Goodbye, Oxford

34 papers later, I have finished my Oxford coursework. I am writing this at my favorite desk at the almost-completely-empty Radcliffe Camera, and I am dreading leaving this place for the last time.

One of the nicer pictures I took this year. For reference, I am currently sitting in front of the window in the direct middle of the building.

This term I did not summarize my bi-weekly experiences like past terms, but I think that is because I found a routine where my typical day rarely changed. I found it a worthwhile experience to spend my days working in the crypt area at Mansfield. I would meet some of the other Holy Cross students and we would have coffee, talk about our course work, or just sit together and read. With the weather being much better now too, the walks to school became more enjoyable, so I ended up spending more of my free time at Mansfield.

My good friend Matt and I celebrating our final formal dinner at Mansfield.

In this final blog, I want to say that the Oxford experience, while extremely demanding both intellectually and emotionally, was enjoyable and formative. The sense of satisfaction in completing this tremendous workload is enough for me to recommend this program to anyone who wants to push themselves.

The Oxford experience relies on the effort you put into it. I witnessed some people travel too often and thereby miss out on the experience of living a day-to-day life in the city. Other people participated in too many clubs and social events and their performance in tutorials suffered because of it. Others spent too much time in their rooms working and missed out on the beauty and history of the city. I think that it would be fair to say that a balance of travel, leisure, and work is key for an enjoyable and fulfilling study-abroad experience here at Oxford.

The view from my front door.

I will conclude this blog by talking about the highlights of my year, while at the same time giving some general advice to any future Oxford visiting student.

Becoming a member of the Oxford Union is essential. The list of guest speakers each term consist of famous actors, influential politicians, great contemporary minds, world-renowned athletes, and many other interesting people.

Attentive students at J.J. Abrams’ talk. Photo credit belongs to the Oxford Union. Can you find me in the crowd?

Joining a club, sport team, or society is a must, as well. I joined the university tennis team after Michaelmas, and one of my only regrets this year is that I did not join the team sooner. There are ways to get involved in sports such as rowing even if you have no prior experience. If you do not mind cold water or waking up at 6am everyday, I would recommend joining the Mansfield rowing team.  Everyone I know who participated made great friends.

When it is warm in Oxford, I recommend spending time in University Parks. Sometimes I would go there for long introspective walks during study breaks. It is also a perfect place for picnics.

A peaceful area at the University Parks.

Hopefully I did not scare away any potential applicants, but I also hope that my description of the experience is honest and authentic.

I want to take this opportunity to thank my readers. Through this medium I believe that I was able to give you all a glimpse into what life is like for a visiting Oxford student. 

This was a year that I will not soon forget.


Thank you, Oxford.