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Tuesday, June 28, 2022

Living an exam-‘free’ Trinity

Hannah Lund shares her ideas for thriving while your friends are stuck revising.

The Biology faculty decided finals in first week made sense, so now I am a free bird without many fellow free finalists to fly with. Big sad. While I am still catching up on hugely needed and well-deserved sleep from finals, there are many times where I wonder how to fill my days when so many of my friends are locked in the dungeon that is Pembroke library. For everyone else in my situation, here are a few ways I’ve realised I can fill my days and (most importantly) thrive in my exam-free Trinity. Enjoy!

An obvious way to survive an exam-free Trinity is helping out your exam-riddled friends who are undoubtedly stressed and need some serious TLC. Bake brownies, cook them dinner, or make some kind of pidge-love, and and you will feel like the kindest, loveliest, best friend ever.

I have found that my finalist friends are reluctant to do anything that takes up a lot of time or requires getting over a hangover, but even they will be likely to spare an hour or so for coffee. A coffee break is a great way to break free from the Rad Cam and talk about something other than your subject, and you still get to see and check in on your friends. Everyone is a winner!

However, if your existing friends are library-locked, this does not mean you have to be stranded. Shockingly, there are many more people in Oxford that are not in your immediate friendship group! Go find them! Now is a great time to invest into friendships with other people who you may not see very often or to meet new people all together. For those of you who may be terrified of the thought of chatting to new people, I have found Jericho Coffee Traders (loved by all) to be one of the friendliest places in Oxford, and I can guarantee you will find at least one new person to chat to there. Also, if your friends have replaced you with exam revision (the audacity!), then why not replace them with a cheeky link and a date or two? Oxford is massive and filled with so many interesting, diverse, (potentially sexy) people, so stop wasting time waiting for your friends to leave the library and go meet people.

When so many people are investing massively in exams, it can easily feel like you are wasting your Oxford time and falling behind on some imaginary time scale because of how much other people are working. While you have no massive deadlines to work towards, it is a great opportunity to set yourself smaller, personal goals to work towards throughout term. My main goal this term is to do as many things to get myself out of my comfort zone as possible, and to recognise how I feel in this situation and learn more about what I enjoy and dislike. For example, I have learnt I can feel super confident when I ask a man out on a date (we love active feminism) but going on a run around the city centre during rush hour is a big fat no from me. Setting yourself new goals doesn’t have to be completely random or drastic.

I think there is too much of a focus on always having to be doing super interesting things with groups of people to be perceived as having fun and enjoying Oxford. You very much deserve to indulge in your own company and there is no shame in spending selfish, solo time. Take yourself on a picnic with your favourite foods (which obviously you don’t have to share with friends because they are in the library wishing they were you), go get yourself a coffee, spend time writing a new article (like me), or go exercise. There are so many opportunities for self-love and self-investment.

The aim is not only to survive an exam-free Trinity but to thrive! Reframe the idea. This is not “oh no, all my friends are stuck in gross Pembroke library and I have nothing to do”. This is “wow, I have so much time to do whatever I want with, so I will happily use this time to be so selfish, and invest in myself, and love myself, and live my best life!” Go enjoy Oxford in your own exam-free way, and if anyone needs a coffee friend then heeeyyyyyy.

Image credit: Jessica Ticozzelli.

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