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23 April

The third in a series of blogs by OV, Charlie Mackintosh (Cr 16-20)

We have been so pleased to hear recently from OV Charlie Mackintosh (Cr 16-20). Charlie is currently at Oxford University studying Philosophy, Politics and Economics and he has kindly been reporting on his first year in a series of blogs. You can read below the third instalment from Charlie where he talks about his second term.

“Unlike many of my fellow OVs, I was lucky enough to be able to return to university for the second term of the year (or in Oxford jargon, ‘Hilary Term’). I had exams early on in the term and was granted a study exemption to return to college. Thankfully quite a few of my close university friends were also allowed to return back so overall I have had term that vaguely resembles normality. That being said, many of the activities I enjoyed most in Michaelmas, or was most looking forward to this term, were not able to take place. Sport, for example, was completely off limits meaning that my regular trips down to the college squash and tennis courts with friends could not happen.

I did, however, have some work to do in my capacity as a Press Officer at the Oxford Union. I was responsible for live tweeting many of the events hosted virtually by the Union this term which included the eight chamber debates and also individual speaker events with speakers including Jeremy Hunt, Rory Stewart, Canadian Prime Minister Kim Campbell and Senator Harry Reid.

As college was relatively quiet and empty, I found myself going on constant socially distanced walks with friends from societies at other colleges. I can safely say I now know my way around the University Parks and the centre of Oxford incredibly well! Oxford was treated to two days of snow in February which ruined the productivity of every student whilst it lasted; the city looked truly beautiful.

Following an entire term without any cases of the corona virus in College, New College started to organise a few more socially distanced events. For example, the chaplain organised a beautiful outdoor mass for Candlemas in which we were all given candles to hold as we stood 2m apart around the front quadrangle and the choir sang mass. In seventh week, College started serving formal halls again, albeit complete with Perspex screen and interpersonal distances so great that holding a conversation was nigh on impossible. Still, it was an excuse to dress up, don our gowns and buy a bottle of port, so my friends and I jumped at the opportunity.

The only other event in my term of any note was my participation in the elections to the committee of the Oxford Union. This term I ran to be elected onto the Secretary’s Committee (the lowest rung on the greasiest ladder in Oxford) and after several weeks of being incredibly nice to every friend and acquaintance who was a member, I was duly elected. I came third out of the 17 candidates, securing my place on the committee. Over the Easter Vacation I will be responsible for inviting speakers and organising debates as part of this role.

All in all, it was not the Hilary term I imagined, expected or wanted, but I am thoroughly glad that I was able to return to the University and make the most of the difficult circumstances in which we all find ourselves.”