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Life at Oxford by Ed Watson - Bruce 2008

Ed Watson (Bruce 2008) has very kindly written a piece for the Gordonstoun Association about his view on life at Oxford.

by Ed Watson

Walking through the archway to Oriel College, Oxford as an undergraduate at the college is an experience I can only compare to such a thing as winning the Rugby World Cup (not that I’ve done that...): it’s simply something that no-one ever expects to actually happen to them, least of all myself. Now there though, I can safely say that life at Oxford, if anything, surpasses the idealisations.

Ed Watson - Bruce 2008

Not least amongst its qualities is the sheer beauty of the place. Each college feels like its own universe and once inside one has little-to-no awareness that the world outside the walls even exists at all. This might paint a picture of something more prison-like, perhaps more blinkered than the typical university experience, but if so then there are worse fates: these colleges are all places for which I have yet to find parallels. Of course, they are also places of work, work that as difficult as it is plentiful. Perhaps it is just me, but the sheer volume of work at Oriel seems almost unbelievable: my average week’s work consists of two 2000-3500 word essays to answer questions that I quite often don’t understand at first. This isn’t including the revision that must be done to ensure one is prepared for exams that are sometimes taken after only eight weeks relevant study. Let’s just say it’s intense.

That’s not to say there’s no time for anything else: a little counter-intuitively the reality is quite the contrary! There are any number of extra-curricular activities, so whatever your tastes it is easy to find your niche if you look for it. And even taking these activities into account there is still plenty of time to maintain a healthy social life, centred around Oxford’s unbeatable selection of pubs, slightly less superlative but always enjoyable club scene and Formal Hall, a three course meal that at Oriel will cost you less than a Big Mac! In short, life at Oxford is everything it’s said to be and more. Much like Gordonstoun one is never short on things to do, and much like Gordonstoun one is constantly challenged, one way or another.

October 2009


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