Anonymous #2
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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.
It's a tough decision. I'd definitely suggest asking to be moved to another college, one that is closer to the centre (Wadham as it's friendly?) if that's an option. I'm not sure if other colleges are able to take you but make sure to choose a tutor you think you'd like. Those moves could be a complete game changer. If you want to be a journalist an Oxford degree opens doors like no other, if you want peace of mind then none of that matters really. Good luck.
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Anonymous #1
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The collegiate system is one whereby each college exists as an independent body that belongs to the university, so there is no procedure for switching between colleges.

Living out of college in second year is an option, but it would also entail a degree of social isolation that would probably be detrimental to my mental health.

As to why I would rather go to Bristol: my best friend is there and is loving it, it seems like it harbours creativity in the same way that Oxford harbours debate. I have visited and plan to visit again later this month - I’m from London and often Oxford feels suffocatingly small and traditional, so a big, modern city appeals to me. Also, the terms are 12 weeks rather than 8, which I think would make a huge difference. I’m also thinking about Trinity College Dublin, my family is Irish so it isn’t foreign to me and I really like the course there, but there’s currently a housing crisis in Dublin which is off-putting. I have visited Exeter and think it’s in a beautiful place, but the people I know there do very much fit the rah stereotype and it just isn’t for me. I would rather be in a bigger city.

I will bear in mind the advice to stick with in for another term. Yes, that’s true about the BBC reporters, and I think that this is because Oxbridge institutionalises its students, not in a conspiracy-theory-brainwashed way, but in a way that means they are at ease within the discourse of other established British institutions like the BBC. I spent a week at the BBC doing work experience and found that this rings true. Besides, if I went into journalism I would prefer to write articles and columns, or perhaps try investigative journalism. But my main ambition is creative writing.

Thanks again for all the advice
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mnot
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(Original post by Anonymous)
The collegiate system is one whereby each college exists as an independent body that belongs to the university, so there is no procedure for switching between colleges.

Living out of college in second year is an option, but it would also entail a degree of social isolation that would probably be detrimental to my mental health.

As to why I would rather go to Bristol: my best friend is there and is loving it, it seems like it harbours creativity in the same way that Oxford harbours debate. I have visited and plan to visit again later this month - I’m from London and often Oxford feels suffocatingly small and traditional, so a big, modern city appeals to me. Also, the terms are 12 weeks rather than 8, which I think would make a huge difference. I’m also thinking about Trinity College Dublin, my family is Irish so it isn’t foreign to me and I really like the course there, but there’s currently a housing crisis in Dublin which is off-putting. I have visited Exeter and think it’s in a beautiful place, but the people I know there do very much fit the rah stereotype and it just isn’t for me. I would rather be in a bigger city.

I will bear in mind the advice to stick with in for another term. Yes, that’s true about the BBC reporters, and I think that this is because Oxbridge institutionalises its students, not in a conspiracy-theory-brainwashed way, but in a way that means they are at ease within the discourse of other established British institutions like the BBC. I spent a week at the BBC doing work experience and found that this rings true. Besides, if I went into journalism I would prefer to write articles and columns, or perhaps try investigative journalism. But my main ambition is creative writing.

Thanks again for all the advice
Could you not find 3/4 other people to share a house with? If your sharing then they dont even need to be in you college (or even go to the same uni, if you were happy to share a house with people from Brookes? although private accommodation is very expensive in Oxford).

Im sure you can find a way to make uni more enjoyable, i really would explore different avenues where possible as the reality is (like no other uni in the UK) Oxford will open doors throughout the world.
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Reality Check
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(Original post by The_Lonely_Goatherd)
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:
:heart: Thanks so much for this, TLG
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Reality Check
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(Original post by Anonymous)
The collegiate system is one whereby each college exists as an independent body that belongs to the university, so there is no procedure for switching between colleges.

Living out of college in second year is an option, but it would also entail a degree of social isolation that would probably be detrimental to my mental health.

As to why I would rather go to Bristol: my best friend is there and is loving it, it seems like it harbours creativity in the same way that Oxford harbours debate. I have visited and plan to visit again later this month - I’m from London and often Oxford feels suffocatingly small and traditional, so a big, modern city appeals to me. Also, the terms are 12 weeks rather than 8, which I think would make a huge difference. I’m also thinking about Trinity College Dublin, my family is Irish so it isn’t foreign to me and I really like the course there, but there’s currently a housing crisis in Dublin which is off-putting. I have visited Exeter and think it’s in a beautiful place, but the people I know there do very much fit the rah stereotype and it just isn’t for me. I would rather be in a bigger city.

I will bear in mind the advice to stick with in for another term. Yes, that’s true about the BBC reporters, and I think that this is because Oxbridge institutionalises its students, not in a conspiracy-theory-brainwashed way, but in a way that means they are at ease within the discourse of other established British institutions like the BBC. I spent a week at the BBC doing work experience and found that this rings true. Besides, if I went into journalism I would prefer to write articles and columns, or perhaps try investigative journalism. But my main ambition is creative writing.

Thanks again for all the advice
Just an observation - you write beautifully
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Muttley79
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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?
Oxford is not 'top' for every degree and the courses can be 'archaic' in content - not what everyone wants.
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Wired_1800
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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.
Don't drop out. I don't think your issue is Oxford but I think you are desperate to want to do stupid things as a kid rather than receive an education.

I dont understand what you mean by “being young”, are your peers at Oxford not young? Are you being stopped from being young? What is it about Oxford that turns you off?

You seem to be suffering from the “grass is greener on the other side” mentality. There are some people who hate Bristol and would rather be anywhere else. Also there are accusations that Bristol are not very good at supporting mental health which can be seen by the sad stories of suicide.

I suggest that you speak with your tutor and maybe a counsellor. Hopefully it goes well. Don't waste this opportunity. All the best.

Oxford Mum any view?
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Anonymous #1
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(Original post by Wired_1800)
Don't drop out. I don't think your issue is Oxford but I think you are desperate to want to do stupid things as a kid rather than receive an education.

I dont understand what you mean by “being young”, are your peers at Oxford not young? Are you being stopped from being young? What is it about Oxford that turns you off?

You seem to be suffering from the “grass is greener on the other side” mentality. There are some people who hate Bristol and would rather be anywhere else. Also there are accusations that Bristol are not very good at supporting mental health which can be seen by the sad stories of suicide.

I suggest that you speak with your tutor and maybe a counsellor. Hopefully it goes well. Don't waste this opportunity. All the best.

Oxford Mum any view?
I don’t think you’ve taken any lengths to understand what I’m expressing. I do not associate youth with recklessness, but instead see it as a capacity to have new experiences. I have explained what I dislike about Oxford and it is frustrating to have people replying telling me not to drop out solely because of Oxford’s mythical status as the ‘top’ university, without acknowledging any nuances.

The ‘grass is greener on the other side’ platitude is not helpful. For one thing, you’ve made a generalisation about mental health at Bristol which doesn’t really wash, because it isn’t a matter of me being an individual with poor mental health who is studying at Oxford - I’m saying that I have poor mental health because of being in Oxford. Bristol functions differently as an institution, and the things that have caused my mental illness in Oxford do not exist, or exist to a lesser extent, at Bristol.


Also - since most colleges provide accommodation for second years, nobody that I know is in the position of needing to rent privately. I would need permission from my college to live independently, which they don’t always grant.

The problem with an Oxford degree as something that will open doors is that it will open doors into established areas. I don’t really see it as necessary to a career as a writer.

And thank you Reality Check 😊
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(Original post by Anonymous)
I don’t think you’ve taken any lengths to understand what I’m expressing. I do not associate youth with recklessness, but instead see it as a capacity to have new experiences. I have explained what I dislike about Oxford and it is frustrating to have people replying telling me not to drop out solely because of Oxford’s mythical status as the ‘top’ university, without acknowledging any nuances.

The ‘grass is greener on the other side’ platitude is not helpful. For one thing, you’ve made a generalisation about mental health at Bristol which doesn’t really wash, because it isn’t a matter of me being an individual with poor mental health who is studying at Oxford - I’m saying that I have poor mental health because of being in Oxford. Bristol functions differently as an institution, and the things that have caused my mental illness in Oxford do not exist, or exist to a lesser extent, at Bristol.


Also - since most colleges provide accommodation for second years, nobody that I know is in the position of needing to rent privately. I would need permission from my college to live independently, which they don’t always grant.

The problem with an Oxford degree as something that will open doors is that it will open doors into established areas. I don’t really see it as necessary to a career as a writer.

And thank you Reality Check 😊
I sincerely apologise for my previous post if it offended you. I take back the comment as it appears that you are upset.

I commented about Bristol and mental health because you mentioned in another post that you had struggled with mental health issues. I only mentioned it as a guide and not to insult you. I think you are seeing Bristol from the eyes of a visitor. Life may be different as a student there than someone visiting a mate, as you are there for a short period and have a snapshot of the whole uni life there.

I advised you not to drop out as the immediate reaction to your current situation. I feared that you may have reached the point of dropping out or rustication (as you put it) without proper investigation to check whether any change can alleviate your problems. We generally tend to suffer in silence until it is too late.

Your explanation about your reasons for not liking Oxford focus at the heart of the University system. You don't seem to like the tutorial system and you dislike the collegiate system. Maybe the issue is your current College due to distance and it being “remote” relative to the more central Colleges.

I think you are still fresh on your uni journey and I support the advise from others that you please give it some more time to explore and grow into life as an Oxford student.

I also suggest that you speak with your tutor and, maybe, a College ‘wellbeing officer or staff member’. They may be able to accommodate your request to live out in second year, if you wish. You should also think about what will be the practical implications of doing so esp without College mates, as that could make you feel further isolated and impact your mental health.

Have you considered joining clubs or societies like the Union or netball or other activities that may interest you? Once you expand your friendship circles, your experience may change.

I wish you the very best in what you decide to do. I hope it goes well for you.
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Hope5677
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(Original post by aciana)
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.
Hi, i think you should suspend your studies and go figure out your feelings......don't drop out just take a break.....then decide where you actually would prefer to study in..do involve family in these big decisions they can help you . But tbh do not leave OXFORD uni.....people kill to get in..just suspend...think of the bigger picture for your life like career prospects

Sorry to hear you're not fine . Wish you the best moving forwards.
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Wired_1800
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(Original post by Anonymous)
I don’t think you’ve taken any lengths to understand what I’m expressing. I do not associate youth with recklessness, but instead see it as a capacity to have new experiences. I have explained what I dislike about Oxford and it is frustrating to have people replying telling me not to drop out solely because of Oxford’s mythical status as the ‘top’ university, without acknowledging any nuances.

The ‘grass is greener on the other side’ platitude is not helpful. For one thing, you’ve made a generalisation about mental health at Bristol which doesn’t really wash, because it isn’t a matter of me being an individual with poor mental health who is studying at Oxford - I’m saying that I have poor mental health because of being in Oxford. Bristol functions differently as an institution, and the things that have caused my mental illness in Oxford do not exist, or exist to a lesser extent, at Bristol.


Also - since most colleges provide accommodation for second years, nobody that I know is in the position of needing to rent privately. I would need permission from my college to live independently, which they don’t always grant.

The problem with an Oxford degree as something that will open doors is that it will open doors into established areas. I don’t really see it as necessary to a career as a writer.

And thank you Reality Check 😊
I sincerely apologise for my previous post if it offended you. I take back the comment as it appears that you are upset.

I commented about Bristol and mental health because you mentioned in another post that you had struggled with mental health issues. I only mentioned it as a guide and not to insult you. I think you are seeing Bristol from the eyes of a visitor. Life may be different as a student there than someone visiting a mate, as you are there for a short period and have a snapshot of the whole uni life there.

I advised you not to drop out as the immediate reaction to your current situation. I feared that you may have reached the point of dropping out or rustication (as you put it) without proper investigation to check whether any change can alleviate your problems.

Your explanation about your reasons for not liking Oxford focus at the heart of the University system. You don't seem to like the tutorial system and you dislike the collegiate system. Maybe the issue is your current College due to distance and it being “remote” relative to the more central Colleges.

I think you are still fresh on your uni journey and I support the advise from others that you please give it some more time to explore and grow into life as an Oxford student.

I also suggest that you speak with your tutor and, maybe, a College ‘wellbeing officer or staff member’. They may be able to accommodate your request to live out in second year, if you wish. You should also think about what will be the practical implications of doing so esp without College mates, as that could make you feel further isolated and impact your mental health.

Have you considered joining clubs or societies like the Union or netball or other activities that may interest you? Once you expand your friendship circles, your experience may change.

I wish you the very best in what you decide to do. I hope it goes well for you.
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Hope5677
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And also remember first year is always hell for everyone ...just suspend....think about dropping out more seriously after you suspend
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Oxford Mum
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I do not feel qualified as much as some of the others on here about coping with Oxford stress, particularly the lonely goatherd.

On a similar thread I have heard the best advice, to flag this up early on it’s your tutors. This is a surprisingly common occurrence and they will be used to coming up with various solutions.

My son is studying medicine and although he knew the stress would come ( and believe me it did) he is a very calm person so just bucked down and coped with it until he got used to it. According to him, adjusting in the first year was the worst, but once you have passed your preliminary exams you realise you can cope and you are ok. Ironically his final year has been the easiest and the least stressful ( for his first degree, which is just theory)

Other people did not have his experience. Some suffered badly from homesickness and suffered from severe stress. Just imagine also as a medic walking into a room and there being human heads on one table, legs on another and arms on another one. Some people vomited. But in the end they have got accustomed to that too.

Some people failed their preliminary exams but re took them and are now happily in their final year too. I have heard of others ( not medicine) who were thinking of giving up in their first year and are still there.

I am not saying stay at Oxford full stop.

I am just giving you real examples so you can see it is possible to feel the way you feel and get through the pain barrier.

But if you really want to leave and go to Bristol I won’t be the one to stop you.

It’s your life and only you know how you feel. Yes you can become a great writer from Bristol too! And don’t stay at Oxford because of the prestige or because you are afraid of letting your parents down. Confide in them. They love you and will be there for you. That’s what parents are for and I would certainly put my chil‘S well-being before Oxford or anything else.
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Ps sorry for the autocorrect mistakes
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Gwil
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OP, I'm really sorry you are going through this. I would suggest you don't rush into a decision, but take the Christmas break to relax and enjoy yourself, and discuss your experiences with your family or other supportive individuals. And then probably try at least one more term, while putting a conscious effort into seeking welfare support and meeting like-minded people. Like in any large university, you can find creative, free-spirited people at Oxford, even if they happen not to be in your immediate circle at your college. If it doesn't get better, don't feel bad about making inquiries into other universities!

As a current Oxford English applicant, I would be interested to better understand your frustrations with how the course is taught. You say that nothing is given in-depth consideration in the tutorials, but I would have thought that the tutorial system would be ideally placed to do just that. Do your tutors not give you enough time to explore your points of view in depth? Is it too fast-paced?
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(Original post by Anonymous)
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.
Have you spoken to your college tutor? Have you spoken to the welfare team? Have you spoken to your GP, if you're saying you have mental (and physical?) health issues?

^ that's the most important advice. The rest is just my opinion:

Your happiness is important and if needs be you should drop out. I do not agree with anyone saying that even if the case is obvious, you should just stick with it anyway - there are alternative paths available. It is 'parmanent' though, so you want to be sure. I'm going to 'challenge' you a bit on things you've said - hope you don't mind - so that we're all clear on the problem. I'm not trying to criticise your feelings, just trying to help:

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 comment seems quite dyssynchronous with the rest of that opening post. You literally said you had plenty of friends and that they were fun people. You said they were too "conventional" - I'm a little uncertain on what that might mean precisely, but I assure you that if you're finding any university too conventional for you then you are either very very unconventional yourself, or you aren't looking hard enough! Oxford is full of very creative, and I'll say it, weird types. There are societies catering for pretty much everything you can think of.

Just answer me this: in what way will Bristol be different. Be specific: the halls of residence in Bristol are different to halls at Hugh's because X. I know the people in Bristol are super "unconventional" because Y. Or whatever it is you think you've identified.

(Original post by Anonymous)
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.
This is another area where I have to ask: why do you think Bristol will be better? I can definitely agree that the Oxford tutorial system is intense encourages debate. Isn't that... a part of creativity though? Exchanging and expending on ideas? Like, you can't just tell someone how to be creative right? So what is the alternative? Specifically: In what way is creativity being fostered in Bristol that is so good?
(Original post by Anonymous)
The problem with an Oxford degree as something that will open doors is that it will open doors into established areas. I don’t really see it as necessary to a career as a writer.
The implication being that it closes doors to un-established areas. I'm not sure that's true at all? Like, Monty Python were Oxbridge right. Were they part of the establishment? Were they conventional? Sacha Baron Cohen - is he too conventional for you?

I think that if you want to do something strange and weird Oxford is perfect for you, and a uni with more 'standard' learning methods like Bristol probably doesn't have any advantages? You can make use of Oxford's connections, societies, funding, and see where it goes.

But... I don't know much about Bristol and I don't know much about the creative arts. Educate me!

And like I say, ultimately happiness is what's important. Don't stick with it because of what anyone else is saying - its your decision.
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RogerOxon
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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'm sorry to hear that you're having a tough time, especially given your positive approach. I don't know what's going to be the best solution for you, but I'll try to give some suggestions for things that might improve your Oxford experience. Only you can judge what's in your best interests.

Have you seen a Doctor for your physical and mental issues?

(Original post by Anonymous)
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??!)
Having made friends is great. Are there any that you can / have talked to about how you feel?

Many colleges appear to have chefs that only make an effort for conferences. You can give feedback on the food, and avoid it when you can.

(Original post by Anonymous)
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.
As a parent, my overriding desire is that my children are happy. I would be disappointed if they dropped-out of a good university, but distraught if they were suffering and didn't. Typically, I'd suggest giving it 2-3 terms, but that may not be realistic unless something can be done to improve your experience.

Please do raise your concerns about tutorials with your tutors. As it's only your first term, I could imagine that they may be easing students into them, so it may change. Given the tiny group sizes, they may be able to run your tutorials differently, if you ask. Or they might discuss why they are as they are, which could also make a difference.

Terms are only 8 (ish) weeks, which, IMO, is a major advantage. That makes it easier to push through tough times, as you're never that far from a break. Enjoy Christmas - I hope that enough improvements can be made for you to be happy. Good luck, whatever you decide.
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My son said one of the things he liked best about Oxford was the fact you could be yourself, no matter how weird. We were walking along a towpath, and the very next person to come along was a guy on a unicycle with a colander upside down on his head, like a kind of helmet. There were twigs sticking out of the holes. I’m not even kidding. Also he once walked through central Oxford in broad daylight wearing 18th century costume ( he was in a Gilbert and Sullivan play) . Nobody batted an eyelid.

Doubt you see many scenes like that in Bristol.
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Gwil
I am happy to note that you have got an English interview- good luck.

My son’s girlfriend is in her final year of English. Although sometimes challenging she loves it. She has had chance to write for the student magazine the Cherwell and her college magazine too. During her time at Oxford her English skills have blossomed to the point of wanting to become a professor of English there herself. In fact she was asking me for college recommendations for her masters!

Yes they are presented with a massive reading list at the start of the year but apparently nobody reads them all!

Just to say that not all undergraduate experiences are the same at Oxford. If you get in ( and I hope you do) go into it with an open mind, be aware that it will be very different to school and that it will feel like there is a high academic mountain to climb at first
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(Original post by Anonymous)
I don’t think you’ve taken any lengths to understand what I’m expressing. I do not associate youth with recklessness, but instead see it as a capacity to have new experiences. I have explained what I dislike about Oxford and it is frustrating to have people replying telling me not to drop out solely because of Oxford’s mythical status as the ‘top’ university, without acknowledging any nuances.

The ‘grass is greener on the other side’ platitude is not helpful. For one thing, you’ve made a generalisation about mental health at Bristol which doesn’t really wash, because it isn’t a matter of me being an individual with poor mental health who is studying at Oxford - I’m saying that I have poor mental health because of being in Oxford. Bristol functions differently as an institution, and the things that have caused my mental illness in Oxford do not exist, or exist to a lesser extent, at Bristol.


Also - since most colleges provide accommodation for second years, nobody that I know is in the position of needing to rent privately. I would need permission from my college to live independently, which they don’t always grant.

The problem with an Oxford degree as something that will open doors is that it will open doors into established areas. I don’t really see it as necessary to a career as a writer.

And thank you Reality Check 😊
I would echo what others have advised and say to take the Christmas break to decompress and talk with loved ones about your experience. I would give it at least another 1-2 terms though before definitely dropping out: a different tutor or paper in the next two terms could make a big difference.

I also wanted to pick up the part in bold. I would not underestimate the help afforded by an Oxford degree in establishing yourself as a professional writer, including as a creative writer. Whether pitching journalistic or creative pieces, you will need to indicate something of your background and track record and it's here that the Oxford degree will stand out, even if you disagree that it should (I do agree with you that it shouldn't be some kind of golden ticket!). I have just sent a book proposal to a publisher, and I'm aware that having Cambridge on my CV will likely help somewhat in standing out. That may not be enough of a reason for you to stay at Oxford if you are really struggling. But I wouldn't dismiss the potential benefits of the Oxford name too quickly. I noticed you are interested in Trinity College Dublin. I'm a graduate of TCD as well, and when I think of some of the more successful Irish writers of the moment, such as Sally Rooney and Louise O'Neill, it's impressive how many had some affiliation to Trinity, or one of the better Irish universities. Ireland is a small place so no doubt the effect is magnified, but it's something to think about as it bears some parallels with the 'top' British universities and the literary world, including both journalists and creative writers.
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