A Year in the Life of Me

For a slightly more ordered ease of access, below you can find links to all my journal posts from the past year over the course of the MSt degree.

Michaelmas (September – December 2015)

And We’re Off (-2nd Week)

Settling In (-1 Week)

“Benign Anarchy” (-1 Week)

Surviving the Beginning (0th and 1st Week)

A Change in Seasons (2nd Week)

Tempus Fugit (3rd Week)

Fog (4th Week)

Singing for My Supper (5th Week)

Essaying Essays (6th Week)

Oxmas (7th Week)

With Regrets (8th Week)

Christmas Vacation (December 2015 – January 2016)

Christmas ‘Break

Hilary (January to March 2016)

A New Beginning (1st Week)

Anatomy of a Reading List (2nd Week)

The Wonderful World of Historiography (3rd Week)

Lots of Lectures (4th Week)

Forays into Manuscripts (5th Week)

Insert Title Here (6th Week)

The Trouble with Words (7th Week)

Escape to Scotland (8th Week)

Easter Vacation (March – April 2016)

Recovering from Easter Vacation

Trinity (April – June 2016)

The Penultimate Stretch (1st Week)

Now is the Month of Maying (2nd Week)

Messing about in Boats (3rd Week)

A Glimmer of Understanding (4th Week)

More Fun on the River (5th Week)

Plenty of Trees, No Forest (6th Week)

A Mini-Holiday (7th Week)

The End’s Beginning (8th Week)

Dissertation Doldrums (9th/10th Week)

Long Vacation (June – September 2016)

Un Séjour en France

A Supervision

The Final Stretch

A Supervision, Part II

Submission Day!

Drum roll, please!





Drum roll, please! (Long Vac)

Last Friday, the Board of Examiners met to render judgement on our dissertations and determine our final marks for the course. And today, at long last, the marks were released.

In the old days results were apparently posted as public lists in the Exam Schools, but in recent years this practice has been scrapped in favour of more discreet methods (a decision which is apparently still being mulled over at the Other Place), and sometime this afternoon we all received an email inviting us to log in to Student Self Service to view our individual marks and final award for our degree. Already a nail-biting moment, it was even more nerve-wracking for those of us with mark-based conditions on our offers for the DPhil, which was due to start in a few weeks.

A few tense clicks later, and I found that the examiners (bless them!) had given me marks to match my highest hopes, granting me a Distinction for my degree. Quite a thrill for someone who started the year just hoping to pass!

My mother’s response when I relayed the joyous news was ‘Hooray! … What does that mean?’ Unlike the undergraduate examinations, which result in a degree class (1st class, upper 2nd [2:1], lower 2nd [2:2], 3rd), the master’s degree classifies its final award in the same way as it does the individual papers: Fail (<60), Pass (60-69), or Distinction (70+). Distinction in the degree generally requires an overall average 70 or above, plus a distinction mark in the dissertation and at least one of the essays.

Bizarrely, my highest mark was for my first essay on historiography, which was easily the paper that I submitted with the most uncertainty and trepidation!

A poem by Gerard Manley Hopkins

New-dated from the terms that reappear,
More sweet-familiar grows my love to thee,
And still thou bind’st me to fresh fealty
With long-superfluous ties, for nothing here
Nor elsewhere can thy sweetness unendear.
This is my park, my pleasuance, this to me
As public is my greater privacy,
All mine, yet common to my every peer.
Those charms accepted of my inmost-thought,
The towers musical, quiet-walled grove,
The window-circles, these may all be sought
By other eyes, and other suitors move,
And all like me may boast, impeached not,
Their special-general title to thy love.

– Gerard Manley Hopkins (1865),
whilst an undergraduate at Balliol College, Oxford