The thought of months on end at home for an Oxford student is nothing if not daunting. Term time is manic to say the least! We are all overwhelmed with things to do: JCR meetings, Bridge Thursdays, late night tea breaks and cuppers sports matches to name but a few are all in full gear. And that’s on top of the labs, lectures and tutes that populate our academic life.
Back at home it can feel jarring to move from such a high pace life to a routine where we have neither the wealth of opportunities that come from term time nor the friends we see day-in-day-out who make the Oxford work-load worth it through the sense community they bring.
Never fear, though! Whilst this transition is difficult, it isn’t impossible, and many college JCRs alongside clubs and societies are leading initiatives to keep contact thriving even during these trying times. Below are listed some of the Blue’s Boredom Busters for you to peruse through when you’ve had enough of self-motivated work at home or simply sitting around without the buzz of Oxford around.
Whilst some of the JCR initiatives are of course college specific, they provide some stimulating ideas as to what you could do with a group of friends, or even introduce into your own college JCR chats…
Art and Culture
ChCh JCR has set up a weekly art challenge, where there is a theme each week and you livestream yourself creating art in ‘medium you like (knitting, cake, music, film, paint, pencil, textiles literally anything)’ !
The Met are streaming their operas every night for free during this extremely difficult time where we are definitely not going to be able to access the theatre like normal! This could be a great way to immerse yourself into opera even whilst stuck at home. Just visit: https://www.metopera.org/
Netflix parties are of course a great way to catch up with friends over some good telly, but if you want to diversify your tastes the streaming service MUBI (https://mubi.com/filmstudent) has more artsy films for you to delve into with free subscriptions for students!
The Ashmolean Museum have set up an initiative called #IsolationCreations, where they share an object from their collections each day and viewers are encouraged to submit any sort of creative response to it: a doodle, poem, interpretative dance or even some baking are potential ideas. Check out their facebook page for more information.
Oxford University Drama Society are hosting a virtual play- Richard II! In addition to this, if you have any drama related ideas that could foster a digital community of thespians the OUDS welfare reps have emphasised that they would love for any takers to get in touch with email@example.com or even at their personal email addresses: firstname.lastname@example.org and email@example.com.
Cuntry Living Zine, who describe themselves as ‘a space to platform voices and issues of those identifying and experiencing oppression as women’, are going to be digitalising their Zines, launching an all new digitalised quarantine zine and doing live streams of creative events. Keep your eyes peeled on their Facebook page and check out their digitalised zines on https://issuu.com/cuntryliving.
Oxford University Amateur Boxing Club created a bodyweight exercise plan last Christmas that can easily be revived for completion at home whilst we are all kept away from the Gym but still eager to maintain some semblance of fitness! Find it here: https://docs.google.com/document/d/1ejAdfoRVmbx82VtsHvbuy1m1yXoy3-Jad2qK1bF9mPI/edit
Every Body Studio is offering online Yoga classes with a 10% student discount which you can sign up for! Email firstname.lastname@example.org for more info.
The Teddy Hall College Boat House is live streaming sessions every day on Instagram for circuit classes! They also have jogging spreadsheets- this idea is easily transferrable to your college’s boat club so don’t hesitate to reach out to them!
Molly Ross runs OU Breathing Space yoga for mental health and she says that she is taking the yoga classes online! They are open to all Oxford students- she also teaches Teddy Hall yoga and says they have got a huge community on facebook so she is going to do yoga classes via facebook live and upload videos!
Pitch to the ISIS- these may be trying times but you can still write poetry and send it in to the ISIS community with a chance that it may be published!
Pitch to the Oxford University’s Music and Style Magazine, which is all online so it is the perfect time to get involved in some digital journalism! Form is here and the deadline is this Saturday https://forms.gle/c8JdXuTido7jQ4To6
Join Right for Education’s (REd) coronavirus campaign! It is the largest independent education platform in Africa, set up during the ebola crisis in 2014 as a place to access up to date and correct information on the disease. It is now starting a coronavirus campaign with social media updates, mythbusters, questions and general information articles. This would be a phenomenal way to keep in touch with social action from the comfort of your home!
Oxford University Chess Club has held an inter-collegiate chess battle with more to come on the virtual site Lichess! Check out their facebook page for more details- all you need is to verify that you are an Oxford student with your Oxford email account and you’re all set!
Oxford India Society sends out weekly emails with ideas of films/TV programmes and other boredom busting activities to get you through isolation. You can even contribute any ideas you might have by filling out the following form, and your ideas will be shared to the community: https://docs.google.com/forms/d/e/1FAIpQLSdqK4ugUEkjZnN037FF7YPCv31cC0AV5Jc7k46R86oJNN__aQ/viewform
LMH JCR have created a group which sets a weekly challenge from lip sync to writing a poem, with a winner being announced at the end of every day. Definitely something to try if you’d like to set a daily goal and break up the monotony of degree work!
Trinity College are hosting Skype sessions for those who have the stress of oral exams in Modern Language subjects- or just for those who fancy trying out some new languages!
When Ladies Can’t Lunch (set up by the tabs- but even fraternising with the enemy is excusable in times of crisis) describes itself as ‘A creative and calming space for women and non binary people during times of isolation’. It organises Netflix parties, zine, live streams with knitting and scrapbooking to name but a few activities. Find them on facebook or visit the following google drive to see others’ creative submissions and even submit some of your own work: https://drive.google.com/open?id=18T0buKwMmhdGZwj4WIzs0BtXiPeNqeZI
Miss the Oxford libraries? The libraries are, after all, one of the most stunning features of the university. The Bodleian libraries have set up virtual ‘Sounds of the Bodleian’ for you to work to- locations you can choose from even include the Rad Cam! Visit their sit here: https://www.ox.ac.uk/soundsofthebodleian/?fbclid=IwAR0SZTvXgp6dXgbvV9yWo00zi_ZLV-22FVjkBXrdSoiwbsv6bEzNWgz8ixQ#radcam