One Last Term

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Edinburgh!

Trinity term, the last of the academic year, is in full swing: it’s week 4 here at Oxford. Right now, the air in is a little tense–finalists (seniors) are all taking exams, and these are a big f*in deal. At Oxford, your marks (grades) in tutorials and on collections (prelims) don’t count toward a GPA. Exams in your final year are the only things that determine how well you do on your degree. High stakes, high pressure. Luckily, since I don’t have to take exams, I’m just doing what I’ve been doing all year here. Visiting students: we do a lot of work, but we have a pretty sweet deal. Continue reading

New Habits

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Jamie and me in front of the new entrance to LMH!

The last week here in Oxford has been a quiet one. Since I last wrote, I’ve spent almost all of my time working through David Copperfield. One highlight, however, was showing my fellow llama Jamie around Oxford! I got to play tour guide for a day, visit a few of my favorite food spots, and of course, catch up with a friend. As there’s not a whole lot going on and I’m closing in on the end of my second term abroad, I figured I’d share some of the new habits I’ve picked up since coming to England in the hopes of inspiring similar self-improvement ventures. Continue reading

Halfway Point

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The British Museum in London

Despite my impressive productivity at the beginning of the term, I let half of Hilary go by before writing another post. Though the initial burst of energy has waned, it hasn’t disappeared completely. I have, though my infrequent social media updates might suggest otherwise, still been getting out and doing fun things here in Oxford. As we are entering week six of term two, I’ve now completed over half of my abroad year! Oh, how the time flies. Here’s what I’ve been up to in the last few weeks. Continue reading

Term One: Term Done

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Me and two visiting student friends at the Merton Ball!

The last few weeks of Michaelmas term were like a whirlwind–the days go slow, but the weeks go fast. In the interest of pure honesty, I have had plenty of time in the last few weeks to write a post. Besides reading and writing, I’ve also done a lot of TV-watching. But again, there’s that trap of “I’m doing something more interesting this weekend, I’ll hold off on a post.” Yet now that the term is over and I’m sitting on a train from Oslo to Bergen for four more hours, there are no excuses. Thus, my last post of my first term in Oxford commences! Continue reading

Election Blues (and Other, Happier Things)

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High tea at The Grand Cafe on High St., Oxford!

For a few weeks now, I’ve been delaying my next post for a variety of reasons. First, I thought, I’m going to a ball and London next weekend, I’ll write about that. Having been distracted by my stolen wallet (more on that), I then thought, I’ll wait until the election is over and I’ll write about that. Now, here I am, with far too much to say for one post, yet I don’t have much choice. So here’s a monster post with, predictably, my reaction to the election, and a big catch-up on Oxford life. I’ve written the parts separately, so feel free to skip around depending on what you’re actually interested in hearing me talk about (reading me write about?). Continue reading

All By Myself: Tutorials

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Duke Humfrey’s Library in the Old Bodleian. Used in Harry Potter!

One of the major draws for me when I was considering applying to Oxford was the tutorial system. It’s not a British or English thing: it’s pretty much just an Oxbridge (Oxford + Cambridge) thing. My typical week here is drastically different than a typical week at Cornell, and though both are challenging in their own ways, I’m finding myself constantly pushed to be better every day here — and a lot of the time, I’m the one doing the pushing. Continue reading

College is Just Uni, Right?

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Lady Margaret Hall is my college

Some of the freshers I’ve met here have expressed confusion about college versus university. “So when you say go to college,” they asked, “you really just mean uni? Like, what’s the difference?” And while we Americans gave them a sufficient explanation (a university includes a graduate school while a college does not), it got me thinking about different definitions. Oxford’s college system is completely unlike anything found in the states — it’s not just a matter of what you call your higher education institute. Continue reading

Oxford Comma England

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Mom and Dad dropping me off in Oxford!

I’ve been in Oxford for about a week now, yet it feels like it’s been way, way longer. This may have something to do with the fact that I can get to pretty much anywhere I need to go with minimal consulting of Google Maps, which usually takes me weeks if not months. If you’ve ever wondered what it might be like to relive freshman year orientation week two years after the fact, read on! Continue reading

Lessons Learned Overseas

 

On the (fragment of) Hogwarts Bridge set-piece used in the movies!
On the (fragment of) Hogwarts Bridge set-piece used in the movies!

Yesterday, I returned from a 10-day family vacation to London and Paris and have finally came back with a keener understanding of what constitutes a good vacation for me. I surprisingly returned without major jet-lag and am enjoying some down time. Though the trip had ups and downs, I learned so much about traveling and even about what I want my life to be like for the next few years. WARNING: a rather lengthy, rambling, personal disclosure follows. Continue reading