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Freshers' Week

Written by Eleanor Sanger, posted on Friday, September 28, 2018

Students in Tom QuadFreshers' week is almost upon us! At Oxford, this comes in 0th week of Michaelmas Term, which is the week before full term starts again (in 1st week). During this week, students who’ve already started at Oxford will return to their colleges for the new academic year, and first year students, known as Freshers, will arrive in Oxford for the very first time! You can find out more about the first few weeks here - plus Oxford SU (the students' union) has some useful information for freshers on their website.

The week itself is packed with things to do, both within your college and your faculty. You’ll find yourself racing across Oxford and attempting to remember how to get to places as you try to get from a meeting in college to a library induction on the other side of the city – but this in itself is pretty good preparation for future noble efforts to drag yourself out of bed and cycle across Oxford in time for 9am lectures (this handy map might come in useful!). You’ll have tours of college so you’ll be able to make a start at getting to know your way around (although this may take some time…), plus evening events where you can see the beautiful Cathedral by candlelight!

One of the first things you’ll find yourself doing in freshers’ week is a lot of admin! In college you’ll have registration meetings, as well as opportunities to get financial and medical advice should you need it. There are plenty of people all around college who are well equipped to deal with any problems you might run into during your first days in Oxford (and beyond!), so this week will be a good opportunity to find out who they are. There's more useful information to take a look at on our website

There will also be a wide range of talks and workshops for you to attend, including a meeting about welfare provision, talks on your college’s history, advice on emotional resilience, and workshops on subjects as wide-ranging as tutorials, consent, diversity and respect, and LGBTQ+. You’ll also have library inductions, both general and relating specifically to your subject. You don’t want to miss these – as you will no doubt soon discover, the libraries (and the librarians) are your friends. You can also go to other events for groups that you feel you particularly identify with, such as a First Generation tea for those who are the first in their family to go to university, and an LGBTQ+ tea.

The HallDuring this week you’ll also meet your tutors again for the first time since your interviews! This may be slightly nerve-wracking (especially as – spoiler alert – they’re going to give you a load of work to be getting on with), but in reality it’s your chance to meet the people who’ll be teaching you at least for your first year, and find out a bit more about them. All of the freshers studying your course will have a group meeting with your tutors at some point during the week, but there will also be opportunities to meet them in more informal settings, such as at welcome parties and subject dinners.

Which brings us on to one of the most important things about college life – the food! At Christ Church you’ll get 2-3 meals in Hall every day – and eating your dinner in the amazing surroundings of the Hall definitely takes a while to get used to! Some of the dinners throughout the week will be particularly special, such as a college family formal, where you’ll get to know your college parents and siblings, and the Freshers’ Dinner. There will also be informal subject teas (where you’ll get to meet everyone at your college who studies your subject), tea and cake with the Chaplain, and a welfare tea that’s the perfect chance to take a break and enjoy a range of delicious snacks. It really does give you a taste of things to come.

A jazz group performingAnd of course, there’s plenty of fun stuff to look forward to as part of freshers’ week! There will be organised club nights every evening, but for those who don’t like clubbing there will be lots of other options as well, including a quiz, ice skating, jazz, a movie night, and the college BOP, a fancy dress party in college on Saturday night that all the students can go to. There will be opportunities to get involved in sport and fitness, including a table tennis competition, yoga, a sports taster session at the sports ground and a rowing BBQ, and you’ll be able to go to the university freshers’ fair, plus one organised by college, to sign up for a huge number of societies whose emails will clog up your inbox for the rest of your time here. At the end of the week there will be a freshers’ evensong and drinks in the Cathedral, which is a really special occasion even if you’re not religious.

There are lots of things to look forward to in freshers’ week – and although it sounds hectic there will also be plenty of chances to relax and take a breath after all of these new experiences, whether that’s chilling in the college bar with some of your fellow freshers, or taking some time out for a walk around the meadow or a run in the University Parks. Make the most of every opportunity – and most importantly, have fun!