Anonymous #1
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I’m a fresher studying English at Oxford uni. We’re a week away from the end of term but my health, both physical and mental, has gone to ****. I started freshers week as someone who was very optimistic, social, engaged with my course and independent. I’ve made a lot of friends in my college but I just don’t like it. I don’t like the place; I don’t like my course (I love the material but can’t stand the way we have to approach it); my college is further from the city centre which means there’s a big boarding school vibe (which multiple people have commented on) that I dislike because I’m a fairly independent person and I feel like more of a child living here than living at home; the food is **** (mushroom and gherkin curry??!); and it feels like a lot of the people have sticks up their arses - yes they’re fun, but they’re painfully conventional. I was full of energy at the start of term and now I’ve lost it all. I speak to people I know from home and they pick up immediately on the fact that I’m struggling. The biggest thing keeping me from dropping out is my fear of disappointing my parents, because they worked so hard for me to have a good education. I just don’t think this is a good education and I would rather go to Bristol and enjoy being young rather than be cramped up in stuffy Oxford.
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Professional G
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(Original post by Anonymous)
I’m a fresher studying English at Oxford uni. We’re a week away from the end of term but my health, both physical and mental, has gone to ****. I started freshers week as someone who was very optimistic, social, engaged with my course and independent. I’ve made a lot of friends in my college but I just don’t like it. I don’t like the place; I don’t like my course (I love the material but can’t stand the way we have to approach it); my college is further from the city centre which means there’s a big boarding school vibe (which multiple people have commented on) that I dislike because I’m a fairly independent person and I feel like more of a child living here than living at home; the food is **** (mushroom and gherkin curry??!); and it feels like a lot of the people have sticks up their arses - yes they’re fun, but they’re painfully conventional. I was full of energy at the start of term and now I’ve lost it all. I speak to people I know from home and they pick up immediately on the fact that I’m struggling. The biggest thing keeping me from dropping out is my fear of disappointing my parents, because they worked so hard for me to have a good education. I just don’t think this is a good education and I would rather go to Bristol and enjoy being young rather than be cramped up in stuffy Oxford.
This is why it’s important to ask others what it’s like at Oxford. Then again, nothing can really prepare you for your own experience. Maybe it’s better to see how this one year goes then change your mind.
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hallaluliah
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(Original post by Anonymous)
I’m a fresher studying English at Oxford uni. We’re a week away from the end of term but my health, both physical and mental, has gone to ****. I started freshers week as someone who was very optimistic, social, engaged with my course and independent. I’ve made a lot of friends in my college but I just don’t like it. I don’t like the place; I don’t like my course (I love the material but can’t stand the way we have to approach it); my college is further from the city centre which means there’s a big boarding school vibe (which multiple people have commented on) that I dislike because I’m a fairly independent person and I feel like more of a child living here than living at home; the food is **** (mushroom and gherkin curry??!); and it feels like a lot of the people have sticks up their arses - yes they’re fun, but they’re painfully conventional. I was full of energy at the start of term and now I’ve lost it all. I speak to people I know from home and they pick up immediately on the fact that I’m struggling. The biggest thing keeping me from dropping out is my fear of disappointing my parents, because they worked so hard for me to have a good education. I just don’t think this is a good education and I would rather go to Bristol and enjoy being young rather than be cramped up in stuffy Oxford.
I think your parents would want you to be happy and if ur not happy at oxford then go to bristol, your mental health is very important. Do a course you're passionate about that every time you enter the uni you feel excited and at peace. if I were you I would drop out however you could give oxford a chance and see if the year progresses but it would be a risky ride lol, Good luck!
Last edited by hallaluliah; 1 week ago
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Maturestudent9
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I am a parent and I imagine that your parents think like me and only care about your happiness. Stuff the prestige etc, if you don't like it you need to speak to them. That said, I have a child in second year at Oxford who really didn't like first year and is loving it now. I also have a child who ran a mile at the very thought of the place and got a great degree at another university and is very successfully pursuing a career now. Maybe give it time; but if you are sure it isn't for you, speak to your parents and get out fast (before second term when you'll be hit for more fees). Good luck - this is not a failure, so don't see it that way. You are young and have time to change track - a year or two out can be a really good thing. Take care.
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Reality Check
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(Original post by Anonymous)
I’m a fresher studying English at Oxford uni. We’re a week away from the end of term but my health, both physical and mental, has gone to ****. I started freshers week as someone who was very optimistic, social, engaged with my course and independent. I’ve made a lot of friends in my college but I just don’t like it. I don’t like the place; I don’t like my course (I love the material but can’t stand the way we have to approach it); my college is further from the city centre which means there’s a big boarding school vibe (which multiple people have commented on) that I dislike because I’m a fairly independent person and I feel like more of a child living here than living at home; the food is **** (mushroom and gherkin curry??!); and it feels like a lot of the people have sticks up their arses - yes they’re fun, but they’re painfully conventional. I was full of energy at the start of term and now I’ve lost it all. I speak to people I know from home and they pick up immediately on the fact that I’m struggling. The biggest thing keeping me from dropping out is my fear of disappointing my parents, because they worked so hard for me to have a good education. I just don’t think this is a good education and I would rather go to Bristol and enjoy being young rather than be cramped up in stuffy Oxford.
I'm just going to tag in The_Lonely_Goatherd here, who will be able to give you some excellent advice.
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ashibo
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Try transferring to another college/course and see if it works out. If not, most of the clout is getting into Oxford, so moving wouldn't be that deep.
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Reality Check
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(Original post by Anonymous)
I’m a fresher studying English at Oxford uni. We’re a week away from the end of term but my health, both physical and mental, has gone to ****. I started freshers week as someone who was very optimistic, social, engaged with my course and independent. I’ve made a lot of friends in my college but I just don’t like it. I don’t like the place; I don’t like my course (I love the material but can’t stand the way we have to approach it); my college is further from the city centre which means there’s a big boarding school vibe (which multiple people have commented on) that I dislike because I’m a fairly independent person and I feel like more of a child living here than living at home; the food is **** (mushroom and gherkin curry??!); and it feels like a lot of the people have sticks up their arses - yes they’re fun, but they’re painfully conventional. I was full of energy at the start of term and now I’ve lost it all. I speak to people I know from home and they pick up immediately on the fact that I’m struggling. The biggest thing keeping me from dropping out is my fear of disappointing my parents, because they worked so hard for me to have a good education. I just don’t think this is a good education and I would rather go to Bristol and enjoy being young rather than be cramped up in stuffy Oxford.
In the meantime, what I would say is that Oxford isn't the be-all and end-all, and it doesn't suit everyone, in the same way as Cambridge doesn't.

You are only at the end of the Michaelmas term, but this clearly isn't a kneejerk reaction. Have you really not found anyone on your wavelength - it's a big old university? How about clubs and societies?

I think what I'm saying is that your feelings are entirely valid and probably more common than you'd think. But I'd try making it better first before taking the nuclear option of dropping out. I'm trying to get a sense of what you could yet do to make your situation better or, indeed, if there is anything.
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threeportdrift
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(Original post by Anonymous)
..............
Not to belittle your feelings about life at Oxford, but just be aware that this is a relatively common response at both Oxford and Cambridge, and many people find it turns around given some time. A lot of your colleagues will be uber-focussed and intense this first term with the pressure of expectation, moving away, keeping up, independence etc. It may just be that you are ahead of them on this adjustment curve and they will catch up.

Bristol is great, but make sure you've really given Oxford a chance to loosen up a bit.
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Anonymous #1
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Thank you everyone for the comments. Something I am also considering is rusticating/suspending for the rest of this academic year, or for part of it, and deciding if I want to go back. I just feel like I’m not developing here, and I think that yes, I will adapt to it, but that it will be a sort of personal regression.

I have struggled with my mental health in the past, but this time it feels like my issues are contained within Oxford and that I’d be happier elsewhere. I studied extremely hard for my A Levels and my results would get me into any English Literature course in the UK and Ireland.

My main reason for wanting to study here was a passion for English (both literature and language, which is the course here), but I have learnt that the style of academic study here isn’t really something I enjoy. I do have reservations that it may be similar at other universities, but even so it would feel a lot less restricted - with our classes and tutorials within college (which I had looked forward to), it feels like nothing is really given in-depth consideration as we are encouraged towards a snappy, debate-like style that I find frustrating.


I read voraciously and would like to write in the future (fiction, journalism - whatever sticks), and so I don’t overly value the prestige of an Oxford degree because my employment would be less dependent on my degree than on my writing ability.

Evidently I haven’t made a decision and it has been helpful to get some more views of my situation, so thanks.
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Kryptonitekid43
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Op can you please PM me, I’ve applied to Oxford but ur experience is exactly what I was afraid of so I’d like to find out more if you don’t mind.
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The_Lonely_Goatherd
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Thanks for the tag, RC :hugs:

OK so I've read through the thread, and I have to say, while I've read many of these "I'm a fresher and I wanna leave Oxford" threads over the past 11 (!) years, I've never heard of someone being so frustrated with the tutorial system, or describe it the way you have. That's both on TSR or IRL conversations with people...

Particularly surprising is "it feels like nothing is really given in-depth consideration". It's true Oxford terms move incredibly fast, and obviously in a subject like English, there's an incredible amount to read in very short spaces of time. That said, it's always seemed to me that all subjects go into depth as well as covering breadth - English included. Something that occurs to me is that perhaps this "snappy, debate-like style" thing is your tutors trying to introduce you and the others to the concept of tutorial-based education. It could be that, to some of your peers, the whole Oxbridge thing is very alien and your tutors think they are all easing you into it in an accessible way by practicing the skills required? Or maybe they think they're developing your critical skills? :dontknow:

Have you talked to your college tutors about how you're feeling, academically? And have you sought any pastoral support for your mental health difficulties? It's a bit difficult to advise about the mental health without knowing what issues you came to Oxford with/have a history of, and what is manifesting now and how badly... That said, no degree - even an Oxbridge degree - is worth sacrificing your mental health for. So if your sanity/life is at stake, I'd say get out while you still can. In the meantime, there's plenty of College welfare support (how good it will be is another matter, mind you!): Dean and Junior Dean, chaplain, JCR Welfare Reps and trained peer support volunteers. Some colleges have a Tutor for Women or equivalent

Generally speaking, I advise people to give it at least two-three terms before leaving altogether. This is because, as alluded to above by another poster, things can/do generally get better for many students and they blossom. First year humanities subjects at Oxford are rather like wading through mud, unfortunately :sadnod:

Finally, make sure that your career plans definitely won't be dented too badly by leaving Oxford and going to Bristol. I only say this because a lot of BBC journalists/news presenters have an Oxbridge degree. Whether that is coincidence or whether such a degree gives an easy way into that career path, I've no idea - best you find out.

Don't stay at Oxford merely because of some sense of dogged responsibility/accountability to your parents. That said, think things over carefully and seek relevant support :yep:
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The_Lonely_Goatherd
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(Original post by Kryptonitekid43)
Op can you please PM me, I’ve applied to Oxford but ur experience is exactly what I was afraid of so I’d like to find out more if you don’t mind.
If it helps, you can start your own thread about your worries and tag some of us current students/alumni/Oxford parents in. We can myth debunk, reassure you or caution you as necessary :yes:
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Kryptonitekid43
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(Original post by The_Lonely_Goatherd)
If it helps, you can start your own thread about your worries and tag some of us current students/alumni/Oxford parents in. We can myth debunk, reassure you or caution you as necessary :yes:
That’s a great idea thank you! If it’s alright, I’ll get my interview out the way first but then I’d love to do that
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The_Lonely_Goatherd
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(Original post by Kryptonitekid43)
That’s a great idea thank you! If it’s alright, I’ll get my interview out the way first but then I’d love to do that
Of course. Good luck
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Kryptonitekid43
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(Original post by The_Lonely_Goatherd)
Of course. Good luck
Thank you
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Muttley79
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(Original post by Anonymous)
Thank you everyone for the comments. Something I am also considering is rusticating/suspending for the rest of this academic year, or for part of it, and deciding if I want to go back. I just feel like I’m not developing here, and I think that yes, I will adapt to it, but that it will be a sort of personal regression.

I have struggled with my mental health in the past, but this time it feels like my issues are contained within Oxford and that I’d be happier elsewhere. I studied extremely hard for my A Levels and my results would get me into any English Literature course in the UK and Ireland.

My main reason for wanting to study here was a passion for English (both literature and language, which is the course here), but I have learnt that the style of academic study here isn’t really something I enjoy. I do have reservations that it may be similar at other universities, but even so it would feel a lot less restricted - with our classes and tutorials within college (which I had looked forward to), it feels like nothing is really given in-depth consideration as we are encouraged towards a snappy, debate-like style that I find frustrating.


I read voraciously and would like to write in the future (fiction, journalism - whatever sticks), and so I don’t overly value the prestige of an Oxford degree because my employment would be less dependent on my degree than on my writing ability.

Evidently I haven’t made a decision and it has been helpful to get some more views of my situation, so thanks.
This is why Oxford is not always the best place to go.

Why Bristol though? How is the course different there than at Exeter or York or anywhere else? I would suspend your studies and consider other options.

You have not failed your parents and they will not want you to suffer - it's you that has to study the course.
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Dalpx
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Are you boy or girl? How old are you?
What are your physical and mental health issues? Are they severe?
Oxford is the top university in UK. You should think twice before dropping out.
By the way, why do you use"college" not""university to refer to Oxford?
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threeportdrift
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(Original post by Dalpx)
Are you boy or girl? How old are you?
What are your physical and mental health issues? Are they severe?
Oxford is the top university in UK. You should think twice before dropping out.
By the way, why do you use"college" not""university to refer to Oxford?
If you don't understand the difference between the university and a college when talking about Oxford, please sit this one out and just observe. Or go and read more about Oxford.
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mnot
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(Original post by Anonymous)
I’m a fresher studying English at Oxford uni. We’re a week away from the end of term but my health, both physical and mental, has gone to ****. I started freshers week as someone who was very optimistic, social, engaged with my course and independent. I’ve made a lot of friends in my college but I just don’t like it. I don’t like the place; I don’t like my course (I love the material but can’t stand the way we have to approach it); my college is further from the city centre which means there’s a big boarding school vibe (which multiple people have commented on) that I dislike because I’m a fairly independent person and I feel like more of a child living here than living at home; the food is **** (mushroom and gherkin curry??!); and it feels like a lot of the people have sticks up their arses - yes they’re fun, but they’re painfully conventional. I was full of energy at the start of term and now I’ve lost it all. I speak to people I know from home and they pick up immediately on the fact that I’m struggling. The biggest thing keeping me from dropping out is my fear of disappointing my parents, because they worked so hard for me to have a good education. I just don’t think this is a good education and I would rather go to Bristol and enjoy being young rather than be cramped up in stuffy Oxford.
If you should drop out or keep with it is hard to say, but you only have 1 week left of term, so i would at least go home & enjoy the break before doing anything.

It sounds like you havent found your group of people yet, perhaps a new society or sports team could introduce you to some new faces (you will find some people during uni like you, you just need to look)

Normally I would say being miserable isnt worth it, but I would say at least push through another term and maybe look for out of college accommodation or something in 2nd year... I think this feeling is more common than you realise, you just havent found the balance & people yet.
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aciana
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You don't know the people or the area will suit you better at Bristol or somewhere else, another uni will have it's own problems and they could even be worse. Maybe see if you can change college and choose a place that's closer and self-catered.
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