By Natalie Bright
In my opinion, and probably many others, Hilary can be the ‘worst’ of the three terms a year at Oxford. Michaelmas comes brimming with excitement for a new academic year - a new room, new modules, new friends and much more. Then by Trinity the sun is shining, the days are longer, and even though exams loom in everyone’s mind, they are interspersed with balls and summer parties galore. Yet Hilary is just sort of there. It is preceded by Collections and ends with the threat of exams upon returning to Oxford. My morning walk across Uni parks to lectures are flowerless and frosty, and the academic work always seems hardest.
Last year, Hilary was very different to any other term experienced at Oxford (and not in a good way). Due to the post-Christmas surge in COVID-19 cases, the University removed its residency agreement and prevented students without a specific reason from returning to college accommodation. Nevertheless, as I study biology, which was deemed an ‘essential subject’ because of in-person labs, I was permitted back to college. Yet, with fewer students around and all social events cancelled, it was a very different experience to any sort of ‘normal’ Oxford life and is undoubtably where my issue with Hilary term stems from.
But this year I want to change the narrative – ‘Hot Girl Hilary’ as I joke with my friends. This term coincides with spring; the birds are singing, and colour is returning to the parks and gardens once again. Now is the perfect time to get back on top of the academic work that built up in the frantic run up to Christmas: a new year and a new leaf for me as well as in nature. Societies are in full swing, with crew-dates and nights out back on the cards. Undoubtedly one of the greatest beauties of Hilary is the continuing friendships from the previous term, with no-one being quite as anxious as they were as a fresher.
So, as I look upon the 8 weeks of term ahead of me, I want to apologise to Hilary for what I said in the past, I promise to make the most of you this year.