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One thing I’d change about Oxford… the weather

It’s 1st week, which means a flurry of ‘catchup’ conversations on the staircase as you haul your life’s possessions into your college room. These chats inevitably revolve around three key topics: holidays (New Year gossip), Collections (think you can out-fail me?) and, a last resort, the weather (the ultimate awkward-conversation classic). But if there is one thing I could change about Oxford, it would genuinely be the weather.

Having just returned to Oxford from holidays at home in Sydney, it’s all been a bit of a shock. The grey skies, 4pm sunsets, and fussing over gloves, scarves, and beanies, simply cannot compare with a month spent drinking watermelon mojitos in a bikini at Bondi.

Checking my phone every morning brings a wave of melancholy as I jealously scroll through beach snaps of my tanned friends or snapchats emblazoned with “38 degrees *heart-eye emoji face*”.

I’ve resorted to eating ice cream and drinking tropical cocktails at sub-zero temperatures just to maintain the illusion of summer as I face each week’s weather forecast.

Although I still find frost exciting (Sydney’s average winter temperature is a frost-bite inducing 13 degrees), the prospect of a permanently temperate, say Mediterranean, climate does sound appealing. Think of all the benefits of Trinity Term—punting, Pimms, sitting on the quad—but all year long.

On a more serious note, there are numerous physical and psychological benefits associated with warmer weather and sunlight exposure, such as increased Vitamin D intake, exercise frequency and up-beat socialising. As a coxswain whose exercise now consists of shivering, despite wearing ten thermal layers, I would much prefer outdoor sunrise runs.

Ultimately, a perpetual summertime Oxford would simply be a more vibrant, active, and happier place. So as I face the long post-Christmas winter, collections and an Australia Day in the Northern Hemisphere, I believe we could all do with a little extra sunshine to brighten up our days.

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