Oxford / Updates


Clearly, I have been very, very remiss in updating. My elaborate plans of creating a photo journal of sorts of my arrival at Oxford have, alas, been dashed by … inertia? The universe’s instinctive disassembly into chaos? Preoccupation?

In any case, I write this as the first proper week of university begins, though it might discombobulate you all that, already, I am contemplating the end of this term and winter break. Eight weeks is a lark, really! I don’t know how anything gets done in eight weeks.

Yet – my work thus far has or will include:

  • a 1800-word Politics essay due yesterday for my tutorial today (slightly intimidating reading list included, free of charge)
  • summer math work due last Friday
  • logic problems due tomorrow 4 pm
  • six chapters of a microeconomics text with accompanying problem sets due Friday 3 pm
  • math worksheets due Friday 5 pm

in addition to eight lectures, two classes and one tutorial per week. I know, it isn’t the worst course – math apparently has ten lectures each week, and all the sciences, of course, have to grapple with 9 am lectures, tutorials and three-hour labs, so I should be grateful, really!

Honestly, though, the work is, blessedly, interesting and engaging. I like reading. Reading books is my favorite way of studying, so this modus operandi makes me very, very happy (though I did do a double-take when my Politics tutor mentioned the 35-50 page-long reading list we have for Prelims …); at the same time, having a course outline and reading lists provides some sorely needed and much-appreciated structure and guidance. The lectures are a little basic right now, which is understandable, but the lecturers are all well-spoken and possess a crystal clear grasp of the topic. In particular, the first logic lecture I had was absolutely stunning in its well-signposted Powerpoint slides and exquisitely clear explanations of equivalence relations in set theory; I have never understood math this quickly.

I have had bad days and good days, to be very frank. Today was a good day! I discovered that Mac’s Preview PDF function is excellent for annotations, since you can highlight, box, colour-code and write wherever you want. (I cannot overstate how excited I am about that.) I made my comfort food (tom yam pasta) for lunch. I window-shopped very successfully, finding a couple of gorgeous winter coats that I am considering purchasing, as well as some uh, innovative shoes. I made curry chicken for dinner with a dear friend. I finished my logic assignment smoothly enough. I attended a talk on free speech by Timothy Garton Ash, who was very engaging and energetic. Small comforts, I think, are the order of this … transition period from the familiar to the strange.

More photos next time, though, at the very least.

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