Dear Queen’s 2019 freshers,
First, I’d like to offer you a huge congratulations for securing a place at Oxford University, and The Queen’s College! If this hasn’t quite sunk in yet, do try to take a moment to reflect on how you got here. You’re about to begin a very formative part of your life this October, and it’s important to take a moment to appreciate what is a very historic experience of starting at Oxford.
It’s a good idea to get on top of the admin as soon as possible. Try and return all the forms that you will be sent by the college office, and don’t be afraid to get in touch with any questions, even if you feel they are silly. The College Office is really good at providing you with any information that you may need.
On this subject, I should talk you through the Queen’s freshers’ week. It differs from other freshers’ weeks in that at Oxford you are (normally) set work which you are expected to complete for the first week of term. However, the JCR Exec will also be putting on a variety of events throughout the week to help you settle in, which will be indicated on the timetable. They are non-compulsory, but I highly recommend attending as many as you can. It’s really important to balance a healthy social life with work, and fresher’s week is a good time to begin to do this. It’s also a good time to figure out what you actually enjoy. At Queen’s there are students with a huge variety of interests. Many people enjoy the (fairly limited but nevertheless fun) Oxford nightlife, but just as many prefer other things. Don’t let stereotypes define your expectations: many Oxford students do, in fact, go out, but one’s experience here certainly isn’t defined by alcohol as it can appear in popular portrayals of university culture.
When I think back to myself this time last year, I think the most helpful thing that you can do in freshers week that will (hopefully) set you up well is to take the opportunity of a fresh start to establish a good routine, early. This is the best way of coping with a demanding workload. It’s also a hard thing to do when you’re living on your own for the first time, but really helps one to feel under control and comfortable in a new environment. Everyone finds their stride eventually, but it’s important to cover the basics, especially in the first few weeks. Eat properly (in hall if you can), make time for friends (especially if you’re working hard), try to go for a walk around Oxford during freshers’ week, and work out how the laundry works early.
Try and make the most what should be an amazing few years. You’ll be part of a really fantastic community of people who make up the college, and I speak on behalf of all current undergraduates when I say that we are sincerely looking forward to welcoming you in a few weeks’ time.
I, the JCR Exec, and college staff will all be around to help you move in. Until then, please don’t hesitate to get in touch with me at firstname.lastname@example.org if you have any questions, or add me on Facebook.
Enjoy the rest of your summer!
Wishing you all the best,
Hattie Bates (JCR President 2019)