Thursday, October 23, 2008

The All-Purpose Oxford Update

So I realized that even though I currently don't have any new photos, I do need to update my blog. Readers of my previous efforts will remember that I am not the world's most fastidious updater. Shut up. Although this might have been prompted by me having a dream last night that I would get $11 for every blog post and doing my best to bring my subconscious to life (yes, I am poor) it would also behoove me just to keep a semi-regular record so when I make references to things in the future, you will have some clue as to what I am talking about. But in general, I am not updating not because I am a lazy slob (debate me on that point later if you must) but because I am really, really busy. Take yesterday for example. Up bright and early, a half-hour walk to Wadham to return my library books and meet up with the school chaplain and four other student tutors, then take a bus out to the Oxford suburbs to tour the primary school where we'll be working.

(NB: I am now a member of said student tutoring program, which is a weekly commitment to take the bus out to Blackbird Leys and spend an hour or two both reading with the kids and providing a kind of big-sister support they may not get at home. It sounds like a lot of fun and a great opportunity, and I'm looking forward to it officially kicking off in two weeks). Once we got back from the school, it was lunchtime, so I had time to scarf down a Cornish pasty and a milkshake (found a great little shake store with a lot of character) and do some reading before packing up and heading off to my psych tutorial. (Tutorials, in case I haven't fully explained, are the core of the Oxford educational system and consist of your tutor assigning you a stack of books/research papers to read, and an essay or presentation to write, then you get to sit there for an hour and basically listen to them give you detailed point-by-point feedback on what they think you need to do better. It is an intellectually humiliating but ultimately worthwhile experience, and the SLC system is based in part on that -- we have regular classes and classwork, but we also meet every other week with our professor in order to pursue an independent topic that we then write a very long "conference paper" about at the end of term. So SLC has prepared me for this, and I imagine it would be a shock if I was coming from a big state university).

In any case, once the tutorial was over, I had gotten hit with another stack of homework for the next one -- books, papers, etc. etc. So I went to the Experimental Psychology library to pick them up, but since they were overnight-only loan (lame) I took them back to Wadham and parked in the Wadham library for the afternoon, read them and took notes on those bad boys, then went all the way back to the Experimental Psych library (getting dizzy yet?) to return them, before going (yes) all the way back to Wadham again for a meeting on the other half of the student tutoring program. (Do your feet get frequent walker miles? Maybe I'll get crap for free). Anyway, that means I'm going to London tomorrow (Friday) after my writing tutorial, to work with two other students to put on a workshop about the Normans. (So it's my task to get them to do creative pieces about William and Harold. Okay, I can handle that).

I've spent the afternoon doing some housecleaning and reading my way furiously through three of the four books I need to have finished by tomorrow, which has been enjoyable. It's actually raining here, which is not as expected as it might sound (the weather has, for the most part, been great). Quiet evening, maybe some dinner later, and then busy tomorrow before the weekend hits. That's not too much different, as I no longer have Saturdays (they are used to write my psychology essays, since that's the first off-day I have) but at least I have Sundays, in which I have continued my long-established routine of finding a coffee shop and chilling for a few hours before attending the Wadham College Evensong service, which is transformative and beautiful. I have quite enjoyed being able to reconstruct a spiritual side of myself, and Oxford has helped tremendously with that, among others. I have found myself thinking of it as home, even my little flat out here on Iffley Road with my three other flat-mates. I'm always out, doing things, keeping busy, seeing people, planning, and not to mention, all that homework. Yeesh. Still, I wouldn't have it any other way.

In summation: yes, alive, yes, happy, yes, busy. Whoof. I'll check in again whenever I feel like it's been a while or something interesting happens, whichever happens first.

1 comment:

Gillian said...

Yes, please do keep up the updates, even when you don't have pictures. :)