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Optimising Oxford - Even in your Absence

By Annie M @annwins.adventures

Are you an Oxford student who isn’t physically there? I am! I have decided to suspend my studies for a year, which you might think relinquishes me of the benefits of my Bod card, but I have found several ways to make being a student here work for me - even if I’m not currently studying. If you are rusticated, suspended, or simply away for the holidays, get the most out of being a student by following these simple tips.

Student Discounts and Eliminating Expenses.

If you want to buy anything, check if there’s a student discount first!

When you’re away from the city or not studying, it can be easy to forget that you have student discounts. There are several websites such as Student Beans, UNiDAYs and TOTUM which offer you free student discounts as long as you have a student email address. Some shops do their own student discounts as long as you show a valid form of student ID, such as your Bod card or a TOTUM card.

Being away and knowing the city may also be a good time to consider your expenses and how to lower them during the term. Signing up to loyalty schemes of local shops to get further discounts, or using receipt scanning apps like Shopmium or GreenJinn to get cash back off your shopping might be a good idea. In Oxford specifically, a Tesco Clubcard, Boots Advantage Card (which you can put your student discount on too) and Nectar card are borderline essential. So many shops, restaurants and cafés in Oxford – especially if they’re chains – have loyalty schemes and apps; I promise the extra apps on your phone and cards in your wallet are worth the savings.

Check if your college offers any reimbursement programmes to get money back for study materials, course materials, travel fees etc. Not all colleges have the same schemes, so see what’s available for you. You might be able to get some of your money back, or at least start saving your receipts for future reimbursements.

Work Opportunities and Consolidating CVs.

If you are a Crankstart scholar, you have access to the Crankstart Internship and Mentoring Programme, and all matriculated students can also access the Micro-Internship Programme. Your student login also grants you entry to the CareerConnect Platform, which can help you tap into work opportunities and enhance your employability skills online.

Even though I’m away, I have access to remote and online micro-internships, which take place for up to a week during the holidays. Micro-internships are an amazing way to build work experience, especially if you want to diversify your CV or try something entirely new. Yes, I will be studying Psychology and Philosophy for my degree, but having experience in article writing despite not having a formal education in journalism can open up my prospects a little more. The same can happen for you – if you are interested in something you might like to do in the future, get the experience and open your doors; who knows where it will lead you?

Mental Health and Study Resources

If you have a student login, there may be things online that your college or tutors have signed you up for. At my college, we got the PostivelyYou Resource Hub that has exam tips and advice on managing exam stress, and I got a Python course on DataCamp for free for my Psychology course. Check your emails for useful resources like these! The University has the Counselling Service Podcasts page, which was made with Oxford-specific concerns in mind, and they also have the Supportive Resources page with self-help strategies for you to use.

Optimising your Absence

Even without formal study, being a student here can still benefit you; it provides opportunities for personal growth, skill development, and expanding your horizons. I hope that these tips serve as valuable guidance to enhance your future prospects while allowing you to maintain productivity at your own pace. Embrace the journey of being a student here, whether you’re currently studying or not, and seize every opportunity to enrich your life and future.


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