Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Day 157: C.S. Lewis, Terms and Breaks

I'm waiting for my bus in a quiet field just minutes from a busy London-bound road. I can see the Magdalen bridge in the distance, with a man and his dog just passing under it. The man has been wending his way in and out of trees that line the field in front of me, just as it would have been perhaps 50 years ago when C.S. Lewis walked these same grounds round his college (Magdalen).

Sidenote: C.S. Lewis is quite the name in Mormondom. I have heard that, after LDS canon, Lewis is the #1 quoted source from the pulpit in Salt Lake (that's code for the preaching of LDS hierarchy). I've been told by a friend to check out his haunts here at Oxford. I intend to now that Easter break is here – six weeks of pure freedom, but for the fact that my 15,000 word (they haven't discovered the page) essay is due in 10 weeks.

Yes, Easter break is here. Oxford is, of course, based on a term system rather than semesters. There are three terms: Michaelmus, Hilary, and Trinity. “Full term” for each lasts eight weeks. Often, an event will be scheduled on the “Wednesday of 5th week,” whenever that is, which will require a person to purchase an Oxford diary to make sense of their new life and “termly” schedule. Large organizations like the Oxford Union will have “term cards” of events for the eight weeks with no actual dates on them. Although full term ends on Friday of eighth week, materials are often due in ninth or even tenth week (when the official term ends). Events can also be scheduled (even for unwary Freshers like myself who are unfamiliar with termly vocabulary) in “naughth week,” or zero week, the week before full term begins.

In between the three “full terms” periods comes two six-week breaks, one for Christmas and one for Easter. It's great, although it's tough to know how much to work and how much to play. Seems it's a great time to get a lot of background reading and indexing in, and a little vacation. I am ready for both!

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