The beginning of this week marked my being at Oxford for one full month. It feels like forever and no time all at once. The first two weeks or so were a whirlwind. After arriving we had two weeks of orientation with the OSAP organization which was spent learning about the city of Oxford, the tutorial system, and the political workings of England. Along with these morning meetings, we also had inductions into our colleges and to the Bodleian libraries. Walking around the city I couldn’t pull my eyes away from the golden hues of the limestone buildings comprising the city. It’s impossible to look at them without feeling transported back in time, to years before the birth of America, when these buildings still stood as they do now.
Of course with all the excitement of settling into a new environment, a wave of ‘freshers plague’ had many of us coughing, sniffling, and scrambling to find the British equivalent of Nyquil. That put a hold on exploring for me for the later part of the second week, but slowly I’ve gotten better.
Classes began in my third week here and were immediately an intellectually humbling experience. The professors here are so immensely knowledgeable and yet being able to converse with them one-on-one isn’t as terrifying as it seems. The tutors here want to connect with their students, and keep from being intimidating. That being said, the rigorous workload of Oxford does at first feel overwhelming. Only after many long days spent reading inside the Radcliffe Camera, did I feel I had a proper hold on my workload. The Rad Cam has become my home away from home away from home.
Despite the workload, I haven’t forgotten to enjoy my experience here. I was extremely fortunate to find great friends in my flatmates, and in my fellow UT students studying here. Through the OSAP program we’ve traveled to London for the day, where we were free to explore the city, and this upcoming weekend we are visiting Bath. I’ve also explored all that Oxford has to offer. Being a nature lover, having Christ Church Meadow so close to my apartment is a gift. The falling leaves are something I’ve sorely missed the past three falls I’ve been in Tampa. Standing in the park it’s easy to imagine where J.R.R Tolkien, who was a student and professor at Oxford, got his inspiration for the landscape of the Shire.
It’s hard to believe my time in Oxford is passing so quickly. I can’t wait to see what the next few months have in store!