A Quick Look Back On Michaelmas
Michalemas came round very quickly after what was quite a nice, relaxed summer. I spent a good portion of it in Oxford starting on my dissertation reading before breaking off to revise for a collection, my first one in person since Hilary of first year! and then term properly started.
From a workload point of view this term was...interesting. I had some real difficulties with my last paper in Trinity. It transpired I hadn't been quite taught the right specification and so it has meant lots of extra work to catch up. So, when my collection came around I was really nervous. The summary of that experience was that it felt like an unqualified disaster; out of practice and feeling rather on the back foot I opened up the paper to find that the majority of questions were not topics I'd ever heard of (there was a question on Lithuania. LITHUANIA! I don't even know where that is on a map let alone the state of its medieval economy). I managed just about to pick three questions I could answer and sped through them. I felt sick the entire time. It was in fact so terrible, that I finished about 45 minutes early and believe me I did try and stick around in case divine inspiration took me. I unfortunately still haven't received feedback from my tutor about that although my Director of Studies said it wasn't as bad as I had feared.
Moving swiftly on.
This term was the term of the special subject. I chose Ming Chinese painting and culture which is technically an art history paper. Overall, despite the initial scariness of the tutor I've really enjoyed it and realised that art history is something I'm actually quite good at and have a natural affinity for. I really do just love paintings. The paper is very sourced based and there's an exam at the end of the year called a 'gobbets' paper. Gobbets are small sources and you have to write about 400 words on them: origin, what it tells us, information about the author etc. And I had a few extra essays on top.
There is also the added delight of an extended essay of 6,000 words to complete over Christmas which is what I'm having a break from as I write this. I stayed behind a but at the end of term collecting books from the Sackler library, one of, in my opinion, the least cheery libraries in Oxford.
In terms of extra-curriculars it has been rather jam-packed. My outlook following COVID has been to try and do all the extra-curriculars I'd planned to do in 3 years, in the time I have remaining. Which is quite a lot. And so, after Michalemas, I have completed a stint as the Editor-in-Chief of the The Oxford Student which was very stressful but very enjoyable and resulted in lots of late nights clawing together stories, and lot of last minute early morning getting it ready to be sent out to print. I even got a couple of stories in The Times! I actually made a few friends from it which has been nice and I definitely think I've expanded my social circle this term outside the Benet's bubble.
As well as that, I got involved in student drama for the first time. Not on the stage (yet) but as a set designer, working on an original play. It was a lot of odd jobs for the most part and then right at the end in the last fortnight, it was a massive mad rush to get everything together. I had great fun and really liked the cast and crew. I would definitely recommend anyone wanting to get involved in drama to just throw themselves in. there'll be something that will tickle your fancy and conveniently everything can be found on the Oxford Uni Drama Society's Facebook page. I strongly recommend just plucking up the courage and putting yourself out there, I wish I'd done it sooner.
For fun stuff this terms was miles better than many. I went to the cinema several times, went out to pubs and had lunches and drinks out. I felt like I was really getting out after so long trapped indoors! And, of course, there was the return of the fabled Benet's party! I hadn't enjoyed the first one I went to because I was dealing with some poor mental health, the second was cancelled because of COVID and so this was only my third ever. I actually really enjoyed it. I think it helped that I felt more comfortable in my own skin and with my friends whereas in first year I didn't know myself and felt quite out of my depth.
My mental health was alright for the most part. I made sure to go home for a little break around 5th week before I got overwhelmed and I found that that helped as a fire break. It was strange coming back after such a long break over summer. I will admit I was nervous to see some people because it had been so long and tempers had frayed at the end of last Trinity but I found, as always despite it taking a while to get into the groove and get used to each other again, things started to move like clockwork.
As I've said, I definitely expanded my social circle this year. I grabbed the bull by its horns and asked people out for coffee and drinks and made sure to spend quality time with people I liked and added something to my day. I think I'm certainly getting better at being able to judge who is and isn't good for me and cutting out negative energy (I know, it sounds corny).
What I'm looking forward to next term:
- Assistant directing an original play: 'Wednesday is Death Meditation'
- Hearing back about some auditions for other plays
- Keeping on at the OxStu but in a smaller role
- Getting on top of my dissertation
- Going to my fist ball at St Catz!
- Doing nice things with friends and really savouring it
- Maybe having some friends down to visit!