Wellesley College, Academic Year 2014-15
It’s 9 am and I stroll to the Radcliff Camera to begin my tutorial readings. The narrow cobblestone streets are nestled in between limestone, gothic colleges as the morning light kisses the tress in the colleges’ gardens. My time in the library is focused as I delve into John Locke’s Treatises of Government. Last week it was Hobbes’s Leviathan. The Rad Cam is my favorite place to study. The natural light brightens the room, highlighting the beautiful architectural details of the domed ceiling. There’s a sense that many leaders, thinkers, and writers-as students- spent hours in this centuries-old space enthralled by the leather bound books.
I take my study break at Vaults & Gardens, a café nestled under the University Church. The café’ is in Oxford University’s first listed Old congregation house built in 1320 and serves the best cream tea.
I begin my paper carefully crafting an introduction because my tutor and I have been working on improving introductions in my papers. With Oxford’s writing intensive curriculum and the opportunity to work one-on-one with a tutor each week, my writing has improved ten-fold.
A few days later I step foot in a tutorial. They can be intimidating but often they are engaging and challenging, exercising my brain in a new way. To me, what was most remarkable about the tutorial system was the personal relationships I developed with my tutors.
I have a busy afternoon and evening. I head to my field hockey match where Keble is playing in the Cupper’s final. I love the low-key, friendly competition between the 38 colleges and all the social events and activities that go hand with hand with college sport teams. That evening I’ve booked into formal dinner at Keble. Dinner is in Keble dining hall, with fully set long tables and ornate stained-glass windows. After I get together with friends from CMRS, Keble, and new friends from other American college and maybe begin a pub-hop. Oxford is full of old pubs, each of which has their own history, stories, personality, and specialty.
As I reflect on my time at Oxford, I write this with nostalgia but also with a tremendous sense of accomplishment. At Oxford I became more confident. I grew as a student. I met new people, friends, and mentors. My time at Oxford helped me realize what my strengths were. My time was full of growth, adventure, and experiences.