So far, from what I can tell, Trinity Term consists almost exclusively of punting, prelims and pretentious twats playing croquet.
I’m frantically trying to get my essay that’s due in at 5pm done (naturally, I’ve only just started the reading for it, because I like to live life on the edge), but instead of actually doing any work I keep staring out the window and people watching. Right below my window are a bunch of third years – they do humanities subjects like me so it’s no wonder they’re not doing any work – knocking a ball through hoops with a wooden mallet.
Now, I’ve never actually played croquet, so I’m not sure if there is anything more to it than this but from my vantage point, it’s one of the silliest things I’ve ever seen. It just doesn’t look particularly fun, nor is it physically strenuous, which are the only two reasons I can think of as to why you would voluntarily take part in sport. It’s like crazy golf, but with all the fun elements taken out. I just can’t really see the point of it all.
If our college was hosting an Alice in Wonderland themed ball them maybe, just maybe, playing croquet might be a fun thing to do – as a one off. But the fact that Oxford students regularly play this ‘sport’ (the quotation marks are there because I’m not convinced that croquet actually is a sport, along with darts and snooker) in public, where there are actual tourists taking photos of them doing so, is nigh on embarrassing. It’s one of the worst things I’ve seen since coming to Oxford, and I’ve seen some pretty pretentious shit – including someone under the age of forty using a wine decanter non-ironically, and a friend who had nothing in his mini fridge but brie. Don’t even get me started on croquet cuppers.
Oxford University is a place steeped in tradition, and there are a lot of silly things that we end up doing in a desperate bid to convince ourselves that we wouldn’t have been happier at Durham or Exeter – like the post-matriculation house party that is a rite of passage for every fresher, or trashing, which just ruins a perfectly nice smart outfit. We go to restaurants with sports teams or societies and throw pennies in each others’ drinks for fun, and willingly subject ourselves to Thursday night Bridge for the absolute top notch bant that is bound to ensue in the smoking area.
Joking aside, there are some pretty cool things which people should definitely take advantage of whilst studying at Oxford – including the opportunity to row, participate in drama, student journalism and student politics. In Trinity Term it’s definitely worth taking advantage of the river and going punting with your friends (except be prepared for the fact that it’s not as easy as it looks and you’ll most likely fall in). Oxford is a goldmine of things to do when you’re not having existential crises in the library at 2am and wondering why you didn’t go to Warwick.
Croquet is definitely not one of these ‘cool’ things to do, though. The only ‘cool’ thing about croquet is the wooden mallets, which I intend to bash over the head of the next person who dares to have fun outside my window when I’m trying to work. Go on. I dare you.