PPE at Oxford
Hey! My name is Sal (he/him) and I am a 1st year undergraduate studying Philosophy, Politics and Economics (PPE) at Somerville College, Oxford.
I have been lucky over Michaelmas and Hilary terms (1st and 2nd terms respectively) in the sense that I have been in Oxford for both – though as things currently stand, most students are not back. This has put me in the fortunate position of being able to use a lot of the University’s resources, such as libraries and good study facilities.
I will describe my typical Tuesday of Hilary term. I usually woke up at 8am and did ‘morning’ things, like having breakfast and preparing myself. On most days, I would never be awake this early (usually a bit more like 10am/11am) – but on Tuesdays I had Logic lectures at 9am. The lecture usually lasted one hour but required some prereading which I did the day before. Though most lectures are not compulsory to attend, this series of lectures was because it was given by our own College tutor for our Advanced Logic classes.
After finishing the lecture at around 10am, I usually went through the notes and ensured I understood everything. If I did not, I would send an email to my tutor and ask for clarification so that I am ready to do the work later. I would usually be finished with this by around 11am.
I would then meet my friends in either the corridor or in one of their rooms, where we would discuss our plans for the day and if we wanted to do anything together. Most of the times we would decide to go on a walk later in the evening, but occasionally we would do other things like having a movie night or doing Come Dine with Me (which was great!). I do this until around lunchtime (12pm), when I would make myself some food in the kitchen.
I had a tutorial (tute) at 5:20pm, so for the five hours between lunch and the tute, I spent doing some of my reading for Moral Philosophy. There were usually around four pieces we had to read – they were never full books and were often chapters of longer books or articles. On days when I have a tutorial earlier in the day, for example at 11am or 10am, I would usually spend a few hours after the tute where I ‘rest’ (tutes are intense, and sometimes you need a breather before you can start working again!). So, depending on when my main tute is, my working hours would change. If I had an early tute, I would work late on that day, and if I had a late tute, I would usually finish with work early and would socialise/walk with friends.
After my tute, I would have tea (that’s ‘dinner’ for Northerners!) and talk to my mates and relax for a bit. The length of this depends on entirely how much work I did earlier on the day and if I plan to stay up for the night. I found I pulled a fair number of late nights working. However, this is easily avoidable if you work earlier or organise your schedule a bit better! On this day, however, at around 8pm, I would go back to my room and start working on my Logic exercise which is due the following day. I tended to get around a quarter to a half the way through it before I gave up or got bored. On most days, and mostly by choice, I went to bed between 11pm – 2am, but, once again, this is because I chose to do this and not because it is reflective of a typical Oxbridge student experience!
As for extracurricular, I was not able to do much because of current circumstances. However, over Hilary term, our Junior Common Room (JCR) was reworking our Constitution and I joined the Constitutional Review Committee. This was a rather enjoyable experience, and I spent a few hours every few days working on it.