A is for Atik – Oxford’s biggest club ! With a fantastic range of three ! whole ! floors ! there’s no better place to spend a Wednesday evening (because the clubs here – apart from Plush – rotate nights on a weekly basis). Make friends with a Blue (someone who plays sports for the uni) and they can get you free entry.
B is for Bodcard – Your most valuable piece of equipment. Opens your doors, gets you into libraries and if you’re feeling lucky, sometimes into clubs if you haven’t got your ID handy (tried and tested).
C is for Crewdate – Held at either Jamal’s or Temple Lounge : imagine a sports social crossed with a playgroup, add in a full bottle of wine per crewdater, and you’ve got the idea. And don’t forget to wear your cleanest shoes.
D is for George & Danver/Davis/Delilah – Also known as G&Ds, you’re never far from one of their three locations (Cowley, Central, and Jericho), and more importantly their delicious homemade ice cream, which comes in weird and wonderful flavours.
E is for Eights – The summer intercollegiate rowing race – if you’re unlucky enough to get suckered into rowing it’ll dominate your Trinity, but for the rest of us it’s an excuse to spend a summer day chilling by the river with barbeques and enough cheap Pimms to sink a battleship down at the boathouses.
F is for Facebook – Where an unreasonable amount of crucial information is to be found. Although in the real world it’s for aged millennials only, it’s worth downloading once you’re here – especially if you’re into the artsy side of things (@oxforduniartshub).
G is for Gladstone Link – A.K.A. the Glink, this is the unsung hero of Oxford’s wide constellation of libraries; basically a nuclear bunker located beneath the Rad Cam. Windowless, well-stocked, and above all warm, it’s a good place to study if you get easily distracted or you find yourself afraid you’ll freeze to the seats of your college library.
H is for Hack – Someone alarmingly involved with the Union, campaigning for something (I would tell you more but my parents hugged me when I was little) with an almost unsettling aggression. Even if you don’t have a membership, it can be fun to string them along – I once knew a hack who went for up to seven coffees a day with potential voters, so you might as well get a free Pret out of it.
I is for Isis – No, no that one. I’m talking about the oldest student publication in Europe – the arty one of all the student papers, mysterious, elusive, and also the only one which gets really into event planning – follow their IG for more !
J is for JCR – The Junior Common Room, or the collective noun for a college’s undergraduates. It might also be a physical place in your college, and if it is it’ll be exactly what it sounds like.
K is for Kickstand – Which is a part of a bike. A weak link from me perhaps, but a bike can be a really useful thing to have, especially if your college or faculty are further out or far away from each other – or for getting out into the wilderness of Port Meadow (home to wild horses, cows and a frankly terrifying horde of geese).
L is for Library – Everyone’s got their favourite, and there is a useful guide to them elsewhere in this fine publication. Just go to as many as you can to scope them out – don’t by any means be confined by your subject (humanities have all the prettiest ones) – and give the Glink a chance!
M is for Matriculation – Start your term with a bang by dressing up like a penguin who decided to go into law, day drinking, and having some Latin spoken at you. Stay out of the libraries – and close your mouth if you end up jumping into any of our putrescent bodies of water
N is for Najar’s – Unquestionably one of the best food places in town (by the Magdalen Street Tesco, A.K.A. Big Tesco), because the falafel & hummus-based wraps can be any meal from a hungover brunch to a healthful dinner. Make sure to bring cash, because their card machine is ephemeral, and a book for the queue.
O is for – Well. You know where you are. And if you don’t, I’m certainly not telling you – but are you quite sure you’re in the right place ?
P is for Porter – These lovely individuals are the true power behind the throne of the colleges – always up for a chat, or to answer any questions you have. They will silently witness you drunkenly degrading yourself at least once in your time here, but you’ll love them for it.
Q is for Queer – If you didn’t already know, Oxford has got to be one of the fruitiest unis in the country. I personally think this has something to do with the chokehold dark academia has or had upon members of the queer community – but it means there’s a weekly social (Tuesgays, with subsidised drinks at a different college each week), not one but two gay clubs (Plush and Glamorous), and even an LGBTQ+ ball.
R is for Radcliffe Camera – The big round thing in the centre of Radcliffe Square. You can go inside and use the library which (thanks to the circular structure) functions a little like a Panopticon. Or you could just be like the rest of us and make sure it’s in the background of as many photos as possible.
S is for Sconce – One of the many features of crewdates (see above). Imagine a cross between a wedding toast and a very targeted game of never have I ever.
T is for Trashing – When your friends line you up against a wall, and proceed to bombard you with anything from silly string to baked beans to shaving foam, in order to celebrate you finishing literally any set of formal exams. Traditionally followed by a cleansing running jump into a body of water.
[Ed’s note : Trashing is technically banned under University rules. KOTG does in no way endorse the practice. But just so you know, last year only two trashes were unfortunate enough to be fined.]
U is for Undergraduate – What you likely now are. We have the most fun.
V is for Varsity – The Oxbridge annual ski trip. If you’ll keep the rah-city judgement to yourself for a minute, it’s good value for what it is, and you absolutely don’t need to be able to ski (or ever to have skied at all) to enjoy yourself. Learning on the job is really a very important part of anyone’s Oxford education.
W is for Walking – The best part about Oxford is that everything you need – especially in first year, when you’re living in college – is within walking distance. Not only that, but if capital ‘W’ walks are your thing (or if they could be), the surrounding countryside is an absolutely beautiful place to do it
X is for eXam Schools – Where you sit any formal exams. I’m a class of ’23 English student, so I haven’t seen and will never see the inside (thanks online exams), but apparently they are very big and have very pretty ceilings. Oh, and there will be someone whose actual job is to check you are wearing your sub fusc correctly.
Y is for Yours – Your Oxford experience is for you, so make sure you do what you want <3 [This is the weakest one yet, for which I apologise. However I am getting desperate and it was this or ‘youth’.]
Z is for Zoo – Which we unfortunately do not have. However, there is a Natural History Museum, which is free to enter for students, if you don’t mind your animals a little more preserved.
Image Credit: Katerina Lygaki.