New Students FAQ!
If you’ve got an offer for St Hugh’s for the 2017-18 academic year, why not join our Facebook group? It’s especially useful if you have any non-alpaca based questions that you’d like to ask current students before you get here! You can join it by clicking on any part of this sentence. So if you click here, you probably won’t find it.
So you’ve got an offer from St Hugh’s College, and you’ll be coming here soon as a postgraduate?
Flying the flag for St Hugh’s!
(Photo Cred: Joshua Bull)
You might not realise it, but you’ve got the opportunity to join one of the biggest and best MCRs at Oxford. Maybe you’ve been googling around (“St Where? What do you mean they don’t have a small fortress just off the High Street? But I’ve HEARD of Brasenose!”) but don’t worry – this page has everything you need to know. (Hopefully. I’m still writing it, but I’ll try not to miss anything.)
OK, you say St Hugh’s has one of the best MCRs in Oxford. What does “MCR” even mean?
An MCR, or Middle Common Room, refers to two things – one of them is an actual room, so let’s deal with that first. In fact, we have a collection of rooms in St Hugh’s that comprise the MCR, and they’re all to be found in 87 Banbury Road at the corner of the St Hugh’s site. These are exclusively reserved for the use of the postgraduate members of College (soon to include you) – you can work there, watch TV, grab a free cup of coffee, meet friends or just generally procrastinate. It’s also where MCR events are held – anywhere between 4 and 7 per week! These are events designed for students to relax, meet new people and generally have a good time.
As well as being a room, the MCR is also the collective name for the postgraduate students at a college. The undergrads are the JCR (Junior Common Room), the tutors are part of the SCR (Senior Common Room), and the postgrads form the Goldilocks of Common Rooms – not too hot, not too cold, but just right.
OK, back up a bit. So you guys do events for postgrads?
Yes indeed, that’s one of the things we do. We have an MCR Committee, which is formed of volunteers from the MCR (you can see the current committee and past committees here) who help to organise events for everyone. These include academic events, welfare events, and just plain social events. All of them are free*, and all of them are open to everyone in the MCR. Unless they specifically decide to opt out, all postgraduate students at St Hugh’s are automatically members of the MCR. We have everything from weekly free pizza nights and brunches (Sundays) to welfare-boosting Alpaca visits that are so good that there’s now a movement to get permanent Alpaca-goodness here!
So is there an Alpaca on committee?
Do you actually want to know that, or should I tell you more about coming to St Hugh’s?
There isn’t, is there?
No, there isn’t. I said we’re one of the best MCRs, I didn’t say we’re perfect. Have you got any better questions?
’16-’17 Welfare Rep Deborah Walnicki (right, for better or for worse)
(Photo cred: Mathilde Merouani)
What else do you do, if it’s not just events?
I’m glad you asked. I’d say we exist for three main reasons: helping support the welfare of St Hugh’s postgrads, providing a social hub for busy postgraduate students, and advocating for postgrads both with the College, the University and the Students’ Union. Oxford University has a very complex structure, and if you’ve got a problem with your course, have a suggestion to make things better or just want to talk to someone, it’s difficult to know where to start. Well, we’re your first port of call – the MCR committee is able to take your problems to the College staff and to the wider University Committees in such a way that the right people will be able to hear it. If you’re struggling with anything at all while you’re here, I’d urge you to get in touch with someone on the MCR committee who can at the very least point you to the correct resources.
I was wondering about this “we’re one of the best Colleges” thing. You’re giving it all this chat about being so great, but I still feel like maybe I’ve made the wrong choice…
Don’t worry, coming to St Hugh’s is probably going to be one of the highlights of your Oxford career! Some Colleges are lucky to have one social event per week…often they can see graduate students as a way of getting in more income to keep the undergrads and research fellows happy. Not here! We may not be one of the richest Colleges, but we have one of the most active Middle Common Rooms, a great relationship and community spirit between undergrads, postgrads, fellows and staff alike, and definitely the best grounds of any College. You might hear taunts about being “somewhere near Scotland” in North Oxford, but don’t worry – being a fifteen minute walk from the city centre (about 3 minutes on a bike) means that we have vastly more space than other pokey little ancient courtyard Colleges, and we use it well! The gardens are absolutely stunning, and a brilliant asset once the sun comes out.
Yes, England gets sun! The summer can be absolutely stunning, and as I write this there are dozens of students strewn about the lawns revising. Yup – you can walk on the grass here. If that doesn’t sway it for you I don’t know what will.
…but I didn’t get a room on site. I’m never going to actually come to College, right?
Unfortunately we don’t have enough rooms on site to house all the postgrads, which really sucks (we’re working on it, don’t worry!). Fortunately, just because you’re living out (as it’s called) doesn’t mean that you’re any less a member of the College. In fact, the more you come to College the less you’ll ever want to leave – come and eat in the hall, work in the library, DEFINITELY come to the MCR events and join the sports teams. The more that you get involved in College and the MCR, the more you’ll get out of the Oxford experience. Check back to this website soon for our definitive Guide to Living Out, featuring the best ways of finding accommodation if you weren’t lucky enough to be offered a room in College!
This page is quite long now. I’m kind of fed up reading it.
That’s not a question.
Are you getting hungry and going to stop writing it now?
How did you know? Yes, I am. If you think of anything that I’ve missed (and I’m sure there’s a LOT), drop me an email: firstname.lastname@example.org. If I think of anything that I’ve missed (I already have, looking at the footnote…) then there will be a Part Two coming soon!
If you’ve read this far, you might be interested to know that this was written by Joshua Bull (DPhil Maths, MCR President 2016-17). Yes, I know I should be working right now.
*with the exception of formal dinners, which are organised by College via the MCR Wining and Dining Officer. They’re only £8 for an amazing 3 course dinner though, so I’d strongly encourage you to go!