My life has been quite busy lately—busier than I ever really imagined. For the first two weeks or so that I was here in Oxford, nothing was that hectic. Sure, I had orientation activities for the first week pretty much each day for the entire day, but I had no work that I needed to be doing. Then I came to Worcester and had another week to get acquainted there.
This week I started my tutorials. I’m taking a class called “Methods and Modes: Theory, Sociology, and the Aesthetic,” which is a class on material culture and its relationship to both sociology and literature. I’m also taking another class on Oscar Wilde. At Worcester, you take 2 classes per trimester instead of 4 per semester like at Colby. So I’ll have 2 new classes next term.
My first tutorial went really well. I had it Friday. It felt very much like a conversation, but it was still very intense at the same time because I was the only person there to answer the questions, so I had to really think on my feet. I had prepared a few pages of notes with my opinions on the readings beforehand, and I think that really helped me in the tutorial.
I have my first tutorial for my Oscar Wilde class tomorrow. The class is very reading-heavy. I am expected to read about four primary novels or dramas each week, and 8-12 secondary sources. I am also required to write an essay beforehand, as is the case with the material culture class as well. I write so many essays here that I am imagining that every week is going to feel like finals week at Colby. I like the fact that we write essays before each class at Oxford, however, because it gives me a chance to really work out my thoughts quite deeply before the tutorial. I sometimes feel like I don’t have as much time to work on my essays, though, as I would at Colby—that because I have so much reading and 2 essays each week, I cannot revise as many times as I would at Colby.
On a non-academic note, I went to a great brunch on Sunday. It was at the Provost’s house.
The Reception Area for the Brunch:
I was lucky and got seated next to Paula Byrne, the provost’s wife. She is a writer and her new book, The Real Jane Austen, is coming out soon. The book has already received a number of positive reviews in both England and America, so I was excited to be able to talk to her about the book and reviews of it. She invited me to her book launch, so I’m also really excited to attend that.
Besides being pleasurable because I received the opportunity to have a lengthy conversation with Paula Byrne, the brunch was also wonderful for many other reasons. While I was there, I felt like I was on the scene of Gossip Girl or some show about high culture. The house was beautiful and the food was great (I had eggs, sausage, a croissant, salmon, and beans). In the three weeks that I’ve been here, I’ve learned that beans are a staple of British breakfasts. At first I never really ate the beans during breakfast, but I have recently started incorporating them into my morning meal.
On Sunday, the college is hosting an American-style Super Bowl Party. I have never really taken the time to learn the rules of football—to me, it just looks like a bunch of men are crashing into each other on the screen—but I always enjoy the food, half-time show, commercials, and the singing of the national anthem. I’m excited to experience this American event with British students, as I’m sure they’ll provide an interesting perspective on the game.