Graduating with a Master’s from the University of Oxford

Graduating with a Master’s from the University of Oxford

Who would have thought it this time two years ago, after graduating from the University of York, I would be graduating with a Master’s degree from Oxford? I certainly didn’t. Oxford has always had this mysterious and enigmatic presence in my life. When I was smaller, I remember thinking how amazing it would be to attend and study here, but never in my wildest dreams did I actually think I would have gone there. And now I have finished!

This year has probably been one of the quickest in my life to date. My course was only 9 months long. The shortness of my degree meant that a lot was crammed into a little amount of time. This included the huge task of learning languages such as Latin and Medieval French at the same time. Whilst at times many lamented how hard, demanding, and tiring the course was – I found it incredibly interesting, and never once did I think that maybe I should have been doing something else. I loved it.

However, this year was particularly difficult for me towards the end. Less than a month before my dissertation was due, my Grandfather unexpectedly passed away. It was, and still is, one of the toughest things that I have had to experience. There isn’t a day that goes by when I don’t think of my Grandpa, and I miss him dearly. I found it very difficult to continue on when he passed, and so, in theory, I should be exceptionally happy to have graduated under the circumstances. I hope that he was looking down on us last week, and shared in the precious occasion with all the family.

Now I am back at the family home, and eagerly applying for jobs left, right, and centre. Job-hunting is l-o-n-g, and I hadn’t realised how much time goes into each application. However, my perseverance will not be diminished!

I’m also feeling very creative at the moment. Whilst studying I didn’t have the to do as much painting or photography as I would normally like to. So, whilst there is a gap in my life, this is the perfect opportunity to get painting! Keep checking out on my instragram to see what I get up to.

Here are just a few of the photos taken on my graduation, enjoy.

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Throwing hat giff

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Sharing an elevator with Shia LaBeouf, Luke Turner and Nastja Rönkkö #Elevate

Sharing an elevator with Shia LaBeouf, Luke Turner and Nastja Rönkkö #Elevate

Last Friday began like any other. I was preparing for a weekend trip to London that afternoon, so got my bags packed, did some work and reading, took a book from the library. Totally normal. Except, me and my housemate decided that we would check out what Shia LaBeouf was up to in Oxford. Yes, Shia LaBeouf was on Oxford (!) Pause for a moment whilst I stop squealing.

So for those who not familiar, the Hollywood actor Shia LaBeouf has brought his focus to the world of performance art, and has done some many interesting things in the past. He is part of a trio which includes Luke Turner and Nastja Säde Rönkkö, making them ‘LaBeouf, Turner, Rönkkö’. One of the last things they did was occupy a gallery room in Liverpool’s FACT, answering the public’s calls in an attempt to ‘touch their soul’. I tried calling 200 times to no avail. So when I heard that the trio were going to be occupying a lift in the centre of Oxford for 24 hours, I had to take my chance. However, what I hadn’t realised was that the wait would take hours. 4-5 hours to be precise.

Naive me turned up with my housemate at 10.30 am, expecting to be finished by 12 pm at the latest, to then go on and continue our day. How wrong we were. 2.30pm, and we were still in the queue. With the anxiety of already waiting so long, and for it to be just a waste of time, we decided we would stick it out. Although every hour we ended up saying that we would only wait another 30 mins then we were leaving. So by 4pm we were finally in. For 20 minutes we occupied a life with Shia LaBeouf and co. After standing in the queue for what felt like a life time,  we had prepared and thought over and over about what we would talk about. It was going to be insightful, philosophical, we’d have them in stitches! No. No we didn’t. As soon as I greeted the trio and the doors closed in the elevator, the realisation hit me. We were here. With this Hollywood actor. I had grown up watching Shia in Even Stevens the TV show, and to be standing next to him, eating his pizza that he offered up was beyond surreal. My mind went numb, and I completely forgot all the things I had said I would talk about. It was awkward. There were silences. There were hummings and nervous shifting around on the spot. Thank goodness for my housemate Geoff and our new friend Joey (who we had the pleasure of queuing up with) – they came out with some interesting questions, which in turn stopped me from my verbal diarrhoea.

Even though I found it slightly awkward, I thought that it was definitely an interesting experience. I mean, how often do you get the chance to be in an elevator with Shia LaBeouf!?  I guess you’re probably reading this and thinking how the hell this was ‘art’. Well, the trio explained that the whole purpose of situating themselves for 24 hours within this tiny elevator (which only went up 2 floors) was a way of connecting with people. Having been asked to give a talk at the Oxford Union, the art trio thought it would be a more interesting and intimate experience to be able to offer people the chance of spending quality time with them, rather than just listen to them in the hall.  And it definitely was intimate, although somewhat contrived, which I felt took away from the experience.

But hey, like I said, how often do you get the chance to rub shoulders (literally!) with a Hollywood Actor? One thing that I did feel uncomfortable about was the fact that I bet (myself included), most people were actually there just to meet Shia. What about Luke and Nastja? How did they find the prospect of this? Is it just part of the whole experience? I guess having a famous actor as part of your art performance helps bring attention, but I wondered if they felt a little disregarded during the whole process. Yes, these are the many questions I thought about before meeting and after, yet didn’t ask them! Alas. So, what are your thoughts about the performance piece? Thought-provoking and intimate, or just pretentious?

Check the video out around 6 hours 48 mins!

#Elevate with Shia LaBeouf, Luke Turner and Nastja Säde Rönkkö, Oxford University

#Elevate with Shia LaBeouf, Luke Turner and Nastja Säde Rönkkö, Oxford University

#Elevate with Shia LaBeouf, Luke Turner and Nastja Säde Rönkkö, Oxford University #Elevate with Shia LaBeouf, Luke Turner and Nastja Säde Rönkkö, Oxford University #Elevate with Shia LaBeouf, Luke Turner and Nastja Säde Rönkkö, Oxford University

Oxmas: Merry Christmas from Oxford

Oxmas: Merry Christmas from Oxford

What a crazy couple of months it has been for me! I officially finished my first term here at Oxford, and have been enjoying the Christmas holidays so far (except for when I’m attempting to write an essay!) I have been having an amazing time at Oxford, and am so appreciative for this incredible opportunity to study in such an awe-inpsiring place with so many interesting people.

What does make me sad is the fact that have neglected my blog for such a long time. Despite wanting to update my blog on a weekly basis, I have just struggled to find the time last term. However, I’ll make it my 2016 New Year’s resolution to keep up the blogging! There has been some really interesting things that have happened over the last term here at Oxford, and I hope to blog about them soon.

Wishing all my readers and everyone out there a very merry Christmas and a wonderful New Year.

Roisin x

Christmas at Christ Church College, University of Oxford

Christmas at Christ Church College, University of Oxford

Christmas tree at Bodleian Library, University of Oxford

Christmas tree at Bodleian Library, University of Oxford

Christmas tree at Bodleian Library, University of Oxford