Well I'm slowly treading my way through my first week of real grad student classes, and I must say so far it hasn't been quite as bad as I'd feared. Yes, there is a LOT of reading. As in, literally thousands of pages a week. The discussions are indeed lively and intellectual (wouldn't it be a disappointment if they weren't?), but I don't feel like I'm completely below everyone else's level. Mostly I feel a little out of practice of being in the classroom, which means my attention starts to wander after about an hour in a two hour seminar. But overall, I'm pleased so far.
(Plus, dude, I get to go to school here. Too legit to quit, man.)
Several reasons, I think. First, I'm not used to using my brain this much, which is legit exhausting. I read an entire 400-page book in two hours over lunch today, and then promptly passed out and took an hour and a half nap as soon as I got home. Additionally, the pressure of meeting new people is something that really wears me down, and since it's all I've been doing since I arrived, I guess it would stand to reason that I would be feeling pretty drawn out. Finally, I've been trying a lot of new sports, which I'm really enjoying (more on that later, I promise!), but which have been working me in really different ways than the ride/bike/chores (and occasional yoga, on the rare days I'm feeling flexible) that I'm used to.
(There is, granted, an unglamorously large amount of study time involved)
(Speaking of zombies, don't these mannequins sort of look... undead? It's hard to tell but they're weirdly listing forward, and with their stiff forward arms and lack of heads, I feel like they're a few seconds away from gurgling, 'braaaaaiiiiinnnss.' In full suits. Obviously, Oxford WOULD have the classiest zombies of all time.)
I remember going through the same thing pretty much my entire freshman year of Stanford. Hopefully I'll be able to get back to a more solid routine more quickly than that this time around; I love my sleep and become a royal grumpus when I can't get my beauty rest.
In the meantime, we've been treated with another burst of lovely fall weather (after a few days last week that were a grim reminder of what is to come--namely cold, rain, cold, rain... and more cold and rain!), and it's been nice to soak up as much of Oxford while it's looking its most beautiful before the long night of winter sets in.
(Green Templeton looking sooooo beautiful!!)
The prettiness of Oxford is something that, I admit, doesn't come as naturally to me as it does to some other people. Perhaps it's my redneck American ways, but old stone buildings--even ones as beautiful as you can find anywhere in Oxford-land--have never made my heart sing in the way that many American land- and cityscapes do. But on fine autumn afternoons like the one we had today, it's undeniable that there's magic in the air here: something indefinable, hazy, dignified, and fair. The buildings seem to give the air around them a quiet substance that normal houses cannot. It's hard to remember that this place is, in fact, real, and that people actually live real lives here. It all feels like a dream.
(Seriously, this is the view out the library window. How can that be real??)