Thursday, November 5, 2015

Pursuing an Education

Studying at Oxford takes a lot of active involvement, but not necessarily in the way I thought it would. I hadn't previously thought much of the phrase 'pursuing a degree', but after a few weeks, the hunting metaphor seems fitting. Books from reading lists have to be located and gathered, often from multiple libraries. Things like using the online printing system are lightly explained; a lot is left for the student to figure out.

One striking example of this educational pursuit is a lab class I had. A syllabus was posted online with topics to be covered and the dates and times of meetings, but for the location of this class, only one word was given: 'Southwood'. A bit of digging in the syllabus revealed that this referred to Southwood Laboratory, but I couldn't find any mention of the place on the Zoology website or online in general. I guessed that Southwood would be a room in the Zoology building, where most of my lectures and labs take place. The Zoology receptionist, however, couldn't tell me anything and recommended I try the Plant Sciences building. The Plant Sciences receptionist assured me that I should look in the Zoology building. Another Zoology receptionist told me what floor to look on, and finally, with the help of another student, I found the mysterious Southwood-- the entrance was inside another lab with a different name. It was obvious once I knew where it was.

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