Where to start? Whilst some days dragged on, the time has also flown by; I still very much feel like a Fresher, but Freshers’ Week definitely feels like a long time ago, and the summer holidays even longer!
So I guess I’ll start with Freshers’ Week – jam-packed with social events and inductions, you get to know the college pretty quickly. Coming from Merton (a small to medium sized college), I got to know a lot of my year very quickly, whether it was at induction events, subject chats and of course nights out! Personally I think the nightlife is great at Oxford, and there are places open almost every night and a decent variety too. On a side note, securing friendships in the first week isn’t necessary; it’s more an opportunity to put names to faces and for all the introductory sessions.
Onto the degree itself – as a chemist, it’s been hectic but manageable. We start with two lectures every morning from Monday to Friday (similar to school), which are followed twice a week by labs. Other days we have tutorials, where we talk through our answers to problem sheets with tutors: each week we have one maths tutorial and a chemistry tutorial (physical, inorganic or organic), and occasionally a physics tutorial. The problem sheets are challenging, but the satisfaction of answering them is undeniable. Also the tutors are specific to your college, but all of mine are so lovely and understanding, plus they do care for your welfare, so they are always open to discuss related concerns and give more time if needed. We also are the first year to use the new teaching labs which, according to other years, are much better equipped and prepared for future scientific developments.
I’ve also made so many new friendships, it feels so strange that I have such good friends in such a short space of time. Everyone here is so friendly and welcoming, plus we are all in the same boat, which makes it easier. Naturally I don’t know everyone super well, but there are many more years to develop these friendships! For me, I enjoy going to formals to get to know people better, as you can enjoy their lovely company with no distractions, and the food is delicious too! However I’ve also bonded with people when going out, especially when things don’t go to plan and you help each other out. There is also time for trying new things (check out Freshers’ Fair) and joining societies.
Admittedly I do feel like I’m only just settling in, even though the end of term is nigh, which is completely fine because it is a big transition. However there are so many wonderful, wonderful memories already, from Merton’s Time Ceremony to casual lunches out to funny times in labs. No way would I regret coming here in the slightest, and some days are tougher, but I am loving my time here!