Human Scientists, or HumSci’s as we’re commonly known, lead very exciting and exotic lives. I’ll show you what a typical day is like in the life of a 2nd year Oxford Human Sciences student at Keble College.
Rise and Shine!
Because I’m slightly strange and like early mornings, I’ll usually set my alarm for 6:45-7am. To save time and money, I’ll often have breakfast in my room but with limited cooking facilities this tends to be a killer bowl of porridge. Once showered and dressed, I can be ready to get started on my work by 8am.
Working hard or hardly working?
I’m not a big fan of libraries because I don’t really like going long stints without eating! Usually I’ll settle down behind my desk instead and start working on:
- Reading for a tutorial
- Planning for a tutorial essay
- Writing a tutorial essay
- Organising my neater notes
- Catching up on lecture notes
I like to use lots of coloured pens and pictures in my notes to try and make them more fun to revise!
With lectures, I try to copy up the lecture notes into a word document before I actually go to the lecture. This means I can add bits to the lecture as it’s going on.
Being ahead on lectures means you can still have a good time when something non-work-related crops up.
I can get bored working behind my screen all day so I love to go for runs around Oxford, either by myself or with other people from Oxford University Cross Country Club. This has been such a great way to get to know other people and to explore places around Oxford that so many of my other friends don’t even know exist!
At weekends I might also have running trips away from Oxford, including in Milton Keynes and Cambridge. Oxford is built for pedestrians, bikes and buses, so going by car for once feels really odd!
Oxford Human Sciences Lectures
As a Human Scientist, I tend to have around 10 hours of lectures per week. Most of these are an hour long but some of them are 2 hours.
Our lectures happen all across the city, mainly in the cosy confines of the Pauling Centre which is about 15 minutes from Oxford City Centre, but we also have some in the Science Park, Oxford University Museum and the Exam Schools. I don’t have a bike but I don’t find it a big issue – I just tot up my steps walking around!
A bike is useful but not essential – sometimes a walk is nice to clear your head.
Our lectures are generally really enjoyable and, because we get taught so many different subjects, lectures are a great chance to cover a really wide range of topics. Just last week I was studying Obesity, Tool Use, Neanderthals and the Hardy-Weinberg Principle. The big range of subjects means I’m unlikely to get bored revising just a single topic.
In second year, lots of the subjects overlap. When I’m learning about PCR in genetics, I find it crops up in disease ecology and human evolution too!
Oxford Human Sciences Tutorials
I typically have 1-2 hour-long tutorials per week and they may be located in any college around the University. It’s quite fun sneaking in to different colleges because they’re all different sizes and have slightly different stone or brick, and different quads and gardens.
Only 10 Oxford colleges offer Human Sciences but my friends and I are also trying to tick off all the other colleges in our spare time!
Oxford Human Sciences Labs
Labs are similar to the practical science lessons done in school, using Bunsen burners and scary looking chemicals. The laboratories where we had our labs were brand new – we were the first ones in them at the start of first year!
Despite the fact I rarely had any idea what we were doing and managed to spill pink disinfectant all over my report, labs did give me the chance to try out stuff I’d learnt in lectures, so they can actually be really fun!
Dinner in Hall
Because at Keble College we don’t have any proper kitchen facilities (ovens, hobs, freezers…) until third year, most first and second years eat lunch and dinner in the canteen, which is colloquially known as ‘hall‘. Keble’s dining hall is the longest in Oxford and feels ridiculously regal when everyone is wearing their gown.
Most dinners are informal and we receive our food in a canteen arrangement. I personally really like the food even though I’m vegetarian.
Three times a week we have formal dinners where we wear our gowns (that look more like gilets) and get served a 3-course meal.
On a Sunday the choir sing from the balcony and we get served a roast dinner with as many roast potatoes as you could possibly want. I know someone who managed 36!
After dinner I’ll likely finish some more work in my room until 9pm-ish before having a nice relaxed evening with my friends.
Board Games and Bake Off
On a Sunday evening, the Junior Common Room (JCR) committee meet to discuss all the juicy gossip which is happening in college. People can submit motions and be elected to become college representatives who organise events and ideas for the student body.
We might also have college events on in the evenings, including Big Open Parties (BOPs) where you’re supposed to wear the funniest fancy dress costumes. One of our themes was Nintendo and my friends and I all had a great time coming as Rainbow Road!
On other evenings, my friends and I might come together to have a relaxed movie night or to have a board games evening where tensions always run high! This is a lovely chance to unwind and have a good natter in front of Bake Off.
Because we all live so close together in college accommodation, it only takes a few minutes to dash across the quad in our dressing gowns back to our own rooms!
Having time to relax in the evenings is a great way to refresh after a satisfying day of work
Want to read more about the lives of Oxford Students?