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February 13, 2009


Hard to believe, but yesterday marked the halfway point of the Oxford tutorials. I have definitely had to adapt some of my previous research skills. The key thing I've learned is not to get bogged down in sources that aren't perfectly relevant. There are over 7 million books in this town! That means that there is always a better book, a more relevant book on your topic. And you don't have time to muddle through all the rest.

The last few tutorial sessions have gone really well. I was overwhelmed at first, because I had never studied my course topics, and I sensed a tremendous gap between the don and me. But after 4 weeks of in-depth study, the tutorials are becoming more of a conversation and less of a lecture, as I'm starting to develop a knowledge base from which to make my own opinions.

I'm also starting to enjoy the simplicity of my life here. That's not to say I'm not busy, but that I have less distractions this semester. I have no car, no cell phone, and no mandatory lectures! Everywhere I go I have to walk or take a bus, so I have plenty of time to breathe and reflect. Somehow, I think I am retaining more of what I learn because I only have two subjects to deal with. Immersion--it's not just for foreign languages anymore!

Anyways, the sun is out today, and I imagine our snowman is not quite the man he once was.

Colin Johnson
Fellow, Hilary Term '09

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