Oh yeah, you actually have to STUDY at Oxford…
You know what’s funny about this post? I writing it about academics, and I currently have a 850 page book to finish ASAP so I can do research and write an essay about it by Tuesday!!! And when I finish that, I still have to read several books for history and write a slightly shorter essay for that tutorial by Thursday – and I haven’t even started that assignment!!
Right, got to keep it short.
I don’t have that much to say anyway, since I’m only doing two tutorials as is typical at Oxford. A tutorial is a one-one-one session with a tutor. You can basically suggest any topic in the world to study, and if there’s a tutor that thinks they can manage to make at tutorial out of it they will do so. One tutorial is called your “primary” which meets for an hour once a week, and one is called your “secondary” which meets for an hour once every other week.
Class for two hours a week at most? Easy, you say! NOT EASY. I literally have no idea how I’m supposed to do the work for next week well and by the deadline, and I haven’t even been procrastinating (except for a poorly made decision to visit the farm all afternoon and evening last Tuesday…oops. I had to return Lauren’s bedding?). It just takes SO LONG to do the reading. This is my break for today – I’d been reading for the last 7 or 8 hours aside from a half hour lunch break (on four hours’ sleep thanks to a 5:30am rowing wakeup this morning and football initiations last night).
I’m actually really enjoying myself academically, though. Obviously this is due partially to the fact that all I have to do is pass these tutorials – the grades don’t affect my Kenyon GPA. Still, I have a lot of pride academically so I never planned to slack off here. I think a lot of the fun I’m getting out of this comes from the fact that so much of my academic life was designed by me – I chose my subjects, my tutorials, and I have so little class time that I can mold (almost) my entire daily schedule. Despite the fact that none of this time is really “free”, I feel very liberated. I’ve been trying to go to bed at a decent hour every night and then I usually just set my alarm for eight hours after I go to sleep, which is a huge improvement over my sleeping habits in general. I wouldn’t mind working so much if I felt like I had more time to meet people get integrated as well.
So, about my specific tutorials. I like them both. My primary is Rise of the Novel, so it’s eighteenth century literature. I love doing the reading, though to be honest these authors tend to be a bit sentimental for my taste. I can’t wait until the last book – any Austen novel I want! She’s so much less emotional, despite her reputation. I’ve gotten very good grades on all of my essays so far, and I really like my tutor. You might remember me telling you about him in my freshers’ week post – he’s the American who’s lived here since he went to York University as an undergraduate decades ago. Apparently he is the director of the university’s creative writing department and I’m going to be doing a fiction tutorial with him Trinity term (last term). !!!!! I was talking to him about this, and he says that I can work exclusively on a story that I’ve been writing for as long as I can remember and that I’ve always wanted to publish! Obviously this is terrifying, and I have second thoughts about it all the time. I know he’s going to be very honest. But I have to do it, right? Because right now I’ve got a one-on-one session about my obsession with the director of creative writing at the University of Oxford. !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! and also ??
My secondary is the French Revolution. I’ve only had one of these so far. My tutor is very passionate about the subject. She always talks about how the French Revolution is the best revolution and all of the people involved in it were like characters in a novel. I can tell that she’s nice too because she was so gracious about the whole 4:15/5:15 fiasco. I’m nervous about this one because I feel like I never have time to think about my secondary after doing all the work for my primary, but I guess I’ll just have to work as hard as I can…
That’s basically it for academics. Okay, got to get back to my reading. Bye!