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    Michael(mas): Everyone’s Toxic Ex

    Brittany Perera compares Michaelmas to child birth and considers why we put ourselves through the strains and stresses of an Oxford degree.

    It’s weird isn’t it, having more than one kid.  

    I love kids (not in a weird way, you creep) but, you’d think that after the pain of childbirth and having your vagina stretched to the size of a small melon, if someone was like,  

    “You wanna go for round 2?” 

    You’d be like,

     “I’m good.” 

    But my mum’s one of six, which means her mum either has a vagina of steel or a taste for masochism. 

    Turns out she has neither. 

    After childbirth your brain releases some hormone/chemical (medics come at me) that makes you forget how painful it actually was. And how on Earth can you be upset about the pain when ‘awhhh cute baby! It looks  ike literally every other baby on the planet but let’s pretend it has your forehead!’ *pinches cheeks.* 

    Oxford is Childbirth. See, I got to the point eventually. I’ve never given birth (shocker) but they say that it’s the 2nd most painful thing that a human can endure. Number 1?  


    Scientifically proven, I swear. Michaelmas is Childbirth and the baby is your shiny, gleaming Oxford Degree.  

    My point is, you spend 86% of term stressed, depressed and formally-dressed. You put up your paper shield for your tutors’ machine guns, you fret over deadlines, you look at everyone else who all finish every problem sheet 10x faster with 10x more ease and think “why the fuck am I here?” All of your other friends at other unis seem to be on the sesh every other night, posting Instagram posts that you double tap out of courtesy but, really, you’re looking at them thinking: 

    Are my 10 lectures, 6 hours of labs and 24 hours of imposter syndrome worth it for a fancy gown that’s only going to make those friends think ‘god they’re a prick’?     

    You see the library more than you see your own bed and you count the days until your mum can cook you a meal, without charging you the price of a small island for it, preferably telling you how much of a little clever clogs you are as she serves up the plate.  

    And yet. 

    Somewhere between the 2nd and 5th week of the 80000-day vac, you find yourself yearning for your gal, Hilary.  

    I mean, sure, your ex, Michael (surname: Mas) wasn’t perfect and, yes, you loved the first 2 weeks of detox… but he wasn’t that bad, right? 

    The first week, when things where Fresher(s), he was the life of the party. You guys were happy together- partying, drinking, meeting new people, staying up til dawn and sleeping in til noon. After that? I mean, sure he stressed you out during the week, but maybe it was just you, overreacting.  And, come on, during the weekends it was just like old times! He treated you like a gentleman should. You explored the city together, milked that Free Pret Subscription,- other (less free) coffee shops also available- took romantic walks around the Meadows. A couple shots down and you’ve forgotten the bad times altogether.  

    Nothing beats your Dad’s stir fry… but suddenly you’re thinking about that Najaar’s falafel, hummus and tabouleh wrap. And your living room couch is like being hugged by a cloud… so why is the dirty JCR sofa calling your name?  

    The childbirth chemicals have done their trick and suddenly you can’t wait for round 2. You’re ready. You’re raring to go. Come at me, Hilary, I’m a new person, I’ve learnt from my mistakes and it’ll be different this time, I swear. 

    Then, the letter came. 

    Ladies and gentlemen, welcome to the stage: Cockblock COVID. She’s your textbook villain; sickeningly evil, hates fun and an absolute buzzkill at parties.  

    We are unfortunately having to ask you to restrict the number of students returninto university.

    10 more days added to a vac already longer than a year on Jupiter (scientific fact) and you’re wondering if you’ll ever meet Hilary. That Najaar’s wrap floats from your fingertips.  

    10 more days. Thank god I bloody love a stir fry.

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