A Day in the Life: Oxford Student

A Day in the Life: Oxford Student

August 21, 2019 100 By Stanley Isaacs


(upbeat music) – From the moment you get to Oxford, you sort of feel that
this is a special place, a unique place, because the whole vibe of students coming from libraries, going straight to night clubs, and going back to the library afterwards, and just sort of, I mean,
surrounding the surreal atmosphere that’s in the city is kind of like, draws you in from the
first minute, really. (smooth music) Hi, my name is Paul. I’m a final year student here at Oxford studying philosophy,
politics, and economics, and I’m originally from Germany. Because Oxford has this weird structure of having eight weeks of term and then just a very long vacation, everything happens in those eight weeks, so I wouldn’t say I have
a typical day that I, or a routine that I follow, but I tend to be in
the library by 9:00 AM, so I woke up at 7:30, 8:00 to get a coffee before 8:00, and then spend basically the whole day until like 2:00 PM in the library. Then I get my lunch, usually in one of the small
cafes around the libraries, and then the option is basically back in the library or extracurriculars, so you meet up in different coffee shops, talk to people about their projects, how things are working
out on certain projects that you’re doing together and have a bit of social time as well. And then back to the library til usually about
10:00-ish, quarter to 10. (smooth music) I wanted to bring you guys to this spot because it’s where I spend
most of my time at Oxford, and definitely the best
bit of my time in Oxford. It’s the Radcliffe Camera behind us, which is officially a
history faculty library, but it’s part of the bigger
network of the Bodleian Library, which is Oxford’s central library, and it’s definitely the space I spent the most time reading books, freaking out about essays that I had to hand in the next morning, and meeting friends, so definitely this was the
spot I enjoyed most in my time. I might be a bit of a sort
of super academic whatever, really boring person, but what I really enjoyed most
was having a stack of books and a lot of time and knowing I would have to
write something about this, make up my own mind about this. It’s kind of daunting because
you see all these big names and you’re a bit intimidated
by the whole situation, but knowing that you can do it and that you can actually
say something interesting about this was the greatest experience. My third year I started taking a paper on Aristotle’s Nicomachean Ethics And discovered that the
tutor was actually a name that I’d read 100 times
on my reading lists for Plato and other papers, and he happened to be one
of the biggest persons in ancient philosophy, Dominic Scott, and it was at first
intimidating to write papers and know he’s going to read them properly, and he did read them very rigorously and made comments about
my grammar, a lot of them, and it was very scary at first, but I really started to love that paper and love that course because I really felt
like I was taken serious by someone who’s extremely
well-known on the field and who’s extremely capable, who’s now really interested
in what I’m saying, and yeah, it’s a scary experience, but it’s also great to know
that you’ve really done something worthwhile once
you get out of your tutorial. The tutorial situation, that you have one professor
and one student in a room discussing one topic for a whole hour, is something that’s completely unique, I think, to Oxford and Cambridge, maybe. Having studied PPE here for three years, I think what it’s really
about is one the one hand that you sort of the
theoretical, rigorous knowledge that you learn throughout the course, but also the sort of practical, the histories of conflicts, or the histories of current affairs. (smooth music) Alongside that I’ve also
been doing a journal called The Journal of Interrupted Studies, which I started with my
good friend and housemate, Mark Barclay, which basically tries to
publish articles by academics at risk, refugee academics who
had to leave their home, their countries because of war, because of climate change, and for various reasons, and who want to continue
publishing their work, because that’s what they do for a living, but can’t finish articles, and what we do is we try and publish them, and thereby create a platform for these academics to, A: highlight the potential they have, the academic integrity, the knowledge that’s actually
coming to Europe as well throughout the migration crisis, but also to highlight on the other side that a lot of these academics
cannot continue their work because of legal restrictions, or because universities are
quite slow in integrating them, and that project has been very
important for me personally because it’s more than just
a sort of academic interest, it’s actually meeting people who suffered and who are now finding a
new perspective to the world. Mark and I developed the journal in all the small little
coffee shops around Oxford, and the The Missing Bean
was definitely the place we kept on coming back to and the place we actually
started the journal de facto. Having the Oxford name on the cover of the journal
definitely helped us a lot with the project, because it meant that people
who found out about the project took it to be much more credible than they would’ve probably taken a standard undergraduate journal, and that definitely helped. It also meant for Mark and I that we wouldn’t have
started the journal, I guess, without the support of Oxford
University in the first place. (smooth music) I came to Oxford just thinking
that it’d be super academic and there wouldn’t be
much social life going on, but actually discovered
that it’s basically, I mean, a huge part of the Oxford life. Every college has its own
JCR and college bar attached, which means you get subsidized drinks, which is great because
Oxford is insanely expensive, and the other thing is the
JCR’s a spot to just hang out and meet people from
the undergrad community, undergraduate community, so it’s just great because
you get to chat to people and like talk about life at uni, and there are no senior tutors around, so it’s kind of very intimate. But everything social sort
of starts within the college, which means that social life
is completely different here then it is back home where you
know people from maybe school or neighborhoods, so that makes Oxford’s social
life completely different, but at the same time, if you’re in a very small college like me, you tend to be out too much quicker, so you leave the nest much more, and again, it depends on
which college you’re at. After you finish your last exam, once you’re done with
your degree basically, you walk out of examination schools and your whole, like black tie outfit, a white tie, actually, and you’re trashed, which means people throw everything they can find at you basically, from a shaving foam to confetti to, I mean obscene things
like food and anything, so you’re just completely trashed and you’re disgusting state, but then you jump into the
river and it’ll kind of like, disappears and your back sort of, droop, normal life out of the uni experience and then just, you have two weeks to three
weeks remaining at Oxford, in which loads of crazy things happen, you go hunting, driving around on boats on the river, you go to sports, concerts, you go clubbing, and you go to balls, white-tie balls, but yeah, that’s going
to happen today for me, and that’s how I’m gonna
end my time at Oxford. White-tie means you have
to wear a tail coat, which looks like a penguin at first, but then gotta wear a waist coat as well, and where the name comes from a white tie, so this one’s one that I have to tie up, which will take me a good half an hour for it to look properly. These flowers are called carnations. It’s a tradition at Oxford that you wear them to your exams, so you wear the white one on your first day of exams and the red one on the last day of exams, but I just think they look quite cool on a white tie outfit, so I’m just gonna put one here and see how it works a night at the ball. I’ve never been to a
white tie ball before, so I’m not really sure what to expect, but I just thought I can meet people for the last time and say
goodbye to a lot of people, but also sort of leave
Oxford on a high note. I’m feeling like, yeah
this was a great time, and this is how I wanna conclude it. (smooth music) I hope you enjoyed this video, but if you wanna find out more about the top university of the world, subscribe to Crimson Education.