'Cambridge is an enjoyable challenge'

  • 16 February 2022

When Krystian Bialoskorski (Economics 2021) swapped Poland for the United Kingdom aged 14, he did not imagine he would earn a place at the University of Cambridge and Gonville & Caius College.

With some family already in the UK, Krystian’s mother moved over in early 2016. He stayed in Poland, living with his grandparents, before joining his mum after a few months’ absence, joining Queen Elizabeth High School in Hereford partway through Year 9.

“I saw the opportunity of learning a new language, thought I’d give it a try, and I have stayed ever since,” he says.

“At the end of Year 11 the head of outreach for my sixth form came to my secondary school and told us about the high achievers programme and Oxford and Cambridge.

“At that time I was still unsure if I wanted to go to sixth form college. I never thought I was good enough and always thought I’d do a vocational subject.

“The head of outreach convinced me to apply to sixth form and my GCSEs were good enough.”

Krystian went to Hereford Sixth Form College, found an enjoyment for economics and attended a shadowing scheme at Cambridge.

He said: “I applied to Cambridge. I wasn’t sure if I’d get in. It was very competitive and there was still a bit of a language barrier, especially in the essay subjects. I really enjoyed the maths side.

“I sat the admissions test, did the interviews and got in.”

Krystian shared his experience of online interviews earlier this year, including having to do his interview on his phone:

A condition of Krystian’s offer to Caius was taking part in the Bridging Course, which provided the opportunity to adjust to life at Cambridge.

Midway through his first year, Krystian is finding his feet at Cambridge and at Caius.

He adds: “I always enjoyed the fact we could apply numbers to economic problems. Numbers was the main thing I enjoyed, but I also enjoy the history and politics papers. They’re a lot more difficult for me – the reading, structuring the argument, for example – but I enjoy them a lot.

“In terms of life at Cambridge, academically, it’s very challenging and intense. I wouldn’t say it was a painful challenge – it’s enjoyable. Sometimes you get times when you can’t get over the work, but you take a break and everything falls into place.”

Perspective and balance are important for Krystian.

“You’re at Cambridge and you feel like you should be working all the time, but that’s not the case. It’s very important to take a break, to socialise and go out with people,” he adds.

“It’s important to not think about work too much. It is intense and it’s normal to find it challenging. Don’t stress too much. It’s important not to overwork yourself, because that can bring problems.

“I know everyone wants to do well, but sometimes things don’t go as you planned them to go and when that happens, take a step back, some time off, and come back the next day and try again.”

Share Share