Starting at Oxford in October? Congratulations! The Oxford Study Skills Centre is excited to welcome you to Oxford in the autumn. Perhaps you are wondering how to spend your summer and whether there is anything you can do to prepare for your course? Many tutors will send along a reading list over the summer, and this is a great place to start. A reading list shouldn’t be cause for stress––it’s a great opportunity to dive into your subject before the start of term and to foster the right headspace for academic study. Even if you don’t receive a reading list from your tutor, it’s a good idea to pick something related to your subject to read over the summer.
The most important thing you can do to prepare for your course is simply to be aware that the coming term will involve some transitions as you adjust to university life and your course. One of the biggest changes will be how you manage your time. Oxford terms are short, cover a lot of material, and involve a good deal of independent study. You’ve got into Oxford, and so there is no question about whether you can handle Oxford terms––you absolutely can!––but nevertheless it’s a good idea to be aware that the way you manage your time at Oxford will probably differ from how you’ve managed it before.
This awareness can be useful (and save you money!) when it comes to Freshers’ week and the Freshers’ fairs at Oxford. You’ll probably be keen to join clubs, societies, and sports, and you should definitely put your email down for extracurriculars that interest you, but it’s usually not a good idea to pay any membership fees until after your course has started, when you’ll have a better sense of how much time you’ll have to devote to your extracurricular activities.
You might also want to use a bit of time this summer to prepare your student budget in advance so that you can minimise the time you have to spend thinking about finances while you are on-course. UCAS has a handy student budget calculator and some useful tips for budgeting as well.
Finally, you might want to stash a few recipes away for a rainy day. While you’ll probably eat a lot of meals in Hall your first term, it’s always a good idea to know how to cook a proper meal. The Guardian has a ‘student recipes‘ tag that it uses to highlight recipes that can be made with relatively few ingredients and tools. Their collection includes lots of vegan dishes, ideas about how to upgrade instant noodles into an actual meal, and a recipe for midnight pasta.
Most important, let yourself be excited for the new experience ahead of you! Keep your expectations open, and be ready to transition into life and work at Oxford! See you in October!