The Oxford Diaries: (3) Settling In To Oxford


In November, 2012 I applied to Oxford for the MSc course. I learned a number of things a long the way that I believe, or hope, will help future students sort of stuck in my situation. This series explores my graduate college life.

So I’m here! It’s a bit weird to be writing this on a new desk, with a new view (sorta, it’s pitch black where I am right now!) and in a new country, but the blog must go on! I must admit, I’m having a bit of a social anxiety moment right now, because as I’m blogging I’m thinking, What if everyone is talking and becoming friends? While I’m here talking to the internet?

Well, to that I say a big fuck you to that though. That’s lesson 1 today folks: Thou must not get socially anxious the moment you are alone, you will make friends, if you do not, at least you tried- and you have to study anyway.

But I digress, I haven’t written an Oxford Diaries post for ages so I must go back a bit. I’ve jumped from application drama to ta-da, I’m here! I’ll write another post about funding, pre-departure tips and the art of saying goodbye without bursting into tears (I haven’t mastered it yet, but I’m getting better) later, but for now, I just want to talk about Settling In.

Moving into a new place is hard, especially if you’re remotely Type A like me, and totally analyze the heck out of everything needlessly. I was a bit bummed when I got here because I realised that my house is a good 10 minutes away from the campus. Is this important? Well, yes and no. I have to work harder to meet people who can just frolic their way to a close neighbor. I also have safety and security issues as I have none for my house! But Lesson 2 is coming up right now, Look for the Bright Side in Everything. Because, truly, there is one! My bright side? I get privacy (Fuck yeah!) and I get silence and I truly get to know the people I live with. There are no distractions and it feels like real living. I have a huge kitchen as well, maybe I’ll even learn how to cook!

When you’re Settling In, I think that’s when students feel their most insecure and most homesick. I am the insecure and pessimistic types and languished in my room the first day. Do not do this. I was so scared that I’d fail in making friends, or meet people and they wouldn’t like me, that I was shooting the opportunity before it even arrived.  You have to throw yourself out there and if it works, great, if not, well, their loss. Thankfully, with the help of friends and family at home, Lesson 1 was developed. It’s a balance of home and social activities, and if you want to be alone (confidently and with self-esteem), then that is best!

But my experience particularly? I left The Bahamas a week ago and was fortunate that my Aunt was able to come with me. I initially resisted this, because I prefer to travel alone, especially when sad or weepy but having someone proved to be the wiser decision. She brought a huge pool of resources with her such as family, contacts, a house to stay for a little bit and a chance to get familiar with everything. I went to London, got to ride the Overground (and went under!), I saw Sussex, Beachy Head, Eastbourne and Brighton. It was amazing, and I am eternally grateful towards her for it!

Coming with someone also gave me the chance to relax, as I had someone there with me every step of the way. She helped me get a UK sim, open a UK bank account and translated some social norms along the way. For instance, don’t ask for pants in a UK store, they think you’re asking for underwear. There are tons of funny idiosyncrasies that I’ll talk about in another post! Finally I moved into Oxford on Tuesday and I’ve been fortunate to meet people, walk around, join the local library and have some ‘me‘ time. I still struggle and worry about a lot of things, but I’m trying.


I went to a real British pub! Yay! The food is quite different from home…


Christ Church College, Oxford. No, I do not live here, so calm down.

I’m sorry if I’m a bit jumpy or writing all over the place, a part of me wants the Oxford Diaries to be this mini-anthropological digital retelling of a college experience, and a part of me wants it to be a mini-journal of good and bad moments. Maybe I can find a good middle?



About Claire (BWB)

It's Claire (aka Quirky) from Bitches With Books, an online book blog that serves up a healthy dose of book reviews, lists + literary madness.
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13 Responses to The Oxford Diaries: (3) Settling In To Oxford

  1. Pingback: ARC Review: Cracked (Soul Eaters #1) | Bitches With Books

  2. Steph says:

    I am going to live vicariously through you now! That’s so awesome you’re at Oxford now 🙂 I visited once a few years ago while on a literary tour England and can’t imagine how cool it would be to live there. “Settling in” is always tough and you’re super awesome for doing it a different country nonetheless. (And maybe now you’ll have time to visit all the amazing Harry Potter sites there 🙂

  3. Pingback: My Bitchin’ Rundown (September 29 to 5 October) | Bitches With Books

  4. DoingDewey says:

    I’m glad things are getting better and hope they keep getting better still! I think you’re incredibly brave for making such a huge transition and can’t wait to hear more about it 🙂

  5. Now that is a transition. Going from the laxness of the Caribbean, to the hustle and bustle of the UK,is something that requires a lot of inner strength and determination. It is great that your aunt still came along despite your reluctance. Getting your bank account, your phone, and all that good shit is better when you have someone with you – well to me. I do not see anything wrong with not feeling like socializing right now. You are still need to adapt some more to your environment. I guess when you the hang of things, finding company will be less daunting. Nothing is wrong with pushing yourself now though.

    I hope you continue to settle in well! Looking forward to more of the Oxford Diaries!

  6. Cee says:

    We, internet people, have your back! You go do stuff! ;D

    Oh man, no wonder you and I get along. I am pretty much the worst at socializing. I tend to overthink every little bit (mainly about what to talk about), which leads to anxiety and insecurity. I’d rather distract myself with the internet instead of interacting with strangers. IDK what people talk about. I hate to throw myself in the deep end, but it’s totally necessary to make friends.

    Yay for your aunt being there with you! I feel like having that person gives you a bit of security (especially in a foreign country) because they know what they’re doing.

    • Claire (BWB) says:

      I think this is why we get along because everything you’re describing in your comment is what I do. I over think everything and it gets to the point where I have such crippling anxiety, I have to run away. People don’t realise it though because I am really loud and when you get me talking, I don’t ever shut up but I am extremely socially anxious and introverted. I remember a time when it was easy for me, to make friends and feel confident, but something happened, I got burned a lot and now I just… stay on my computer.

  7. Kelley says:

    Glad to hear that you’re settling even, even if it’s been a bit rocky. I feel like it’s always going to be a bit rocky when moving to a completely new place, though. It’s great that you had your aunt there to help!

    Bravo and getting out there and forcing yourself to be a bit more social and make friends. I am so introverted that I’m horrible with this. When I first went off to college, basically the only person I knew the entire time was my roommate, and this one guy from class because HE made the effort to become friends with me FIRST. Sigh, I am so bad, lol. I’m sure you’ll have a better time of it than I did though. 🙂

    • Claire (BWB) says:

      I’m pretty awful. My girlfriend sends me texts every now and then with sayings like “go outside”, “smile at people”, “DON’T EAT ALONE IN YOUR ROOM”. It’s hard but I’ll try and if it doesn’t work out, well, I’ll have kick ass grades!!! 😀 Thanks for sharing your story, it makes me see that there is hope for people like us! *.*

  8. I think it’s funny because so much of what you’re going through is what I’m going through so I can definitely relate. And I’m share along the line we will both end up sharing similar stories on our blogs since I’ll be recapping my adventures as well! I do think it’s great you had someone with you for the journey. I think that was my biggest problem when I arrived. Though I had my boyfriend here in the country, I wasn’t actually going to see him until the weekend after. So when I arrived and didn’t have my dorm stuff, had no clue how to get anywhere, and things were just wrong it was a mess! Luckily, he ended up coming right over. But just having someone for that transition is huge!

    The differences between US and UK are quite funny. I haven’t asked anyone for pants yet, but that’s always good to know. Right now I’m still trying to get used to a sweater being a jumper.

    Anyways, I’m glad you’re doing better! I’ve spent my last two days here locked in my room so don’t feel too bad. There’s always so much to do both school and blog wise. But heck yes, we’ll both have to take advantage of the people and surroundings as long as we can!

    If you’re ever back in the London area and want to meet up, let me know!

  9. Woohoo! YAY for getting all settled in, despite all the little things that try to get in the way. Carry on, girl! Don’t worry about making friends. It just sort of happens, organically, and it’s better that way. Be you, and everyone will love you to pieces, just like we all do down here in boring Nassau. 🙂

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