Oxford and I have known each other for some time, although it took me some time to get some meaningful attention from it. Oxford has hosted me at least 5 times already until now: for the University open day, interviews for PPE, Model United Nations and two conferences at the Said Business School (SBS). Now that I have started studying for my DPhil, I get to experience this magic place every day for much of the next few years. What a privilege. Below are some pictures I took back when I used to visit Oxford starting in 2013. Those times were the start of a hopefully fruitful but certainly passionate relationship that ironically I have now picked up again mostly for the research and not so much for the university. Although of course it is an amazing place for research and somehow the two go hand in hand.

Some background on Oxford:

  • Oldest university in the English speaking world.
  • Made up of more than 40 constituent colleges and halls. They are like houses in Harry Potter to some extent where every student has their “home” within the university. I am part of Green Templeton College, only available to graduate students. I have really been enjoying that community of graduate students and researchers. Among others, it allows me to live right next to SBS.
  • SBS, my schoool and the business school of the university, was founded in the year I was born in 1996. It has since developed into a strong school with a great building and community. I already liked that when I came here for conferences earlier and studying here is mind-blowing.
  • Two of the other outstanding institutions in Oxford are
    • All Souls college: a beautiful college right in the centre made up of roughly 100 fellows. It does not take undergraduates and has been home to many exceptional academics such as Amartya Sen. They run an exam every year over the course of two days that I recently sat. The prize for the two winners is a 7 year fully funded fellowship at the college.
    • Oxford Union: the debating society of Oxford housed, again,  in a beautiful building in the centre. Many great speakers visit this place every year.

I like a few things about Oxford. First, nature here is beautiful. Second, the buildings and spires really do inspire at least if you feel like me and can only marvel at the history and meaning of the place. The beauty of is breathtaking. Third, compared to London everything is much closer together, even more so when you have a bike.  Fourth, more than in any other place I know everyone I meet is nice, mostly down to earth and interesting. Fifth, it places great emphasis on sports. There are also a few things I “dislike”. Firstly, it is rather small. For example, there is no real supermarket in the centre except for a few small convenience stores. Secondly, I think I will learn to “dislike” that it gives you so much cool stuff to do while not stretching the usual 24h/d to more. Makes FOMO (fear of missing out) seem real.

I am going rowing for the first time today because that is what you do here apparently. Makes sense since it needs lots of willpower so lets see how it goes. However, I also try to remind myself that the metric for success here is not so much how much I love my time here. That is a given it seems so far. Instead, I should strive to use this incredible chance to make a difference. I really hope that will go well, fingers crossed.