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The Joys of Michaelmas Term

By Aikaterini Lygaki

Michaelmas is the name given to the first eight-week term here at Oxford, starting at the beginning of October and lasting until early December. This term is filled with some impeccable vibes. From the falling leaves of autumn to Halloween fun to the festive traditions of ‘Oxmas’— Christmas celebrations, which usually happen a month before actual Christmas on the 25th of November, in order to infuse some holiday cheer into the term.

I am currently in my final year, and this Michaelmas term is my last one here at Oxford, so I’m determined to make the most out of it. My first two weeks here were marked with Halloween preparations, autumnal walks along Christ Church meadows or University Parks, pumpkin spiced lattes, and some Oxford-specific traditions that welcome the new freshers into the university. For example, we have ‘college family’ dinners in which people studying the same degree across different years get together as a family, getting know know one another and also being a point of help. As I’m writing this, I am currently awaiting ‘Oxmas’ celebrations to begin, which for my college include setting up and lighting a Christmas tree on our quad (our college garden), listening to some carols, drinking some mulled wine and participating in a college-wide Secret Santa.

Along with all these fun traditions comes work as well, but the workload depends on the year and subject of your degree. As a finalist English student, for me that includes some portfolio work for my final grade, but for others it can include weekly essays or problem-sheets, lectures, seminars and labs.

Michaelmas term has such a special place in my heart. Even though the sun sets at 4pm every day, the traditions that come along with this time of year make these eight weeks truly special.


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