Ever wonder what life would be like studying Law at Oxford university?
In this series, we asked current and past students what a day in their student life is like. This particular article is all about life as an Oxford Law student, courtesy of Sophie!
My name is Sophie, I’m a Law student at St. Anne’s College, Oxford.
I am going into my third year of studying Law at Oxford. This course has been a big part of my life for the past two years, so hopefully, I can clear up some common misconceptions about studying it at uni!
Common Misconceptions: Studying at Oxford
Law can be intimidating. My biggest fear before I started was the workload. This is really common considering that most of us have never studied Law before beginning university. This fear isn’t unwarranted; the workload is heavy and can be overwhelming – some other subjects certainly have it lighter. However, it’s also true that you’ll learn how to study the subject as you go along. There will be stumbling points, but by and large, we all manage to figure it out in the end!
A typical Tuesday Morning: Life as an Oxford Law student
First things first: getting out of bed. I’m not an early bird, so this is always a struggle! I have a lecture at 9am, so I’ll make some breakfast and a coffee and be out the door at 8:40am to make the 15-minute walk from my college to the St. Cross Law Library.
I finish my lecture at 11am and won’t have a tutorial until 1pm. So I might get a few hours of work done at the central Law library, and have a sandwich on the go, or head back to college. It’s a Tuesday, so that decision is made for me; the college hall is serving carvery for lunch! Lunch starts at 12:15, so I’ll usually spend the hour beforehand with friends, napping, or watching something on Netflix.
The (Early) Afternoon: Life as an Oxford Law Student
It’s 1pm, and I have a tutorial with one other person at a different college in town. How we spend the hour will depend entirely on the tutor: some ask us to read out our essays that we’ve prepared for the tutorial, others start with a pop-quiz approach. Either way, we’ll end up discussing all the confusing parts of that week’s reading.
After our tutorial, my tutorial partner and I will head to the Covered Market to celebrate finishing the week’s work. The Covered Market is one of my favourite places in Oxford. Situated in the middle of town, it’s a mini labyrinth of small independent shops.
Typically, we’ll grab a snack in Ben’s Cookies. They sell some of the most delicious cookies you’ll ever have in your life (my favourite is the double chocolate). It’s always fun to poke around in the market, and we deserve a break after the tutorial, so we take our time wandering around before walking back to college. Oxford is such a small and student-centric city that we’ll inevitably bump into someone we haven’t seen in a while on the way.
The (Late) Afternoon: Life as an Oxford Law Student
I’ll try to get some studying done for my next tutorial in two days-time. This involves sitting with a big textbook and a very long reading list, trying to prioritise the essential reading. The reading lists at Oxford aren’t structured so that you read everything: that would take far more hours than you can give. It’s incredibly rare to hear of anyone managing to read everything on the list and write their essay before a tutorial, so don’t worry about it.
At 18:15 it’s time for dinner in the hall. I’ll catch up with friends and enjoy a break from Law!
The Evening: Life as an Oxford Law Student
At 19:00 I have a meeting for the student newspaper I work with at a different college. I’ll cycle there and spend the hour with my team editing last week’s articles and planning for next week, and then I’ll head back to my college.
Tonight, I’m not going on any nights out; it’s a friend’s birthday tomorrow, so I want to get my work finished so I can celebrate it with them.
I usually work in the ‘Geldart Law library’ in my college (law students typically get their own private library room). The law room is in ‘Hartland House’ otherwise known as the ‘old library’. While the rest of St Anne’s is quite modern, the old library tends to be just what you’d expect of Oxbridge: dark wood panelling, ancient books and warped wood shelves. St Anne’s library is among the largest in Oxford. This means there’s always plenty of room, every book you could possibly need is there, and it’s open 24 hours a day (absolutely essential for the inevitable essay crises)!
Late Night At Oxford? YES!
It’s the end of the day, I’ve put down all my books and abandoned the library. I’m a big film fan, so I’ll likely be found with a few friends bundled away in someone’s room with Netflix precariously balanced on someone’s knees. After that, I’ll get back to my own room and fall into bed.
The best tip I have for those starting Oxford Law in the future is to know that you cannot do everything: your own mental health is your number one concern. Student life is about prioritising and balancing the many things you’d love to be involved with; often enjoying a night out does come at the cost of a different night spent late into the night in the library. As long as you know this, and are willing to throw yourself into the challenge, you’ll do excellently! Good Luck!
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