Illustration by Rachel Macnaghten
The 1% by Meg Hopkins (Mondays)
Hi, I’m Meg and I’m autistic. I only found out recently and part of the reason why is because I had a lot of misconceptions of what autism is- and what it looks like. Since my diagnosis I’ve realised that most people don’t really know much about autism at all, which is a problem both for people getting the diagnosis they need and in people around them understanding that diagnosis; telling people I’m autistic feels necessary- it means that I don’t have to hide autistic traits- but it often means educating whoever I’m telling about what autism actually is. I’ve had a tutor tell me in a tute “but you’re not that autistic”… It’s not my job to educate people but I’m forced into the role and it’s draining.
I want this column to be both factually and experientially educational; explaining what autism is and, maybe more importantly, what autism feels like (spoiler: it can be very exhausting).
It’s called The 1% as in 1 in 100 are autistic and yet we receive far less attention than other 1%s in society. I hope this column can help to change that.
(Un)common People by Jade Calder (Thursdays)
I’m Jade (she/they) and I have come to the conclusion that I have spent an inordinate amount of time feeling at once both fascinated and disillusioned by the state of discourse and level of class awareness at the university. As a pretty outspoken, first generation and low income northerner, I’m not particularly inclined to suffer ignorant privilege gladly – be warned!
Don’t worry too much however – I don’t just sit around feeling miffed. I’m also one of the co-chairs of the SU’s Class Act campaign, have been the Class rep of various societies, co-founded a magazine for working class creatives, am somehow part of the Revue and edit on a couple of other publications. Once upon a time I was deputy editor for the Oxford Student, but I fancied the opportunity to have my own column so that I could have a little more freedom to write earnestly about my perspective. Hopefully one or two of you might get something out of it.
Swapping Shoes by invited columnists, intro by Jacob Reid (Fridays)
Let me tell you about our French teacher.
Looking at Mrs Wilson without knowing anything about her, you might guess that she teaches French. She has that… je ne sais quoi. A face that radiates warmth, a pull-along trolley that contains untold riches, and a hearty laugh that comes from a true appreciation of life.
Over the years (and despite the curriculum) she also graced us with a lifetime of wisdom. Inspired by her live-and-let-live attitude, and the happy mix of being both a divorcee and a strict Catholic, she imparted the importance of considering what people are going through and of thinking about things from their perspective. Of walking in their shoes.
This column is born with that spirit in mind. Each fortnight, two people with different backgrounds and experiences will get together and write. About their similarities, about their differences, about what they learnt from each other, about what surprised them, and, well, anything else that crops up.
I wonder what we’ll find out.