One of Oxford’s more likeable features is its start date.  You’ve come back from your trips of self-discovery around Thailand, your friends are nervously disappearing off to their respective freshers’ weeks around the country but you’ve got a month left. How are you going to survive the time, battling off both feelings of excitement and nerves?

Fear not, we’ve got a list.

The Work

I’m afraid this one is somewhat inevitable. No doubt by now you’ve been sent at least one hastily written, informal email by a tutor suggesting a distressingly large reading list. There’s no need to tire yourself out too early at this point – don’t waste late nights and early mornings reading everything you’ve ever heard of before you even get here. Even so, crucially, Oxford term-time is about staying above water. They’ll be essays, partying, heart-ache, working out how the bloody washing-machine works. You won’t have infinite time to study all the things you might want (or indeed need) in a very compact 8 week term. So get a base of knowledge down while you’ve got the time – you never know, you might even end up enjoying some of it.

Hit the shops

Nothing cures the soul like retail therapy. Grab yourself the perfect interior design features for your room. Worried about your cooking abilities for the year? Boom, get yourself a kettle and you’re set for instant ramen all year.  Want to spice up your room with minimal effort and knowledge, and express your distressingly vanilla personality? Famous movie posters are for you (extra points if you haven’t even seen the movie). Concerned you won’t come across as keen enough in your first lecture? Get yourself some of those sweet binders, file dividers, notepads and a full set of coloured pens. It’s like year 7 all over again.

The possibilities are endless.

Get some parental knowledge

The thought of doing the dishes and making your own bed making you queasy?

You’ve proved yourself in the exam hall, now it’s time to prove yourself in the real world. Time for some proper learning. The best source of this? Parents. After all, they’ll probably miss you while you’re away, so they’ll appreciate the time you spend with them before you head off (even if it’s only long enough to ask about whether it’s safe to reheat takeaway rice or how insurance actually works).

Facebook investigation 

In just a month’s time, you’ll be meeting people who will become your life-long friends.

Don’t. Come. Unprepared.

Rebecca is into slam-poetry and rosé? If that’s your thing, solid friend material right there. Alex runs an Instagram account for his dog? Cool, I guess? Maybe you’ll bond over a lifelong passion for Chihuahuas? Harry posts inspirational quotes and pictures of his workout routine? Probably best to avoid…

It’s only a bit of fun, but may offer some vital talking points when Freshers’ Week hits.

Prepare your Freshers’ Week spiel

You’re going to be meeting a lot of people in the immediate future, and that means an endless number of introductions. Want to nonchalantly drop your super sweet banking internship or springboard into conversation? You’d better practise that until it’s needle-sharp and effortless (also, maybe, don’t do that).

Not to mention the dreaded group introductions/ speed friending your college might be unlucky enough to host. What is your surprising fact about yourself? What fruit would you be if you had to pick? Worth having a think about.

In all seriousness, though, ‘reinventing yourself’ for university is almost always a bad plan. Fill your September with packing, excitement, and as little panic as possible. Turn up being yourself, nothing more or less, and you’ll fit right in.

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