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Youmna Sirgi

Degree:

MBA

Location:

United States

Industry:

Consulting

Year:

2021-22

By Youmna Sirgi

Michaelmas term at Oxford Saïd

Most of Michaelmas term at Oxford has gone back to ‘normal’, meaning that COVID restrictions have been relaxed enough for students to take part in traditional Oxfordian life. Yet I can assure you, the past four months have been anything but ‘normal’. After more than a year of pandemic life, our MBA cohort has been living life to the fullest and taking advantage of every new friendship and experience. Here’s what an average week of evenings has looked like for me during the term:

  • Monday – Attend College Formal at Exeter College (Note to self: Schedule formal at Keble next month to return the favor)
  • Tuesday – Hillary Clinton inaugurates the first ever Women’s History Chair in the Sheldonian. Drinks at the Alchemist afterward.
  • Wednesday – Business Finance support class followed by MBA birthday dinner. (Note to self: Leave Thirst by 1:00 AM to be ready for class the next day).
  • Thursday – Oxford Union Debate night!
  • Friday – Reggaeton @ the Oxford Retreat
  • Saturday – Home cooked dinner with friends followed by drinks at The Victoria
  • Sunday – Finally look at classwork

It is a privilege to experience any of these evenings. The combination of so many special moments together is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity. And yet, when I reflect on my MBA thus far, what I am most grateful for is the friendships I’ve made with my fellow classmates. It is difficult moving to a new city by yourself. I’ve done it multiple times before and have struggled each time I’ve done so. And yet this time, it’s been uniquely affirming, and almost too easy. Birthday invitations are automatically inclusive of the entire MBA cohort (yes, all 350 of us). Morning study dates with one person quickly turn into a hoard of MBAs taking over a pub in the afternoon. Social invites are never-ending in our 1,000+ group chats and people are eager to consistently meet new people without settling too deeply into cliques. Of course, there have been days of loneliness and stress. However, even on harder days, I’ve had a listening ear from a classmate to make me feel better.

As I write this blog post, I am currently isolating after having tested positive for COVID (Day 5 of 10, halfway there!) The support that I’ve received over the past 5 days is the biggest testament that I can give to reflect our cohort’s care for one another. One friend offered me her apartment so that I could quarantine in a larger space than my college accommodation. Others have dropped coffee and treats off outside my door even after I asked them not to. Countless friends and classmates have texted and called to make sure that I’m staying sane. The UK’s recent spike in COVID is a humbling reminder that this virus is still very much with us. It’s cancelled holiday plans, put many of us in isolation, and ignited a lot of anxiety and sadness that we thought we were past. And yet, there’s no one else I would want to be navigating these challenging times with other than this cohort. Isolation is not fun; but it has felt monumentally easier knowing that I am ending my first term at Oxford with a community of people that are looking out for me. This blog post is dedicated to them. I can’t wait to continue deepening my friendships and making the most of this timeless experience we share together when we come back in Hilary.

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