Oxford advice for accepted applicants

Dear 26 potential WEPOites,

We are writing this to warn you of what you may experience if you decide to accept your place in the Williams-Exeter-Programme at Oxford next year. The biggest change will be the excessive amount of free time you will have with only two essays and two hours of tutorial a week. What are you going to do with yourself? It sounds wonderful, but beware. Your first daunting task will be escaping the remote Williams Compound zealously guarded by an intimidating Scottish guardsman (who also happens to have appeared in a “Bridget Jones’s Diary,” among other blockbusters.)

If you do happen to evade Keri Williams’ watchful eyes, take our advice and DO NOT partake in various forms of “imbibage” such as Wine Tasting, Pub Crawling, Crew Dating or the casual post-essay beer. Although you’re abroad, you’re probably still not 21 and your body is not fully ready for alcoholic consumption. Don’t even try to compete with the English; they’ve been practicing since they were 18. So stick to English Breakfast Tea.

And speaking of tea, we should caution you of the inevitable tea addiction you will develop in addition to the weight you will gain eating scones smothered with clotted cream and jam every Friday afternoon during High Tea.

If there is one grave mistake you can make at Oxford, it would be joining a novice crew boat or any sports team for that matter. After making friends with your British team-mates, you may notice strange sayings like “cheers, mate” slipping off the tip of your tongue. With your team, you’ll also be forced to go on long dates with eight members of the opposite sex several times per week. And when you get the midnight munchies, your only option will be an unsanitary, cheap Kebab stand run by Mr. Hassan because everything else in England closes at 11 p.m.

Oh, and academically, you might think Williams has prepared you to write a well-argued essay. But have you ever had to present your thesis to the pre-eminent scholar in your subject of study and defend it for the longest hour of your life? Chances are your defence will be cut short in the first few minutes to be followed by a long, pedantic explanation that will make you feel dumber than you’ve ever felt before.

Worst of all, when you’re on spring break and think you’re finally free, you’ll be forced to travel to a small island on the southern coast of Italy for a week with the programme where you’ll learn more about Greek Art and Italian culinary specialities than you ever wanted to know. So please take our advice and never leave the Purple Bubble. Danger awaits you if you do.

Cheers, mates.

Jake Gorelov ’09 and Danielle Perszyk ’09