Cherwell’s fresher glossary: part two

Oxford slang can be confusing at first, and may seem at times to venture into the realms of Clockwork Orange – you’ll check your ‘pidge’ in the ‘plodge’, and will sign ‘up’ and ‘down’ at the start and end of term.

So here’s the second part of Cherwell’s invaluable guide to the ins and outs of the unique Oxford dialect – this time from H all the way through to P.

Hilary

This is Oxford’s middle term and is generally stress-free. No worries about starting a new year, no exams. Oh, unless you do Classics or Psychology- BUM OUT. Everyone else- have a ball. And remember to visit your less fortunate friends in the library.

Hall

Often the home of suspicious food and chat. Hall is the opportunity to eat anything and talk to anyone, which can be delightful or disastrous. Awkward conversation accompanied by lentils is never a winner. But hall can be great- curry nights, burgers- and all for a fairly decent price. And formal hall is a real Oxford classic; get your gowns on for three courses at very competitive pricing. Always a good pre-lash, and with guest tickets available you can get your out-of-college friends over, or head over to their necks of the wood. Heads up: Trinity’s food is considered the icing on the proverbial cake, so get a friend to invite you along.

Initiations

The messier the better, is clearly the mantra of many sports teams and drinking societies in this department. Basically a chance to humiliate new arrivals with a series of ridiculous tasks and games. In boys’ societies this usually ends up with huge amounts of vom or passing out, or both, and with girls it probably will culminate in a game of ‘I have never’- OMG, so hardcore.

Jericho

One of the most expensive areas in Oxford, Jericho offers some pretty fancy student accommodation and thus has gained its reputation as the posh side of town. It boasts some great and more unusual restaurants than your average Pizza Express, such as Branca or Pierre Victoire, so give those a go if you’re feeling flashy. For a more sophisticated pre-lash there’s Raouls, a classy cocktail bar, and a great venue for a drinks party or get-together.

JCR

Standing for Junior Common Room, the JCR is a place where all under-grads can hang out. Usually containing comfy sofas, TVs, video consoles and pool tables, it draws in many a visitor, so if you’re stuck in Freshers’ week, I’d say heading there is a safe bet to find people. The JCR also has a committee- a student body that is elected by the students of the college to act on their behalf. Hustings (the occasion when candidates makes their speeches and take questions) are always amusing so don’t miss them- with questions ranging from the banal to the ridiculous, “Can you give an interpretative dance on why we should pick you?”, it’s like the X-factor gone wrong.

Jamals

Scene of many a crew date crime, Jamals is an Indian restaurant in Jericho and the obvious location for 20 or so lairy boys and girls to get ‘lashed’. Curry and a ‘bring your own’ alcohol policy make a heady combination, and many have been known to leave a little worse for wear (passed out/ paralytic/ chunder-covered) from this most respectable establishment.

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Jagerbombs

If you’re buying a round in Oxford, a constant crowd pleaser is the Jagerbomb. Much tastier than a shot, but easier to down than a whole drink- you can be sure to return to the dance floor in seconds. And boys can look manly too in the ‘down in one’ stakes… so everyone’s a winner.

Kukui

Tuesday night, Friday night… Yes, this favourite is frequented by many twice a week. It’s got some sort of faux-Hawaiian theme going on, can have hour long queues, and has only one main dance floor, but embrace it. The antithesis to edginess, Kukui is cringe, but classic.

Kebab Vans

Every college has their favourite; whether it’s Hassan’s or Mehdi’s that floats your boat, most offer the same menu involving pitta and meat or chips and cheese. Sure, they’re not the healthiest choice, but there’s no better way to get rid of those drunken munchies. Just try not to get them for every dinner… And anyway, if you’re a health-fiend there’s always the Organic Burger Van by St Johns, which is so high-class, it barely scrapes into this kebab category.

LGBT

Standing for ‘Lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender’, most colleges have a representative for those within this group who perhaps need support or advice. This gives the opportunity to talk to another student in confidentiality, in a non-pressurised environment, who really understands what you might be going through. Plus Wadham is known for holding outrageous LGBT bops (see above for definition of bops) which are notorious throughout the whole Uni. Everyone wants to attend this event for the chance to dress up in drag or Diva it up- it’s one of the best and lairiest fancy-dress opportunities around.

Library

College libraries impose varying degrees of discipline; all I’ll say is I’ve definitely seen someone eat a Chinese take away in ours. In Trinity term the library becomes the place to be- eat, work, sleep, socialise- you name it, the library’s doing it. Although try to avoid sleeping there if possible as being caught napping in the aisle/ under your desk is always awkward. For a more controlled atmosphere hit up the University libraries- The Bod (mentioned previously), The Rad Cam, and The SSL, are just a few delightful examples.

Lectures

9 o’clock lectures are officially the bane of everyone’s life, especially after a night out. Last night’s make-up, pale faces, I’ve even seen someone in a poorly adapted version of black tie (he had removed his bowtie) – an impressive devotion to the cause of learning. Lectures are essential for science students, and you’ll be sure to hear them whinging about this, but are sometimes taken as a liberal discipline for the Arts students who can be known to make sporadic appearances.

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Michaelmas

Winter term in oxford language. Michaelmas always starts in the revelling of Freshers week (which only gets funner year on year) and ends in invariable grumbling about the cold (oxford is in a countryside dip resulting in chills dontcha know?), culminating in Christmas being celebrated offensively early, so dig out your festive attire by November 1st at the latest.

Matriculation

The ceremony (at the end of 1st week in Michaelmas) whereby you are officially enrolled as an Oxford student. Involves standing around in the Sheldonian theatre for approximately 15 minutes whilst some Latin is barked at you, and tourists stand perplexed trying to work out why you are wearing gowns, and look like some kind of over-keen waitress. Strongly recommended is the celebrations at the turf – where everyone heads for a cheeky celebration drink (or two).

Mortarboards

Fairly pointless, flat boarded black caps with a tassel on top that are worn at matriculation (see above)and for exams. I use the word “worn” rather loosely – its bad luck to put them on your head before you graduate so the only option is to awkwardly carry them around.

May Day

An oxford tradition (crazy party goers that we are) to stay up all night in order to watch the singers of Magdalen College School sing at the top of the bell-tower at 6am. Whilst the singing itself might be a bit of an anti-climax, the night preceding is great fun and be sure to have breakfast as every one of oxford’s pubs opens its doors in the early hours so that the party can be continued. Hardcore.

OUSU

Stands for the Oxford University Student Union, where issues such as accommodation, housing, teaching and equality are discussed. This committee do a lot to improve the standard of student life in all different areas. Representatives are elected every year (a vote which every student is entitled to) so make sure to watch out for manifestos in our lovely Cherwell!

Park End

Actual name “Lava Ignite”, changed from Park End by some promoter who felt the need to reinvent, but found that the old name just stuck. Frequented on a Wednesday night (aka sports/crew date night), it’s literally jam-packed by 10pm. Boasting three different dance-floors: r n b, cheese and dance (tenuous. More like less extreme cheese) there’s a wealth of variety for any music tastes. Highlights include the crazy dancing, the vast proportion of costumed revellers, and the carpeted floor of the first bar (with a wonderful quality of retaining the smell of vomit). Enter Park End at your own peril – not one to be experienced sober.

Principal

Head of the college, supposedly presiding over college business, but rarely comes into contact with undergraduates. More like a mythical figure, rarely seen except in the murky distance of the high table at formal hall.