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    Hi all. I've just completed my first term at Oxford studying English (I'd rather not say which college) and am finding it all a bit much really. The workload has been just about manageable, but I find myself having to work 10 times harder than others. Of course, I know some people are 'secret workers', but people on my course do so much less than me AND end up with better marks. I also find the classes very difficult, the others manage to offer intelligent responses to Old English (which I find utterly impossible) and keep discussion going, whereas I am usually confused as to what is going on! I just don't think I am good enough for Oxford and this course. My marks have by no means been bad, but I don't understand most of the topics and think I have 'blagged' my way through these essays. In fact, I definitely blagged my way into the university. I definitely don't belong there! The people are all remarkably intelligent, and I know I will fall behind soon.

    We have collections in a couple of weeks which I am dreading. I know I'll do badly in them - which I am fine with as a learning curve, but everyone else will so so well! I feel like the runt of the group in honesty. I can't imagine I'll perform better in Prelims at the end of the year and don't know hope I'll cope next term!

    I'm not looking for sympathy, this is really a chance to vent and look for any advice you guys might have. Thanks
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    Gonna sound generic but speak to your teachers,they are there to help. They want you to succeed almost as much as you do.
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    If your marks are doing ok youre probably doing better than you fine, the course is designed to be the best. Think about 4 years time and how graduating from oxford has changed your life, its not meant to be easy but look to the future


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    (Original post by john_bishop1)
    Hi all. I've just completed my first term at Oxford studying English (I'd rather not say which college) and am finding it all a bit much really. The workload has been just about manageable, but I find myself having to work 10 times harder than others. Of course, I know some people are 'secret workers', but people on my course do so much less than me AND end up with better marks. I also find the classes very difficult, the others manage to offer intelligent responses to Old English (which I find utterly impossible) and keep discussion going, whereas I am usually confused as to what is going on! I just don't think I am good enough for Oxford and this course. My marks have by no means been bad, but I don't understand most of the topics and think I have 'blagged' my way through these essays. In fact, I definitely blagged my way into the university. I definitely don't belong there! The people are all remarkably intelligent, and I know I will fall behind soon.

    We have collections in a couple of weeks which I am dreading. I know I'll do badly in them - which I am fine with as a learning curve, but everyone else will so so well! I feel like the runt of the group in honesty. I can't imagine I'll perform better in Prelims at the end of the year and don't know hope I'll cope next term!

    I'm not looking for sympathy, this is really a chance to vent and look for any advice you guys might have. Thanks

    I'm glad I'm not the only one like this, consolatory pint at chequers after collections is in order I think (and I think a lot of people are in the same boat tbh but don't say)
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    (Original post by john_bishop1)
    Hi all. I've just completed my first term at Oxford studying English (I'd rather not say which college) and am finding it all a bit much really. The workload has been just about manageable, but I find myself having to work 10 times harder than others. Of course, I know some people are 'secret workers', but people on my course do so much less than me AND end up with better marks. I also find the classes very difficult, the others manage to offer intelligent responses to Old English (which I find utterly impossible) and keep discussion going, whereas I am usually confused as to what is going on! I just don't think I am good enough for Oxford and this course. My marks have by no means been bad, but I don't understand most of the topics and think I have 'blagged' my way through these essays. In fact, I definitely blagged my way into the university. I definitely don't belong there! The people are all remarkably intelligent, and I know I will fall behind soon.

    We have collections in a couple of weeks which I am dreading. I know I'll do badly in them - which I am fine with as a learning curve, but everyone else will so so well! I feel like the runt of the group in honesty. I can't imagine I'll perform better in Prelims at the end of the year and don't know hope I'll cope next term!

    I'm not looking for sympathy, this is really a chance to vent and look for any advice you guys might have. Thanks
    These feelings really are very very common at Oxbridge. So do take comfort in the fact that plenty of other people will have felt the way you are feeling.

    Just keep working hard and see how the collections go. If they don't go to well, speak to your tutors etc, see if they can offer any help.
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    Dude you should be proud of yourself that you even got into oxford! Not many people can say that.

    Speak to your teachers about extra help, they are not there to screw you over!


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    You say you feel you are not doing very well on the course. As others have said, that's a common Oxford feeling: to feel like you shouldn't be there, that they made a mistake taking you in, etc. Are you enjoying the course, Old English aside?

    I was definitely the runt of the litter in my college. First year, I had NO idea what was going on or what I had let myself in for. Everything seemed overwhelming. I didn't do that well in Mods. In second year though, there was more choice. The modules were more interesting and more to my taste. I began to flourish. In some topics, I was doing way better than either of my two tutorial partners! Had it not been for my very poor state of health during my third year, I would have almost certainly got a pretty decent 2.1 at the end of it.

    First year and first term especially is always very hard. Speak to welfare staff and/or your college tutor. Make your feelings known and get some support. Feel free to PM me if that would help at all. I didn't do English but am a sympathetic ear :yes:
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    (Original post by The_Lonely_Goatherd)
    You say you feel you are not doing very well on the course. As others have said, that's a common Oxford feeling: to feel like you shouldn't be there, that they made a mistake taking you in, etc. Are you enjoying the course, Old English aside?

    I was definitely the runt of the litter in my college. First year, I had NO idea what was going on or what I had let myself in for. Everything seemed overwhelming. I didn't do that well in Mods. In second year though, there was more choice. The modules were more interesting and more to my taste. I began to flourish. In some topics, I was doing way better than either of my two tutorial partners! Had it not been for my very poor state of health during my third year, I would have almost certainly got a pretty decent 2.1 at the end of it.

    First year and first term especially is always very hard. Speak to welfare staff and/or your college tutor. Make your feelings known and get some support. Feel free to PM me if that would help at all. I didn't do English but am a sympathetic ear :yes:
    Thanks everyone. I'd be extremely happy with a 2:1 at the end of this year - the college just make you feel as if a mid 2:1 on an essay is basically a fail! I think I am probably overreacting but it's nice to get everyone's advice. The course is good - just the speed of everything is unreal so you don't get the chance to enjoy it. I do feel a bit restricted in options this year and hope that will improve. Thanks again.
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    (Original post by john_bishop1)
    Thanks everyone. I'd be extremely happy with a 2:1 at the end of this year - the college just make you feel as if a mid 2:1 on an essay is basically a fail! I think I am probably overreacting but it's nice to get everyone's advice. The course is good - just the speed of everything is unreal so you don't get the chance to enjoy it. I do feel a bit restricted in options this year and hope that will improve. Thanks again.
    You're not overreacting at all: it's a big shock to the system and a big lifestyle change. You shouldn't underestimate that :nah: Don't let your college tutors or college in general warp your mind to think that a good 2.1 on an essay is a fail! I know that's very easy to say and extremely hard to take onboard when you're in that environment but it's honestly a really good mark if you're getting mid 2.1s in your first term! You should be proud of yourself! :hugs:
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    (Original post by john_bishop1)
    Hi all. I've just completed my first term at Oxford studying English (I'd rather not say which college) and am finding it all a bit much really. The workload has been just about manageable, but I find myself having to work 10 times harder than others. Of course, I know some people are 'secret workers', but people on my course do so much less than me AND end up with better marks. I also find the classes very difficult, the others manage to offer intelligent responses to Old English (which I find utterly impossible) and keep discussion going, whereas I am usually confused as to what is going on! I just don't think I am good enough for Oxford and this course. My marks have by no means been bad, but I don't understand most of the topics and think I have 'blagged' my way through these essays. In fact, I definitely blagged my way into the university. I definitely don't belong there! The people are all remarkably intelligent, and I know I will fall behind soon.

    We have collections in a couple of weeks which I am dreading. I know I'll do badly in them - which I am fine with as a learning curve, but everyone else will so so well! I feel like the runt of the group in honesty. I can't imagine I'll perform better in Prelims at the end of the year and don't know hope I'll cope next term!

    I'm not looking for sympathy, this is really a chance to vent and look for any advice you guys might have. Thanks
    I've applied for English there this year, you're filling me with confidence...

    But all I'd say is the tutors have probably interviewed hundreds of candidates, so they've got a good idea of who's going to be right for the course or not, and if they thought you were good enough that must count for something!
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    (Original post by john_bishop1)
    Hi all. I've just completed my first term at Oxford studying English (I'd rather not say which college) and am finding it all a bit much really. The workload has been just about manageable, but I find myself having to work 10 times harder than others. Of course, I know some people are 'secret workers', but people on my course do so much less than me AND end up with better marks. I also find the classes very difficult, the others manage to offer intelligent responses to Old English (which I find utterly impossible) and keep discussion going, whereas I am usually confused as to what is going on! I just don't think I am good enough for Oxford and this course. My marks have by no means been bad, but I don't understand most of the topics and think I have 'blagged' my way through these essays. In fact, I definitely blagged my way into the university. I definitely don't belong there! The people are all remarkably intelligent, and I know I will fall behind soon.

    We have collections in a couple of weeks which I am dreading. I know I'll do badly in them - which I am fine with as a learning curve, but everyone else will so so well! I feel like the runt of the group in honesty. I can't imagine I'll perform better in Prelims at the end of the year and don't know hope I'll cope next term!

    I'm not looking for sympathy, this is really a chance to vent and look for any advice you guys might have. Thanks


    Hi!

    Just wanted to say, as others have said, that this is a really, really common feeling. I've just finished my first term doing History, and I'm sure you'll agree when I say that it's easily the hardest thing I've ever done in my life! :P I feel like the work is pretty constant, and intense, but I think the main thing about Oxford is that it's ok to not understand about 80% of everything you read, because that's not the point; we're there to learn what we can and just keep applying ourselves to it!

    It may seem like you're working harder than everyone else, but is that just because you don't see others working? (E.g., I often study in town, rather than in my college library or room, and I rarely see people I know, but I know that they must do their work somewhere!) Also, there's a lot to be said for people working at different times of the day. I prefer to work between the hours of 9/10 until 5pm, including lectures, tutorials, anything else, but other people on my course get up later and work until they go out clubbing! So maybe it just seems like you're having to work harder, after all, no one wants to admit how hard they're having to work!

    An example:

    For my tutorials last term we had to email eachother (4 of us in the group) our essays the night before, and then obviously discuss them the next day. I was the last person in the group to be singled out to have my essay read out. Now, for weeks I had gone around thinking about how much better everyone else's essays were, and I finally decided to tell them after that tutorial - and something amazing happened - it turned out everyone thought that their own essay was the worst! For weeks we'd all been sitting in silence worrying, and feeling inferior, and now we've come to the conclusion that we all have very different strengthes and weaknesses, so we don't compare our work in that way any more, we just see what we can learn from each other

    Oh, and if English is anything like History, the classes ARE really hard. It's not in your head. Everyone else is just guessing, playing a waiting game (e.g., listening to what other people say and then getting a foothold on the discussion from that!). I hardly ever follow a complete discussion through from start to finish, I just make notes on what I do understand, and if I need help, I ask for it. I don't mind looking stupid for a minute if it benefits my entire degree to get some clarification on a difficult topic!

    You ARE good enough. The fact that you are thinking like this proves that you have the dedication and commitment to study that Oxford wants and requires. If you weren't good enough you wouldn't have gotten in (otherwise they would have harder entry requirements!). Everyone (except for those few cocky, misguided people) feels to some extent as if they are not good enough for Oxford (despite getting in) because of all the hype that is Oxford. Seriously, try not to stress, my tutor said the first term is supposed to be "an unsettling experience"...and so it was!

    Just keep working hard, but not too hard. Perhaps join a society unrelated to your degree subject, or take up a sport, or just do something not related to studying, as a stress relief? I know I really need to take advantage of more of the stuff avaliable at Oxford, it's just been a very overwhelming first term!

    So, to conclude;

    Collections = try your best, look over your notes from last term, look at some past paper questions, just think about how you might answer them, bearing in mind that they wouldn't expect you to be a genius, they just want you to get used to the exam style and timing really.

    (You said yourself your marks aren't bad, so there's no real cause for concern, if you honestly weren't coping your tutors would notice and have meetings with you etc.)

    Prelims = still many months away. Again, try not to panic too much in advance, just keep going, learn from collections (which we haven't even done yet!) and remember your mark in Prelims DOESN'T go towards your final degree mark. So that's a relief!

    Feel free to PM me, or join the current Oxford Chat thread, we have loads of friendly Oxford TSR 1st years on here, who would be happy to help/ just chat! Good luck preparing for collections, and seriously, don't worry about anyone else's progress but your own, it really doesn't matter how you do in relation to anyone else! (At my college my college mum said that people never really "share" exam grades, so no one knows if you've ever done badly anyway!)

    You'll be fine! :rolleyes:
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    Hey OP,

    I can't really speak for English, since I don't study it there. However, don't feel disheartened. You're not the first person, neither will you be the last person to have second thoughts as to why you ended up at Oxford. It's a common feeling, nothing to be ashamed of. Always remember that you were chosen to study there after a long-ass process, out of many other people who were unsuccessful. Tutors don't simply pick you based on the finished product, they pick you on potential, and they must have seen something in you to give you a place. Indeed, some people fulfill their potential, but others don't. Visualise this: which camp do you want to be in?

    Just to clarify though, is it the workload you're concerned about, or English as a subject? The workload can be remedied with hard and smart graft, but if you don't like the subject, than that's a more difficult problem.

    Also, don't harbor any kind of inferiority complex towards your classmates. Despite all the incisive remarks they make in discussions (to their credit of course), if they are geniuses already, they should be teaching classes, not studying them like you!

    I've had some dodgy tutorials in my time, and handed in one or two ragtag essays (not that I recommend making a habit out of it), but it really isn't the end of the world . Just move on to the next one, and review what went wrong when you have a bit more free time. Like Maxisussex said, speak to your tutors too - that's why they're there.

    As for collections - it depends which college you're doing yours at. Some colleges take them pretty seriously (way more seriously than they're worth in my opinion), while others are a bit more laid back about it.

    Putting it bluntly: if you get a 1st - that's fantastic. If you get a 2.1 - that's great. If you get a 2.2 - that's ok, could definitely be better since you won't really want a Desmond for your Finals. However, for collections, it isn't a reason to kick you out. Infact, I know people who've gotten 2.2s in Prelims and stayed on (though I wouldn't recommend this either). I'll be honest with you though - a 3rd for a humanities subject isn't so good, and is likely to bother your tutors. Anything below 40% is c**p and seldom heard of anyway.

    Since your imminent challenge is collections, I'd recommend that you cram your heart out while you still have time, tackle those papers, and drink that pint with relish afterwards.

    Peace
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    Just to echo what everyone else has said

    - feeling like you aren't supposed to be here/your tutors picked the wrong person/you are falling behind/you will end up failing <-- from my understanding, all these negative feelings are quite common in Oxford and mostly everyone (minus the odd genius) gets them at some point in their degree. My tutorial partner is absolutely amazing and comes up with these ingenious viewpoints in tutorials whereas I usually either sit there looking all goggled - eyed or end up patching up the awkward silences by saying something more generic than what you can whip out of a textbook. Feeling inadequate and inapt in the face of greatness pretty much summed up my first year at Oxford. My collections were also mediocre, never terrible but never fantastic either. I still felt like I was going to fail by the end of Trinity but somehow ended up with a high upper second. I am still feeling the same way in my second year but have learnt to let it go and just concentrate on enjoying the learning process.

    Point: Don't be disheartened. You are supposed to feel pushed. I am really glad you are enjoying your course (minus the stress and Old English)! So stick with it and like everyone else has said, it'll get better later on when you get more freedom with what you are learning.
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    Oxbridge is hard, but try to talk to people/ tutor and do not get bogged down.

    Always be proactive, the change from A level's to Oxbridge degree is really huge...
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    Thanks everyone for the advice. I'll get going with revision for these collections then! Hopefully things improve, and thanks again
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    Having looked at the English syllabus at Oxford before I know that there are some parts which I'd absolutely detest, seems to me like you're probably just in one you really don't like. Stick it out, no-one gets into Oxford without being able to cope, if you're grades are fine then you're doing fine. Keep your chin up :-)


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    You;d probably feel the same at any other reasonable university, don't get hung up on your own hype. By your own admission your marks are fine. You say you have to work 10 times harder than everybody else, but you wouldn't be posting here if for every hour the average worked you did 10 hours of work.

    Most people feel that they blag their way through their course but thats a given with the nature of a humanities degree. Unless you read academic articles and think 'my work could be next to theirs' then your work is always going to seem bad, thats just how it is. If you want to be submitting work safe in the knowledge that you couldn't have answered any better, your only option really is to do maths or another objective subject where a right answer to a problem is as good as it can possibly be.

    And ironically if you have the motivation to go do a subjective subject at Oxford, you probably want to give in answers that are as good as they can possibly be and are the sort of person that imagines other peoples argument sound rather good. The key is to recognize that it is simply unattainable, and either focus on the mark on your work as a measure of your ability, or write essays in a way that you find enjoyable and are satisfied with their intrinsic value. Probably less than 5% of people are writing essays that are intrinsically enjoyable and immensely satisfying in their own right, and then handing them in and getting better than everyone else.


    Short version: If you want to think 'my answer couldn't have been any better' when submitting work, you need to recognize that this sort of standard is not applicable to your subject. If you want to think 'I'm on the same stage as most people on my course' (understanding wise, response wise, aptitude wise), you need to realize that this sort of standard is only applicable to your work insofar as the mark your tutors put on your essays.
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    Just to let you all know, I revised a lot for the collection and got 67! I'm incredibly happy and needed this confidence boost. THANKS for all of your help and advice
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    (Original post by john_bishop1)
    Just to let you all know, I revised a lot for the collection and got 67! I'm incredibly happy and needed this confidence boost. THANKS for all of your help and advice
    Fab stuff! Well done! :hugs:
 
 
 
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