Hilary is grey. It drizzles, it’s cold, and all the trees are bare. Caught between the post-Christmas blues and the happy warmth of Trinity, the term can sometimes feel like an endless period of waiting and misery. Hilary often fills me with a deep desire to go to bed and stay there. Set against this backdrop, the concept of ‘Hot Girl Hilary’ seems like a complete contradiction. How can you feel ‘hot’ when even the weather seems to have a personal vendetta against you? When the only thing anyone wants to do is cuddle in the warm confines of a duvet and pretend that tutorial essays don’t exist? Answering this question starts with determining what exactly Hot Girl Hilary is. You might have seen it on Instagram, or splattered across Oxfess, but is there anything to the statement beyond quirky caption material? Or is it just another Oxford myth?
My personal interpretation of Hot Girl Hilary is that it’s a feeling. There is no check-list of things that have to be completed to achieve a ‘Hot Girl Hilary’. Rather, it’s a feeling of self-confidence and self-fulfilment, which is made all the more empowering because life just seems so very difficult during this term. There are plenty of challenges to overcome in forcing yourself to even get out of bed, let alone endeavouring to feel empowered by taking on new tasks. I think this self-fulfilment can come from whatever area of your life that you choose to prioritise – whether that’s trying something new to discover new experiences or indulging in some self-care by returning to tried-and-tested ways of feeling happy and relaxed.
Feeling ‘hot’ doesn’t necessarily mean dressing up, clubbing till 3 am, and having one-night stands, even though that’s what Hot Girl Hilary might appear to mean at first glance. Of course, there’s nothing wrong with that – and if it’s what makes you feel most self-confident, then obviously you should take yourself to Bridge every Thursday. But you might also feel self-fulfilled and content when you learn a new recipe, or read a book that’s finally not taken from your reading list, or watch a movie with your friends that you’d been planning to see for ages but just never did. You might feel happiest when you’re cozying up with your girlfriend, or thrift shopping online (I probably spend more time on Vinted than in the library) or organising society events. In any case, these are all achievements which are equally worthy of being celebrated, and all equally able to generate satisfaction.
The point is: there is no predetermined check-list of activities that defines a Hot Girl Hilary. Rather, it involves every person who decides that this Hilary isn’t going to be spent waiting for Trinity to roll around, to find out what enables them to achieve these elusive concepts of ‘satisfaction’ and ‘self-fulfilment’. Then the second step is to actively embark on these tasks – and persevere even when it’s difficult to continue. After all, we’re all unique people who achieve satisfaction by different methods. A part of growing as young adults is discovering the ones that work best for each of us.
So this Hilary, make use of the opportunity for self-fulfilment!! Look beyond the grey drizzle outside your window, and consider what will best help you combat the inevitable onslaught of stress. It’s Oxford – who isn’t stressed? But when you feel empowered and satisfied, maybe you’ll begin to appreciate that Hilary isn’t all that bad. Maybe this term will be more than just wishing for bluer skies and picnicking on the warm grass. Maybe you’ll see beauty in the clouds, in the resilience of the first flowers that poke their heads above the frosty ground. Then you too can post a picture of yourself on Instagram with that oft-used caption: Hot Girl Hilary.