Yesterday, my fourth day at Oxford, was the first I realized my true reason for being here - to study! All of the scenery and experiences are so new and exciting that I have been forgetting that I am ultimately here for the school work. For each course we take here, we are required to submit one 1500-2000 word paper on a topic of our choice. I have selected the following topics: For "The Changing Face of Britain" course, my paper topic will be "Why are women's crimes and punishments different from men's?" For the "Human Rights in Perspective" course, my paper topic will be "Can social rights be human rights?" Since our grades will be solely based on our paper grades, I feel a lot of pressure to do well. I currently have a straight-A streak in grad school and would really love to continue it through graduation. The grading scale is harsher here, though. One of my tutors explained in class yesterday that a B+ at Oxford is somewhat equivalent to a A- in the states. Which essentially means I need to earn an A+ on each paper to maintain my straight As. Yikes! Not likely.
To get started on my papers, I made my first trek to the library in Oxford yesterday. While we have access to the Bodleian Library (the second largest library in the world), no one is allowed to borrow books from there, so in order to do most of my research, I am using the Continuing Education Library of Oxford University. It is small, but surprisingly had all the books that I needed.
Today, I've been reading outside around Exeter and inside the JCR (Junior Common Room - a lounge of sorts for students). Here are a few pics that I took today while I was outside studying around the Fellows Garden:
View of Exeter Library from Fellows Garden
Fellows Garden of Exeter College
View of St. John's College and Radcliffe Camera
from the Fellows Garden
Now do you see why it's so hard to study around here? Too many beautiful distractions!