Thea Sokolowski




United States


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By Thea Sokolowski

A Merry Christmichelmas to You

As our first term as MBA students draws to a close, I thought it appropriate to reflect on some highlights over the fast-moving train ride that has comprised the past few weeks.

As the term ended early in December for the rest of the university, last week kicked off for me with a traditional Christmas grad dinner in Balliol’s famous hall. We were greeted at our seats by boxes filled with balloons, noise makers, streamers and poppers. Like the children we are, we dove in, sending balloons up through the rafters, attempting to get one to stick and leave a mark on the ancient architecture. After some great food, lots of wine and too much dessert, we headed back to the MCR for some skits, some mulled wine and even more festivities.

However, too fast and too furious, our first exam approached the next day. Rather than donning my typical exam uniform from undergrad consisting of sweatpants, Uggs, and the biggest coffee mug I could find (forgive me, I’m American), I suited up in full, proper sub-fusc, white shirt and bow tie on tight, cap in hand, spending the morning running around desperately searching for a white carnation to attach to my lapel commemorating our “clean slates” (or, very first exams). I later found out this is not required but simply tradition – better safe than later finding out I failed analytics because I wasn’t wearing the proper floral arrangement.

Hopping in a cab to reach the exams school, located quite far from campus, we showed up in hordes waiting outside, taking pictures rather than taking last minute notes. We entered, gazing on rows and rows of numbered seats waiting for us to fill them. Needless to say, I’m pretty sure we all killed it. (#allaboutthatbayes)

Following some extensive celebration, a big chunk of us boarded a coach bus around noon the following day to show some Blues love at the Varsity Rugby match against Cambridge, way out at the famous Twickenham Stadium. There was some beer, some brawn and a lot of Blues celebrating. It was definitely a game to remember.

Rolling into our final week, we closed out the term with a holiday party, taking over a bar in Cowley and pretty much cleaning out the local Primark of its ugly holiday sweaters. There is no shortage of holiday cheer in these hallowed halls.

As I head home for the holidays, I’m actually finding it quite difficult to leave. We’ve fallen into a sort of custom here – seeing the same faces everyday, facing full schedules from morning to night and confronting constant challenges and new things all the time. We’ve found our own comforts in our daily cappuccinos, favorite couches and that (often painful) bike ride to school. Going home, I think we’ll all be just a bit different. But I think we’ll be bringing with us a whole suitcase full of stories, a bit of new wisdom and perhaps an Oxford treat or two. I know I will, no doubt returning rested and ready to take on the next term, the new adventures, the long winter, and the full week of exams that lie ahead.


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