Don Quixote of La Mancha, in Cologne, of…Islington North?

It is always fascinating observing people’s reactions when I explain the subject of my Masters’ thesis. Most people have at least heard of Cervantes’ Quixote (even if they object to the odd Oxonian spelling and pronunciation, preferring the more widespread Quijote), or at the very least have used the word quixotic before. What does that word actually mean? Let’s take a look at the Oxford English Dictionary: Continue reading

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Oxford students give advice to their younger selves

This may be one of the most important posts I’ve ever put together.

I recently received an email from an offer-holder asking me what advice I had for someone in their position: what would I tell a fresher, or indeed my 18-year-old self, if I had the chance? Not, by any stretch, an easy question to answer. I do have my own pieces of advice to give, but I also turned to the many, many wonderful Oxford students and graduates in my life, some of whom I know personally, others of whom I share online spaces with, and asked them the same question. And goodness, did they deliver! Below, a collection of funny, honest, timeless advice from people who have been through the Oxford experience and are all the wiser for it. We make mistakes so you don’t have to.

If you find this post helpful, please let me know in the comments, and please share this post with the people you know who are also hoping to start university soon!

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notes from 2nd week

It is yet again that time in my life where, when I am asked how I am, I simply do not have an adequate answer to give that doesn’t involve a sigh of some kind. It is the intensity of workload of Finals, but without the same permission to shut myself off from the world and stop taking calls and emails entirely. I am still currently in the stage of half-hoping, half-believing that this dissertation will write itself. Bills mount up, important messages go unanswered, and still I am only at the very beginning stages of what needs to be completed in about three weeks. 

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notes from 1st week


When Werther (in the Ambassador’s employ) writes to Charlotte, his letter follows this outline: 1. What joy to be thinking of you! 2. Here I am in a mundane situation, and without you I feel utterly alone. 3. I have met someone […] who resembles you and with whom I can speak of you. 4. I keep hoping that we can be reunited. —A single piece of information is varied, in the manner of a musical theme: I am thinking of you. Continue reading

notes from 5th week (ht)

This is once again an extremely sparse post, as I spent most of last week writing like a demon. By Friday evening, thanks to some truly great motivational pep talks from my best friends, and not without incident, I had finished the 7000-word draft and sprinted down to Hertford to hand it in. (Welcome to Oxford, where things are still handed in physically.)

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