On Saturday October 16th, 2021, a swarm of Oreos, penguins, or however else one may describe a group of Oxford students dressed in the classic black-and-white sub fusc, flocked the streets. Fervour buzzed through the air; unlike the year before them, freshers this year had the chance to attend matriculation in person.
Early in the morning, the soon-to-be matriculated students gathered in their colleges for rollcall. Besides the occasional cough, the crowd was quiet, as each individual eagerly listened for their name. Walking towards the Sheldonian Theatre, the students felt growing anticipation for what was to come. An Oxford mask was given to every fresher, serving as a reminder of the ongoing pandemic and the struggles the second years faced. Suddenly, a hush fell over the room as the matriculation ceremony officially began. The ceremony reminisced about the brilliant minds that had once sat in this theatre, conveying the legacy that each student should aspire to preserve. Nervousness mixed with excitement. There was an air of hope and enthusiasm for the journeys the students would soon tread upon. After a few short speeches and a concerto of coughs, the ceremony was over. A new generation of Oxford students were born.
While the official process had passed, the ardour had yet to wear off. The crowd of newly matriculated students made their way to the Radcliffe Camera for photos in their black-and-white attire. After all, how else would one make the obligatory matriculation post? The OxfordRAG even kindly organised professional photographers to take portraits for free. Many colleges also offered freshers and second years the chance to have their matriculation portraits taken.
Matriculation is a once-in-a-degree event, marking the shift to a new chapter. Just as the ceremony characterises the start of an uncharted journey for students, it is a defining moment for the University, as the previous generation passes on the torch to the next. What ideas, innovations, breakthroughs will this year’s students bring to the world? What stories will they write for themselves? One can only wait with eager anticipation.