As if having our own creole, calendar and Christmas were not enough, Oxford has also begun to harbour its very own unique set of maladies.
Sirrhosis: Inability to conceive of oneself as having a future career which will not end with a knighthood or some other high honour. In extreme cases, the sufferer may believe it is written that they will one day become prime minister.
Risk factors: PPE students; Those who seek out banking internships (may be becoming rarer now).
Imprecisionitis: Inability of a humanities student to give a precise and definite answer to a question, preferring a more discursive and allusive response. “How many tickets have we sold?: “A few, but then what is a ticket really?”
Risk factors: English students; Dyscalculics
Benchicide (ideation): The overwhelming desire for a scientist to murder their infuriating bench partner, preferably with whatever piece of apparatus comes to hand. Carrying out benchicide itself is a crime punishable by law.
Risk factors: All those with labs
Vacture: A debilitating failure to apply oneself to useful activity over a vacation. Comorbid with normal procrastination, but somehow heightened to heroic proportions via enormous sessions of box set watching, extensive Facebook stalking and blanket self-loathing.
Discoursclerosis: Another humanities ailment characterised by the complete failure of a student to adequately communicate the beauty and clarity of a particular thought to a tutor during a tutorial, instead presenting the idea as an incoherent heap of tangled nonsense.
Risk factors: Philosophy students
Donitis: (rare) Total dedication to subject at expense of all other areas of life.
Risk factors: Personal Statement writers; Some scholars
OPD (Oxbridge personality disorder): Inability to consider anyone who has not passed through Oxford or Cambridge as a serious human being with valid opinions and skills of their own. At Varsity matches this may transmute into its most extreme form: Oxford Personality Disorder.
Risk factors: Snobs, Those from families in which everyone has been Oxbridge educated since King Arthur’s knights started sending their children here in view of a rising bourgeoisie in a changing economy.
Smugture: Unwarranted smugness owing to one’s mastery of a small area of human endeavour at a university level.
Risk factors: Sports people; Less socially adept scientists
Smuture: The inexplicable tendency of your otherwise highly intelligent and cultured friend to make jokes of childish lewdness at various intervals and derive an absurd amount of amusement therefrom.
Scoopomania: Inability of a student journalist to appreciate that very few people are as excited about their revelation of petty corruption in the lowest ranks of a student society sub-committee as they are, even if they have bothered to read the relevant piece.
Risk factors: Virtually all student journalists
Extracts from: “Oxford Maladies: A compendium” available in all good medical libraries.