Oxford in February is wet and windy and people are longing for spring. However, there is so much going on behind the thick walls of all the magnificent sandstone buildings that you will quickly forget the miserable weather.
As a graduate student in a one-year taught programme, the day is densely packed. The rumours about the impressive length of the reading-lists are true, and since the classes are very small (in my case between 2 and 15 students), you should be well prepared to contribute to the discussion. So get ready to look for a nice place to sit for hours.
But do not worry, as a Member of Lincoln College you are in the enviable position to study in an outstanding eighteen-century building, that used to be a City Church and is still a place of calm and concentration (just do not forget to take a warm jumper with you since it can get a bit chilly after a while). You will not find many law books here but an overwhelming amount of literature is electronically available – truly an academic surf paradise. Later you find yourself sitting in the time-honoured Seminar room of All Souls College, reasoning about fundamental question of criminal justice, human rights, or contract law with one of the leading experts in the field and with students from all over the world. Your skills are enhanced in a new intellectual environment by understanding how law-making works in other ways than those you are familiar with.
People in Oxford are interested in what you think. No doubt, this is the ideal place for a stimulating and engaging atmosphere for learning and challenging prevailing opinions.
During lunch time (you will get the best sandwich in town on Holywell Street), you can take the opportunity to attend one of the many discussion groups, which are a perfect setting for substantial interdisciplinary and comparative research. Whenever you open your E-mail, you will find several invitations for a variety of interesting events and it is very difficult to decide: Shall I attend the talk of Sir David Edward about the future of Europe? Or learn from some of the most renowned law professors in the world on the subject of how women are successful in academia? Or listen to what a United Nations Special Rapporteur has to say about 'Drone Strikes'? Or watch a documentary concerning the promotion and protection of human rights and fundamental freedoms while countering terrorism? Or maybe attend the Baroque concert in a College Chapel?
First, however, the essay for tomorrow’s tutorial must be written. An excellent place to do that would be at the faculty law library, a modern building from the sixties, where law students are busy as bees and which has the most comfortable chairs.
By the way, the MCR dinner at Lincoln looks like this: Four-course deliciousness, all-you-can-drink wine, cheese, special dessert, bar games and lovely people at one of the most sociable of the Colleges.
Oxford, 17th February 2014.
Anna was studying for an MJur.