Everyone’s heard it before: life at Oxbridge is unlike any other university experience.
To some degree, this is true! The cities are indeed enchanted. You’ll fall in love with the cobbles and arches as a fresher before you’ve had a chance to walk through them! The entirety of Oxford’s city centre is populated by the university buildings. Examination schools sits on the high street along with several colleges and the Botanic Garden.
Everywhere you go you are met by a little bit of history and excitement. One of the most incredible things about Oxford is the array of libraries. You can find one on every corner! Your Bodleian card allows you a ticket into these quiet and sequestered places that look out onto the hustle and bustle of the busy streets.
Early into my first year of life at Oxbridge, I discovered the Taylorian library which looks out onto the Ashmoleon museum courtyard. This was only the beginning. I went on to work in as many libraries as I could. In each I found new inspiration and an independent atmosphere. From the Hebrew Studies centre library (which is underground), to the Oriental institute library in the modern Dickson Poon building, based at St. Hugh’s college.
When the reading hours got long and I felt tired, I moved library. The beauty of Oxford’s collegiate set up means that everything is within a 10 minute cycle, which is incredible! This also means that you will rarely have to buy a book for yourself. There are always multiple copies dotted around the city that you can get hold of!
There’s no denying an life at Oxbridge degree is hard when it comes to study. Every subject will have its share of late nights and tight deadlines, and sometimes you’ll feel like the work is too much. But everyone at these universities got in for a reason! As long as you set yourself targets and try your best to stick to them, you’ll get through the toughest times. The humanities degrees are reading heavy and you’ll find you spend the majority of your days in the library with a pile of books.
The surroundings are inspiring, and the opportunities for discussion and engagement are unparalleled so for most people walking out of the library after a long day of reading to meet a friend for dinner and discuss is normal!
Even though Oxford is a small city, it has unending events across the year. From free talks at the University Church to Zumba discos at the Old Fire station. If that’s not your thing, college movie nights to welfare walks. There’s something for everyone to make the social scene of life at Oxford very enjoyable. You can find a live band on on any given evening. People will always be willing to go with you to the latest exhibition (or take yourself along!). City wide events such as the Oxford half marathon which happens every year at the end of freshers’ week makes it easy to find people with mutual interests.
There are hundreds of societies at Oxford too, where you can sign up to more specific things, such as boxing, or Quidditch (yes there is a Quidditch society!).