It’s a comfortable environment to debate in.
There have been lots of guest speakers at the college that are relevant to sociologists. Last term I heard people from Black Lives Matter talk which was very beneficial – and we also had someone from UKIP come in. And there was a ‘Sociology of Education, including theory and research’ trip last year which featured guest speaker Doreen Lawrence – mother of murdered teenager Stephen Lawrence.
I want to study politics and international relations next year, either at Cambridge, Warwick, LSE, Birmingham or SOAS. Cambridge is a big step and thank goodness that I am at Woodhouse because if I was in a school sixth from I don’t think I would have as much support. They just wouldn’t be used to the amount of people applying every year. But there’s so much help here and people to look at my personal statement. And because there’s lots of students applying, we help each other. Woodhouse has encouraged me to apply to Cambridge. I thought I would get into a really good Russell Group uni but never thought ‘let’s apply to Cambridge’, but seeing so many people go for it I thought ‘why not?’, one in five get an offer here.
I’ve done lots of extracurricular activities here. I sang with a choir for a bit before I switched to debating. I took part in the Model UN we hosted, where dozens of schools came here. I represented Ukraine on the social cultural and humanitarian committee. It great seeing so many people intrigued by politics. It went on for two days so you had to be committed and really prepare for it. It was really made my mind up to pick politics for my degree – because can see myself doing that in the future.
I also did BMX and velodrome cycling at the Olympic park in Stratford and that was a fun challenge and so different to anything else I’ve done. The bikes were so weird – the velodrome bikes had no brakes and they had to give you a push to start get started.
I like the vibe at Woodhouse. Everyone gets along with everyone in a mature way – everyone wants to do well. Woodhouse is such a prestigious college, when I see other people working hard it motivates me to want to work hard too because I came here for a reason. I have a different attitude now. Before, at secondary school, I felt I was learning just to pass exams – now I learn because I actually enjoy it.
Woodhouse has changed my whole perspective and now when I read something I apply the knowledge I’ve learned here and look at it differently. I also think I’ve changed my work ethic in terms of trying hard – and trying again, and again... And my communication skills in terms of trying to make friends have improved because it’s easy here. Obviously, even after a year, I still don’t know everyone – I just made another new friend today – but I think Woodhouse has made me friendlier."