As you can probably guess I am a student at Oxford University, and at Oxford one thing that is very weird is that we have almost a whole language just to communicate with other Oxford students. We have very regimented 8 week terms with everything being laid out according to this system “deadline is Tuesday of fourth week”, “tutorials will be on even Mondays at 3pm” which makes life very easy to navigate; I haven’t needed to know the date since I got back here.
One thing that does worryingly strike me is that we have the phrase “fifth week blues”. This refers to the fact that everyone gets considerably sadder in fifth week, this is probably partly due to the fact that Oxford does not do reading weeks. Other universities will have a reading week around about five weeks into the term at least for some subjects allowing students to catch up on work/reading or visit friends and family.
I worry about a university in which the students have a term for when everyone gets sadder as I think that it highlights an issue in Oxford’s care for students. However I think that everybody is able to get through it through a mixture of reluctance to admit failure, and the incredible welfare system that we have available. I think the system can vary from college to college but on the whole most students have welfare officers, college parents, peer supporters and subject mentors. These people are invaluable and their efforts make lives feel so much better.
As much as we often complain about fifth week, it has become something that inevitably helps you to work harder, as you try to stay on top amidst the essay crises. Although, I doubt that I’ll miss it when I’ve left uni.