Oxford: It’s as outrageous as I always dreamed it would be.
by Heidi Obermeyer
Last week was my department’s reading week, which is intended to give the studious among us a chance to catch up on on all the reading that we’re
supposed to be doing over the course of the semester. It’s a time for those most honored traditions of procrastination- we had a paper due on Thursday, and with no responsibilities leading up to the big day I (and many of my classmates, judging by the tired faces I saw on Friday) took the liberty of enjoying myself quite thoroughly instead of getting much homework done. And really, what better way to pretend you’re very studious than to visit one of the best universities in the world?!
We went to Oxford on Friday. If you’re not in Britain, and more specifically not in Bath or Oxford, you should know that it was a dreary day. I mean, it rained. And rained. And rained some more. And all the while a gaggle of girls in their mid-twenties were shivering their way through the colleges of Oxford, sincerely regretting their underestimation of the weather. It was cold, man. Colder than it’s been in England the whole time I’ve been here at least. I’d so far avoided getting out my real winter coat, preferring instead to rely on scarves, lighter jackets, and keeping up a brisk pace when I’m outside, but that was to be effective no longer. Backpack soaked, lesson learned.
On the city of Oxford- it seemed nice! We had a great lunch at the Turf Tavern (which we heard was the happening place to be) and a nice drink at a pub to warm us up before we caught our train home. I stopped by a pop-up print shop with indie art just to my liking, and there seemed to be plenty of other fun things to check out.
On Oxford University- Wow. Just… wow. This place is dreamy England meets high-powered academia, and I can’t even begin to imagine what it’s like to go there. We saw a few colleges- one that we snuck into that will remain unnamed, and Christ Church, which is one of the more popular places to visit. Christ Church has this whole tourist thing down to a science- you give them your 5 pounds, they show you where parts of Harry Potter were filmed (in the first movie) and then kick you to the curb so the students who go there can go about their business of living at Oxford and studying there and just generally being very Oxford-y. That huge and ornate dining hall up there? Yeah. People ACTUALLY EAT THERE. It’s crazy. Oxford is actually made up of a plethora of different colleges, and each one has a different expertise or thing it’s known for, so when you apply you apply to a specific college, not just to the university in general. Some of them are so small that they only have around 500 students total, including undergrad and graduate students. Crazy!
In sum, I’m glad I got to put a face to the Oxford name, even if it did make me pretty jealous that I don’t get to go through all the pomp and circumstance of “Oxbridge”, as the commoners call the Oxford/Cambridge ordeal around these parts. My next British adventure will be exploring London beginning this Saturday- I’m pretty excited! Now to polish off another paper on the long journey to freedom from academia. Have a wonderful rest of your week!