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The Mass Media

The Mass Media

2-26-24 PDF
February 26, 2024
An inside look at Bobby B. Beacon’s insides. Illustrated by Bianca Oppedisano/ Mass Media Staff.
Bobby's Inside Story
February 26, 2024

The Oxford Blog: Week 6

Even with six weeks to spend in Oxford, I still feel as though I won’t have even close to enough time to see everything there is to see in this small but historic city. 
One of the biggest perks of my Oxford architecture and art class is getting a chance to see some of the major buildings and sites in Oxford as classwork and homework. In the past couple weeks, we have seen the interior of the Divinity School at the Bodleian Library, Christ Church, and a couple other historically significant campuses of Oxford. This week’s visit was perhaps my favorite so far – Merton College.
Although I still think the campus of Trinity, where I’m staying, is by far the most beautiful of the campuses I’ve seen, Merton is a close second. The Merton College chapel is one of my favorite examples of Victorian revisions of Oxford buildings. Some may call it gaudy, but I absolutely loved its Byzantine detailed ceiling, full of shiny golds, reds, blues, greens, and pinks. From floor to ceiling, the chapel is decked out in glitzy floral carvings. Merton also has one of the largest and most beautiful gardens, containing a lake with ducks and swans, and forested walkways. It’s a real escape for its students and visitors, and just reminds me how much I will miss this city when I leave.
I’m trying my best to absorb as much as possible. Every day, I feel conscious of the fact that time is slipping away. I feel become aware of some things in the culture here, too. Sometimes, when I’m having a conversation with a young British person or even one of my fellow program-members, I noticed a conviction-the understanding that traditional English literature is considered the pinnacle of being cultured. It’s a slightly alienating feeling, one that feels familiar from my high school days. Everybody (well, almost) in this program is far more progressive than my peers in my hometown, but a lot of the time I’m aware of my otherness. People seem to look at me more, too – notice my curls as different. I can’t say I’m surprised. Oxford is strongly attached to maintaining its history, and its history is unfortunately very exclusive. Like many other universities, Oxford only admitted men in its early days, and some of the campuses still have some conservative tendencies.
My professors, however, are as progressive as they come. I’ve already had some great conversations about American and British politics with both my architecture and art teachers, as well as my Jane Austen professor. It’s exciting to hear about the perspectives of those who have grown up and are rooted in academia in England. I’m surprised by how similar American and English culture is – if I moved to England, overall, things would feel pretty much the same. I’m curious to see how France and Italy are, when the time comes for me to go.