By third-year history and politics student James Evans

It is often remarked that Oxford – or, at the very least, the part of Oxford dominated by the University – is a place disconnected from the outside world. This ‘Oxford bubble’, the realm of the so-called ‘First World problem’ and home of the universally despised, out-of-touch, ‘liberal metropolitan elite’, is not something one can easily escape.

Indeed, this bubble is as much psychological as physical, and even as I sit at my present perch overlooking the Alhambra in Granada I remain fully aware that even at this distance I can merely moderate, not defeat, the bubble’s effects.

That being said, the odds remain stacked against me. Exam results are beginning to be released, and it has now hit the point that every man and his dog have plastered them over social media. The posts don’t even have to be made by the students themselves – my news feed is even awash with nauseatingly proud parents sharing the good (though, in reality, often mediocre at best) news. Either way, even my present geographical separation from Oxford has done little to remove me from being constantly reminded about university or my own impending results day.

Perhaps I am just bitter or, as is more likely, letting my apprehension about my own results get the better of me; but even so, there’s an important point that needs to be made.

Over my three years at Oxford (set – depending on results, finances, and future priorities – to yet become four, or seven) I have become increasingly aware of how easy it is to become completely immersed in the culture and be rendered desensitised to the world lying beyond the bubble’s edge. It can be seen in daily conversation about people’s future hopes, their home lives, and especially results, though it also seems to affect routines, the manner in which people carry themselves, and even the type of conversation in which they engage.

Though I am not for a minute suggesting that those who reside in the bubble are all sneering elitists, it seems pretty evident to me that far too many of us lose sight of how abnormal the Oxford experience really is – and I too am hardly blameless. Though I take solace in the self-acknowledgement of my own (although by Oxford’s standards) meagre privileges, I am more than happy to fixate on my studies and disengage with the wider world. As I discussed at the pub with my esteemed Quad Talk colleague Dr Ewing, I remain distinctly out of touch, and, frankly, appalled by the a great deal of the popular culture (especially Love Island – in my view a parade of toxic masculinity and unhealthy attitudes towards bodies, women, and relationships) consumed en masse beyond the bubble.

Some, most notably my better half, would point to a hypocrisy in my refusal to engage with entertainment enjoyed predominantly (although not exclusively) by a group with whom I hold political and economic sympathy; although for me it is yet another reminder of the bubble mentality at work.