9 June 2013
I arrived at Oxford University early this afternoon. The entire city of Oxford is incredible. Everything is so old and beautiful, and the students and citizens of the town bustle from place to place on the narrow cobblestone streets that dot the city. Cute restaurants and unique shops are found everywhere. I am stoked to spend the next two weeks exploring as much of Oxford as is humanly possible. It is my quest to learn and grow as much as I can.
All photos in this post are taken at Oxford University.
I am living at the Becket House with several other BYU students who are attending Oxford or the next two weeks. It is a beautiful place right next door to a 12th century church. The church yard is filled with huge overhanging trees and an ancient graveyard…tomorrow I am going to go and explore.
Brother and Sister White are incredible. Bishop white as I call him still, was my Freshman YSA bishop at Helaman Halls. They moved to London at the beginning of this year and they live right near the city center…in the most perfect location ever. They were so kind to take my luggage during my time in continental Europe and keep it until I returned. I stayed at their place last night and it was wonderful, I had a nice bed, shower, conditioner, lotion, perfume, and fresh clothes! It was so nice to come back to my luggage…I never thought I would enjoy living out of a suitcase, but it beats living out of a backpack for sure!
There are many museums at Oxford holding some of the most interesting artifacts I want to see. Alert Einstein’s calculations still on his chalkboard, the last remaining beak and foot of the dodo bird,etc…
Most of the colleges here at Oxford were founded between 1100 and 1300. The importance of the matter is that Oxford is older than Cambridge. Just like the battle between the English and the French, Oxford and Cambridge constantly must duke out who is better in different aspects of University and societal living.
The Oxford students I have met surprisingly seem just like normal University students. I know they are smart, but it is nice to see that anyone who has the desire, work ethic, and talent can do the exact same thing as they.
Oxford is unlike any other University I have ever attended. The University is made up of 38 different colleges (kind of like mini specialized Universities) that are spread throughout the town. There are 15,000 Oxford undergraduates and 8,000 graduates students, whose numbers once contained CS lewis, JRR Tolkins, William Pen, and many other incredible scholars.
We went to church this morning at the Hyde Park ward, the ward that everyone who visits London goes to. It is in the middle of Museum Row, right in downtown London. This is the home ward of Brother and Sister White, although they are involved in a YSA ward in London and attend that ward more frequently. Hyde Park Ward really is the place to go if you are visiting London on a Sunday, Jimmer and Whitney Fredette were even there today. I chatted with him about BYU, basketball, London, Europe, and Oxford for quite a while. I am surprised he remembered me from summer basketball in the Marriott nearly two years ago. Jimmer really is one of the humblest people I know. He congratulated me on our teams accomplishments, applauded me for my acceptance into Oxford and Cambridge, and asked a lot of questions about what him and his wife should see during their vacation in London. When I told him I had just finished backpacking Europe and was headed to Oxford, he was very impressed and curious…so we chatted for a while. Small world isn’t it??
Today I went to church with Jimmer and Whitney in Hyde Park, London, attended a ward at Oxford with Clayton Christensen, and explored one of the top Universities in the World…I start class in 3 hours and cannot wait!
Kailey is one of my friends from BYU who is also attending Oxford. There are so many incredible people wanting to learn as much as they can while at Oxford…I am so blessed to be a part of this opportunity. This is BYU’s first major interaction with Oxford, a type of pioneer trial. I am extremely blessed to be a part of it and have made it my goal to give Oxford the best impression of a BYU student that I possibly can.
Alright, today has just been one of those miraculous days… Not only did I see Jimmer in the Hyde Park ward, when I arrived in Oxford with the Whites, we dropped off my stuff at the Becket House and they took me to the church where I would meet up with my group. When I walk into the Sunday School room, guess who is sitting directly across from me? Clayton Christensen, one of the smartest innovators and business man to ever live. It is incredible to be in a ward and listen to astounding Oxford students speak about things they are so passionate about. After the meetings were over we had a munch and mingle and I got to meet a lot of really great people.
When you take exams at Oxford after three years of study, you where a black gown. A white carnations is carried to symbolize the completion of your first exam, a pink for the following exams, and a final red flower is carried when you have completed your final exam. Until you receive your degree you cannot wear the official hat on your head…you must carry it. I hope one day I will get to wear this hat again…and this time for the real thing.
We took a little tour of some of Oxdford’s colleges. Class starts bright and early tomorrow so I am going to hit the hay…