Trials and Charms of the Ox

Samantha Loria
November 7, 2014

Oxford. Woah. I’m here.
Sitting in a café in November, with a candle burning on the table in front of me, and just generally a lot of sweaters everywhere. I don’t really know how to describe this place except maybe to start with a stereotypical vision and build off of that. On the night before we left London, we watched the movie Riot Club in the “cinema”; a movie based on an elite club called the Bullingdon Club that actually exists in Oxford, and whose membership is stereotypically posh, wealthy boys who drink and pillage to their hearts’ content and then leave large sums of cash to pay for the damage. Obviously (hopefully) the horrifying pretentiousness and lack of respect is at least partially dramatized but it was nevertheless an interesting last-minute addition to my pre-conceived concept of Oxford on the night before our arrival.
Luckily everyone here is not like that. I can happily report that, even at Oxford, people are people. Kindness and pretentiousness are not characters of countries or universities but of people and I have not encountered anything to either of those ends which I haven’t encountered at some earlier point in my life. “Freshers” are the confused subjects of upperclassmen’s jokes, the struggle to find balance between partying and studying rages on, and few people really know where they are going to end up in life. For every suit and man scarf, there’s a guitar bag and a pair of sneakers coming around the corner. And while I get the feeling that St. Catherine’s is the social equivalent of the fun, rebellious younger sister of the other colleges, everyone who I have personally encountered has been great.
The two biggest differences that I can perceive are the concentration of intensity and the concentration of archaic tradition that exists here. Intensity in the form of talent, work ethic, wealth, and castles; archaic tradition in the form of large patches of grass that no one is allowed to walk on and standing up at the beginning of formal college dinners in the dining hall to wait in silence until the Master pounds his gavel and calls dinner into motion. The whole thing is at once completely surreal and strangely familiar.

More Blogs From This Author

View All Blogs

Samantha Loria

<p><span style="color: rgb(29, 29, 29); font-family: Arial, Verdana, sans-serif; font-size: 12px; line-height: normal; background-color: rgb(237, 237, 237);">Samantha Loria is a junior Molecular Genetics/History double major at the University of Rochester in Western New York. She is an Irish Dancer, loves music and learning from all kinds of people and is going on the adventure of her life at Oxford University! She plans on soaking up all the culture, knowledge, and nature that she can handle and here, in this blog, she will seek to pass along all of the wisdom that she encounters, the emotions that she feels, and the incredible sights that she sees on this great journey. Come, explore, and learn!</span></p>

Home University:
University of Rochester
Biological Sciences
Explore Blogs