• TOG

First Week, First Tutorial, First Essay...


Essays always cause anxiety. It doesn't matter whether you're a third year medical student or a fresher studying linguistics, the first essay set during michaelmas is always the hardest. After such a long summer break, it's normal to struggle writing the first essay.

Your expectations are high and you believe that your tutors' are too.

If you are a fresher, just bear in mind that starting Oxford implies learning to read and write from scratch! So here my top tips for surviving the first essay/tutorial: - Everyone is in the same boat! Some students may come across as exceedingly confident, but it's very likely that they feel just as insecure and doubtful as you may have done since arriving at Oxford. The first essay and tutorial will always be a daunting process but there is honestly nothing to worry about! Tutors expect you to make mistakes and to be nervous. Let your true passion for your subject emerge, that way your enthusiasm for learning and growing will shine far brighter than any mistake you may make. - Enjoy the process. Make the most of the first tutorial or essay, they won't come again. It's ok to be nervous, but try not to get caught up too much in worrying about what your tutor might think about you, or how clever your peers think you are. Be present in the moment. - Keep positive!

My first essays weren't any good at all, but that's the whole point. They weren't expected to be! Looking back to fresher's, I definitely put way too much pressure on myself to write the perfect first essay when in reality, I should have just concentrated on enjoying the experience of the whole thing. Be positive and remember that your writing technique and style will certainly improve over time! You are not expected to know everything, to have completely developed a personalised writing style or to be able to breeze through your first essays.

Take your time and don't be too hard on yourself!

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