A Quick Look Back on Hilary

Daffodils are essential 
Hilary was a little different to Michaelmas. Gone was the sparkle of the new term and the new year. Living out was no longer a novelty and I'd settled back into the work-life imbalance. 

In many ways Hilary was much harder than Michaelmas. More things were closed; shops, cafes, libraries etc so there was even less to do and fewer places to go. I was reduced to walks around Uni Parks, Port Meadow, and Christ Church meadows with a takeaway hot chocolate or tea. Even this turned into an extreme sport with worsening winter weather and difficulties surrounding frothy teas at a certain Corn Market Street Pret A Manger, where I have an ongoing quasi-feud with the barista. Despite all this I certainly tried to make the best of things. 

I did try and meet up with people to cover to social side and I started running and skipping to keep up the exercise side. I also invested in a new road bike so I could cycle around Oxford rather than the rusty old wreck I had which finally bit the dust halfway through term. 

In terms of work there was a lot to do and I found myself quite overwhelmed at times, especially when also trying to juggle the JCR responsibilities. I increasingly found myself giving things in late and just accepting that and not worrying too much. I think in some ways I was kinder to myself this term and that made things easier because I felt less guilty about my work and therefore didn't get too het up and stressed which actually enabled me to do the work. 

In terms of the academic side proper, I enjoyed my Middle Eastern paper this term and was glad to expand beyond Britain and Europe but it was also really hard. Having little to no background knowledge meant a lot of time was spent just getting to grips with the chronology before I even attempted the more complicated politics. The primary source end of things was also a massive workload and towards the end of the term my motivation really started to dwindle and I wasn't managing to read through them all. It was comforting however, to know that neither were the other people in the class so I didn't feel too incompetent. I do also think I've plateaued in my work which is frustrating. It can be a little soul destroying seeing the same improvement comments each week when  you're trying hard to correct them. It is important to remember though that it's a long road and I'm sure I'll get there in the end.  

The most Pride flags St Benet's
has ever flown!

The JCR also posed its own struggles which ate into my time and emotional energy specifically relating to Benet's reluctance to fly a Pride flag for February because of the Catholic nature of the Hall. I therefore spent a lot of time arguing with Hall staff and working on compromises and the battle is still ongoing to drag St Benet's, kicking and screaming into the 21st century. I found this tiring and also became a little disillusioned with Benet's as a whole and my time as President. I definitely think that colleges are a difficult beast to try and tame and change because they're so steeped in tradition and the staff are generally much older than the students. I think though things are steadily improving but only time will tell. 

A highlight of Hilary was most definitely the unexpected January snow which myself and my housemate Rachel went frolicking in and was a really fun break from the monotony of work. I'd never experienced snow in Oxford but it suits the city well. If that could happen every year I'd be one satisfied student. 

Snow day
Overall there isn't much to report for Hilary. I had hoped more things would be open and I could meet up with more people but the reality was that even fewer people were in residence and so Benet's was a little like a ghost town, as was the rest of Oxford. I didn't get up to anything exciting because there wasn't much to do. Something that has come out of this though is a renewed appreciation for normal times and a looking forward to Trinity, if only for nicer weather and the opportunity to bask in the sun. 

What I'm looking forward to next term:

  • The weather!
  • Things opening up again (I've already been booking up tables for cocktails at Turtle Bay)
  • Getting more stuck into student journalism on the editing side as I have two editorial positions, one at Cherwell, and one at the OxStu so I'll be kept busy
  • Moving on from the JCR Presidency and onto other things; it's been a stressful job and I think one term is enough to tire me out



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