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Trinity Term expectations: Oxford at its finest?

Anya Biletsky reports on her expectations for the upcoming Trinity Term.

‘So, what’s Trinity Term like?’ an unsuspecting fresher asks a second-year.

‘Ah, Trinity Term …’ the second-year replies, looking off longingly into the distance.

Trinity Term seems to have some sort of mythical status. Its mention in the presence of older years is met with sighs of yearning and assertions of how splendid it is. After the cold gloom of Hilary term and the months when darkness settled over the city at 4PM, I sure am looking forward to experiencing Oxford in all its sunny glory. When I first visited, it was mid-July, and summer was at its height. The city was magical – the yellow brick golden, the blue sky a marvellous backdrop to the RadCam. Soon, Oxford will transform once again into a city of gleaming spires.

As a Classicist, I am lucky enough, if you can put it that way, not to have to worry about Prelims until Hilary of second year. So, my aim for this Trinity, before the gruelling marathon of Mods kicks in, is to lap up every beam of Oxford sun that I possibly can. I will not be taking the pollen-filled, sweet-smelling summer air for granted.

My desire to spend as much time outdoors as possible, whether while studying or not, is heightened by the two years of lockdowns we have just emerged from. What better way to remedy this feeling of prolonged confinement than by frequenting the rolling fields of Port Meadow or Uni Parks? They promise us picnics in fields, swimming in the river, and, of course, punting. An Oxford rite of passage, many of us have been looking forward to going punting ever since we first received our offers. The question remains to be asked as to who will be the punter and who the puntee (I am most certainly the latter). As evening sets in, the pub can be swapped for a park of your choice – bring drinks, snacks, a speaker and a decent playlist and you’re set.

Something I and my fellow freshers are particularly excited about is Trinity’s promise of our first Oxford ball. Many colleges, such as Queen’s and Hertford, are hosting their black-tie ball this coming term, whilst ChristChurch, Trinity and New are set to stun with their white-tie commemoration balls. I am eager to see the colleges spruced up for this triennial affair, much as a ball does seem like an extra-massive, extra-fancy open-air BOP. I can already hear my friends’ groans at the dozens of disposable photos I will insist on taking – but what has to be done has to be done. The prospect of dressing up and spending the night in the sultry summer outdoors, drinking and eating and dancing to our heart’s content until dawn, is one that seems straight out of a fairytale. With, of course, the less romantic but equally entertaining addition of stumbling around at 6AM. Somerville-Jesus students are already preparing for their post-ball stagger over to Magdalen bridge for the May Morning choir performance.

The college quad was cordoned off during Hilary term to allow the grass to recover, but for Trinity it will be made accessible to students again (sticking to the boast that it is one of the only colleges to let its students walk on the grass). Might we be able to convince our tutors to let us have tutorials on the quad? Probably not, but, at any rate, we can “study” in groups on the grass, fulfilling our light academia fantasies. Picture perfect: book in hand, dappled sunlight over the page, bottle of lemonade (or perhaps pink gin) by our side. We will become the embodiment of tourist eye candy.

Clubbing in the summer will be a whole other experience to winter clubbing. It will be thrilling to walk back to our accommodation when we can catch the first glimpses of the new day’s sun skirting the horizon, albeit a little concerning for our 9AM lectures. And – this is the thing I’m most excited for – not having to use club cloakrooms. No more standing in endless queues to deposit our college puffers! No more college puffers at all, in fact. I am curious as to what everyone’s preferred item of stash will be for the summer months; Oxonians will hardly be able to go for long without donning some sort of college insignia. Bucket hats maybe? College polo shirts? We shall see what fashion choices the heat churns out.

There is of course everything sport and drama related to look forward to. A few of my friends and I have decided to commit to having a go at rowing, after two terms of reluctant delaying. The idea of falling into a lukewarm river on a moderately sunny day in May is heaps more appealing than having the same experience in the middle of Storm Eunice. Although there are more than a few people who have warned me off from rowing –  I still can’t tell if they were joking or not – it is something I feel compelled to try. The Oxford vs Cambridge Boat Race on Sunday, which saw a victory for the men’s Blues, has further whetted my appetite for rowing. Drama-wise, various student companies will be putting on a number of different productions, from musicals to traditional plays. Some will even be hosted in open-air theatres, which promises to be a real treat.

I might be romanticising Trinity Term slightly. Collections, the workload, and the general intensity of Oxford life will of course be as prevalent in Trinity as they were in Michaelmas and Hilary. Attending lectures in Exam Schools will involve both kinds of sweating. However, I do think that the warm days will bring with them a certain levity; as they say, the sun makes for a sunny disposition.

Image credit: Polina Tankilevitch

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