The Oxford term officially started this week. Which means that, after two weeks of traipsing around the city streets and going fun places and snapping photos like a tourist, I'm finally settling down into some real work. (Oh yeah, coming to Oxford isn't exactly a vacation...)
My Stanford classes are in full gear with papers due already, as well as some pretty heavy reading. I had my first tutorial yesterday, in which we sat down and mapped out my readings for the remaining seven weeks. I'm lucky in this regard - lots of other students are already drowning in their tutorial work, with lengthy papers being assigned ahead of time. (With strange, seemingly inexhaustible general philosophical prompts like "Do human rights exist?" and "What is creativity?")
Still, my readings for my tutorial, on the 19th-century British novel, have involved lots of secondary sources, which results in me hunkering down in the library surrounded by stacks of books. Even though these books are only "recommended," I feel like I need the broader perspective they offer - and find them interesting besides!
Starting the Oxford term has brought about work of a different sort: that is, deciding which Oxford activities to get involved in. Last week was orientation week for the Oxford freshmen ("freshers"), and the Stanford students took advantage of the activities fair ("freshers' fair") that took place Wednesday through Friday. This was like the Stanford activities fair on steroids. It was almost too much for me: crowded booths, visual overstimulation, enthusiastic (slash aggressive) Oxford students jumping out with sales pitches for their clubs. Interesting but random activities aside (archery, outdoors club, wine tasting club, range shooting) I've narrowed my interest down to three candidates: rowing, riding, and polo. Or maybe even some combination of the above. It'll be nice to get out and get physical again. Not to mention see a horse, hopefully!
My slightly alarming busy-ness aside, here's the random photo of the day, from Oxford's University Parks - England can be stunning when it's sunny!