By History and Politics Graduate James Evans

Despite some initial fears, I can confirm that Operation ‘Real World Deferral’ – I’ve yet to come up with a more imaginative name – is now under way. Armed with my results, I’ll be returning to Oxford this autumn; albeit only after jumping through a succession of somewhat unhelpfully placed administrative hoops that presently stand in my way.

You see, one does not merely apply for and then do a postgraduate course. There is neither a simple UCAS mechanism nor a group of doting teachers falling over themselves to help you. Instead, some serious ‘adulting’ on the applicant’s part is required. Not only do you have to create a research proposal, CV, and find academics willing to vouch for the fact you aren’t totally incompetent – you also have to make decisions about courses, living arrangements, and supervisors with an end goal in mind.

While none of this may seem surprising to a functioning grown-up, it was an uncomfortable realisation for me. Here I was enjoying my holiday in the picturesque landscapes of Sweden’s Norrland when the trickle of Oxford emails became a flood. Commands to ‘fill out this form’, ‘send us a passport-sized photo’, and ‘fill out this to help us help you with your career development’ began to accumulate in my mailbox, and with them came the realisation that I probably ought to begin pre-reading and consider my course options. I know for a fact that I am at some point going to have to sweet-talk my supervisor into allowing me to do the MPhil macroeconomics course (if you’re reading this Catherine I promise not to make a complete mess of it) to bolster my research and doctoral applications, although I have as of yet not mustered the courage required to do so.

I have, however, been aided in my procrastination by a fortunate turn of events. In a stroke of genius, the University’s IT department has picked this moment (perhaps in the knowledge that such moves are invariably chaotic) to change the email system from ‘Nexus’ to Microsoft’s new, swanky, ‘Office 365’ service with predictably disastrous results. I have, it seems, been totally locked out of my University email account; and though I appreciate that this will definitely become a problem in a few weeks I can certainly make my peace with it for now. In any case, my main summer objective – securing accommodation from my new college – has already been achieved, so everything else can be put on hold.

I’m actually rather pleased with next year’s living arrangements. Thanks to Mansfield’s excellent provisions I will be occupying an en suite room in a recently renovated, graduate-only house at a rate significantly lower than that faced by my peers condemned to the private rental market. It is only in its location – a good 45-minute walk from the Radcliffe Camera – that I can find reason for complaint, although at least all the walking and cycling will keep me fit. Every cloud, as they say, has a silver lining.