Thursday, 29 August 2013

Where She Went

I already have a link on this blog which explains my absence for the last 8 weeks (6 1/2 weeks in the U.S, and then 1 1/2 weeks recovering & generally sorting my life out...) however I think it's time I outlined everything that's happened since I last posted on here, which was, admittedly, about 4 months ago.

View of part of Keble college, from the University Parks

The main focus of my last term at university was preparing for Preliminary exams. I would write for pages about how annoying it was to have to sit my exams after term finished, and how I didn't even get a day after my exams ended just to enjoy being at university, with no exams. Yet, having got my results (I did just fine :) this seems kind of irrelevant now (I guess this is the problem of blogging everything with such a time lapse)...

I'll talk about some better things which happened last term;

- We had a garden party. There was Pimms. And croquet.
- I finally got to see Oxford in the sunshine and summertime (kind of)
- I watched the end of year rowing competition - Summer Eights
- I went out on May Day morning (along with half of Oxford) to watch the sun rise over Magdalen tower, and hear the choir sing, and watch maypole dancing
- I did a "discovery hunt" with some potential Oxford applicants, around the city centre
- I saw a performance of Shakespeare's Merchant of Venice on the lake in my college
- I got elected to serve on my college's student council! (Known as the JCR, or "Junior Common Room" committee)

Provost's garden party!

Shakespeare on the lake ("Lakespeare")

So, after getting over my bitterness as I watched everyone else finish exams ahead of me, and actually enjoying being alive, I had a pretty good summer term. I should also say that after we finished our exams, there was still a chance to get silly string and various other items thrown over us, and spend a great evening chilling on the lawn by the lake. I remember going to bed towards 3am (I stayed up talking to people for what felt like a lifetime) and then having to get up at 8am, to move my stuff out by about 9 'o'clock...adrenaline does great things.

Rowing...the undoubted mother of all sports at Oxford

Trinity (the Oxford summer term which runs from April-June) should have been the most stressful part of my first year. In some respects it was, days spent revising in the library, near silent meal times before major exams, not seeing friends properly for days because they were buried in their own work routines. Yet somehow it also wasn't. Was it the weather? The range of activities and things to do in Oxford that can only be done in the summer? (Punting, croquet, walking round the University Parks, the list is endless...) I feel as though last term was the term in which I was able to make the most of physically being in Oxford as a student. I think that's down to logistics - my timetable in particular - as we were supposed to be revising for a lot of the time, we were only taught one paper, our "optional subject", and so had the flexibility to structure our days as we wanted. This is the benefit of being a History student.

As a historian, May Day morning was definitely the earliest I have ever been awake in Oxford...

The downside is that other students will hate you (just kidding, though they will envy the whole "no-lectures-before-midday" thing) or that most of your study time is extremely anti-social. You're not in labs, or scientific classes, or busy science lecture halls. You're by yourself, in a silent library, for hours at a time. But hey, you get to choose when/ if to do that, so that's a good thing, right?