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Finals (n):


Technically any exam or assessment that actually counts towards your degree. Usually used to refer to the two weeks or so at the end of your course. Now is not the time to worry about them, but be nice to people who’re in their clutches – otherwise Karma’ll come for you in a couple of years.


Formal Hall (n):


Dinner in college, but posher and with (at least nominally) better food. Make friends in other colleges and see how many you can collect while you’re here.


Hack (v & n):


Used to describe both the solicitation of votes and the type of person that does it. If you manage to survive your degree without being hacked you might want to check that you actually came to Oxford.


Hall (n):


A big room where everyone eats - in most cases it’s pretty impressive.


JCR/MCR//GCR/SCR (n):


“CR” means “Common Room”; “J” is for “Junior” (undergrad), “M” is middle (grads), “G” is “Graduate” (take a wild guess) and “S” is for “Senior” (fellows and tutors). Can refer to both the physical space and the constituent members.


Jericho (n):


Swanky but vibrant suburb just north of the city centre.


Living out (tr v):


If you’re ‘living out’ then you’re not living in college, but privately rented accomodation. Necessary for one year at some colleges.


Lodge (n):


The reception area of a college, usually by the main gate.


Matriculation (n):


Ceremony held a couple of weeks after coming up (regardless of geography, you always “come up” to Oxford) for the first time. This is the official moment of induction, congratulations, you’re now a member of the University.


Michaelmas/Hilary/Trinity (n):


The names of the terms. Michaelmas is October to December (cold, but occasionally quite nice); Hilary is January to March (grey, wet and thoroughly miserable); Trinity is April to June (remember why you wanted to come to Oxford? This is why). Cambridge call their Spring term “Lent”, and we hate them for it.


Mods/Prelims (n):


Your first public (ie: not college) exams, usu. at the end of first year. They don’t count towards your degree, but you do need to pass them to continue with the course. Nobody seems to know why some subjects call them mods and others prelims, it’s just one of those things.


OUSU (n):


‘Oxford University Student Union’. Doesn’t (yet) refer to a central venue, because there isn’t one. OUSU’s roles are primarily in student representation, welfare, entz and publications. They run the Freshers’ Fair, publish this prospectus (and other guides) and put on clubnights.


The Oxford Union (n):


Not to be confused with OUSU (see above). The Oxford Union is a privately-owned debating society and members’ club that students can join.


Pidge (n):


Short for “Pigeon Hole”, which in turn is Oxford for “Letter box”. Your internal and external post will be found here. Disappointingly, no part of the Oxford postal service seems to actually involve pigeons.


Porters (n):


College staff who inhabit the lodge (see above) and fill various roles from receptionist to security guard.


Proctors (n):


Two fellows appointed yearly to oversee student discipline and welfare across the whole University.


Punt (v & n):


Canoe-like boat propelled with a pole. Provides much fun in the summer.


Quad (n):


‘Quadrangle’. The central square bit of a college. Usually grassy and surrounded by buildings.


Rusticated/Sent down (n):


Being made to leave the University as a punishment. Rustication is a suspension, being sent down means you’re out for good. Best avoided.


Scouts (n):


College cleaning staff. Staircase (n):


Most accommodation in colleges is divided into ‘staircases’ with a few rooms on each floor.


Sub fusc (n):


For academic dress, ‘sub fusc’ refers to what you wear under your gown. Dark suit, white shirt and white bow-tie for men; black trousers or skirt, white shirt and black ribbon for women.


Tute (n):


Short for tutorial. Seriously, nobody calls them tutorials.


Tutor(s)


College academics with whom your tutorials and classes take place. They set work, look after welfare and are generally a good first point of contact for students.


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