Coming to Oxford to study English but not quite sure what to expect? Or thinking of applying and keen to know more about what studying English here is like? Well then this is the blog post for you!
With one compulsory lecture per week, the stereotype about English students swanning about with nothing but a novel in their tote bag, poetry quotations in their beret-ed head, and time on their hands is partially true - however, don’t be fooled! It is incredibly liberating to choose how you spend each week, but time management is the main challenge.
At my college, Merton, the workload is on average one essay and one tutorial per week, with classes thrown in here and there. Lectures are always running, and it’s best if you go to as many as you possibly can in the first week of term, and then decide from there which ones will be the most beneficial. Tutorials are normally a day or two after the essay deadline. You’ll find the time between submitting one essay and being set another very disorientating, as you go from working at a high pace to suddenly having to slow down and deal with the growing mass of laundry in the corner of your room and the noticeable lack of edible food in the fridge. However, take the time to sort yourself out, have a nap, and decide what you need for the next essay to hit the ground running.
The EFL (English Faculty Library) is invaluable - the sandwich pricing in the cafe is questionable, but the extensive selection of resources is not. It’s really useful to spend time there working if your lectures are spread out in the day, as it has everything you need and is full of people all in the same position as you. If you want to stay closer to college, there are of course many options for places to work!
In a standard week you might have 1 essay, 1 tutorial, 2 classes, and go to 5-8 lectures. In between this you might go over 3 texts, and 8 critics. Each week is your own so use it wisely, plan well, and find the golden mean between enjoying yourself and looking after yourself!