Oxford slang is quite confusing at first, and may seem at times to venture into the realms of Clockwork Orange – you’ll check your ‘pidge’ (pigeonhole) in the ‘plodge’ (porters’ lodge), will sign ‘up’ and ‘down’ at the start and end of term – so here is Cherwell’s helpful guide, and some of the things we wish we’d know before we ‘came up’.
Ah, of course. Why we’re all here. Because we were the best and brightest of our various sixth forms. So people will (obviously) take their work very seriously. They’ll intimidate you with their summer reading (voluntary of course) and will leave you to wallow in your awkward ‘I don’t know the answer to that question’ silence in tutorials. Who cares? You’ll be the one with all the stories about vomming on your shoes. Who’s the real winner eh?
The awful Oxford slang for a college disco. Some are raucous and amazing fun, some are awful (Merton…) most play Queen’s ‘Don’t Stop Me Now’ at least once. All have potent cocktails that will burn your taste buds off. Invariably fancy dress, but it’s not like school: the cool kids all dress up. In costumes that took more time to plan than your vac essay. Seriously.
Where the cool kids hang out. Sweaty, small and too cool for its own good. Edgy hair and ironic dress only.
The foil of Babylove, just as sweaty. Cheesy fun. And it has a stripper pole that rugby boys tend to flock round. Unexplained. Just don’t get ‘Anuba’d’. Anuba is the bar (waiting room) you go to if the queue for Bridge is too long. You’ll be given a ticket like when you bought your school shoes from Clarks. No night can recover.
Short for ‘Bodleian Library’. Seriously, go to your fresher orientation otherwise you will never find your way round. And it’s seriously embarrassing going as a third year, and asking where you get books out from, trust me. Don’t try to take them home, you can’t, and you’ll be rugby tackled by a security guard if you try.
A very unique Oxford thing. One all girl ‘crew’ (think netball team, drinking society, women’s elephant polo club) goes for a curry or to a formal hall with another all boy crew (rugby team, drinking society, general lads). Can be between colleges or uni wide. One side pays for dinner; the other provides the wine (minimum one bottle per person). General hilarity ensues in the form of drinking games and copping off with each other. Although Cherwell advises against the latter.
Beginning of term exams used to check you weren’t telling porkies about how much work you did. Taken in various degrees of seriousness – some are in exam conditions, some you’re allowed to take back to your room. Don’t panic about them, very uncool. Go for studied nonchalance instead.
Ah, infamous tabloid fodder. Some are just as elite as described – despite various equality committees trying to intervene and spoil their fun. Each college has their own, with their own bizarre traditions. Initiations are a must.
The infamous ‘Buller’ is now supposedly struggling for members- it’s now cooler to turn it down than to accept. The first rule of equally infamous Piers Gav is you don’t talk about Piers Gav (just google it). Christ Church Cardinals throw the best party every term, but don’t be fooled by the black tie. Ain’t nothing classy about their ‘cocktails’. Girls drinking societies are a bit of an oxymoron, but they do try.
A college tutor. Derived from the Latin dominus meaning variously master, lord, owner, host. A strange species that comes in wildly different forms. Some are old school and will offer you a glass of wine and spend the whole hour talking about opera, some will let you call them by their first name, some are terrifying and are not to be crossed. Most cannot be fooled, and they’ve seen every trick in the book. And have probably already read that essay you’re trying to pass off as your own. You will, however, learn their traits and your own tricks for getting around them, even if it is just to avoid eye contact and sudden movements.
Short for Entertainment, your Entz Reps will arrange the bops and other super fun events – think chocolate orange world record attempts. club nights as well as your Freshers’ Week, film nights, and selling tickets for club nights throughout term. Be nice to them and they’ll save you tickets and tell you what’s happening.
Ban the phrase ‘essay crisis’ from your vocabulary. It’s irritating, and if you have one, it’s your own entire fault. Yes, you will get lots of them, particularly if you do a humanity, but get over it. There’s some myhtical guideline that says you can only be set sixteen in a term. Maybe that’s not very comforting. Double spacing is your best friend (the pages multiple, like magic!). And despite what you may think, doubling the expected word count will not impress your tutor. You’re just giving them more to cover in red pen.
Where Prelims, Mods and Finals are held (more on those later). On the High Street. Also where you’ll have to hand in any finals coursework. Not really a place of laughs and giggles.
The Brookes night, in the O2 in Cowley. Voted the fifth easiest place to pull in some lads’ mag, some time ago. Buy your ticket in advance, and take your breath mints. Not for the faint hearted.
Final examinations at the end of 3 or 4 years as an undergraduate. Some degrees are divided in to Part Ones (taken at the end of second year) and Part Twos (taken at the end of third or fourth year) much to the annoyance of people actually trying to have fun at the end of their term. Finalists can be recognized by a permanent caffeine shake and the deep scowl if people even whisper loudly in the library. Probably best avoided in Trinity term.
First years. Will be said with distain by some second years, who have conveniently forgotten they were one just a year ago. Don’t do anything too outrageous in Freshers’ Week because the nickname ‘Fresher Slut/Lad/Douche/Sick’ etc will stick for the rest of the year. Technically you should only be called a Fresher in your first term, but no one pays any attention to that. And you’ll be told to “Down it, Freshaaaaaa!”, quite a lot.
G and D’s
An Oxford cafe – one in Cowley, one on St Aldates – specializing in ice cream and bagels. Always busy after nine as people avoid work and get their caffeine fix, but it’s expensive… But it IS open til midnight. So, swings and roundabouts.
Short and armless if you’re not a scholar, long and more batman like if you are. Also refers to the University in the phrase ‘Town vs. Gown’ – the ever-bubbling tension (apparently) between students and the normal people of Oxford.