University Survival Guide

by Ruida Ding

Time Management

Strive to study in a systematic manner, for example by following a schedule to work a fixed amount of time each day. With sufficient advance planning, one can avoid working late into the night and circumvent all-nighters.


Make use of Michaelmas term to converse with firms which interest you. Attend the eight career fairs this term to meet alumni, recruiters, and senior managers or leaders to gain perspective about their firms and graduate career trajectories.

Even as a fresher, there are opportunities such as insight or taster days and spring weeks to apply to! Sign up for alerts at The Careers Service to not miss these limited positions.


One particularly fun activity to partake in is to open your device’s Wi-Fi connection menu and look for the entry “Eduroam”: If it connects, congratulations! Otherwise, feel free to try again. Note: some students report spending excessive amounts of time on this activity; refer to the Time Management session for more advice. 

Fun Fact: from the Greek word for leisure, σχολή, derives school, the esteemed institution for the inculcation of industrialised conformity.


While the avalanche of work may appear, at a glance, insurmountable, there are always ways to be more productive and efficient. Champion the ethos of hard work, optimise your workflow; we wish you progress and perduring productivity!

Social Interaction

Consult with your partner(s) with regards to procedure in order to optimize the release of pleasant chemicals, which will improve your subjective happiness and increase productivity in the long run.

Keep in mind the opportunity costs: that few minutes of bedroom bustle could easily have been a few more lines in your essay or problem sheet.

Using the library

Take deep, measured breaths to avoid hyperventilation. Don’t blubber, just allow the silent tears to fall. Being kicked out of a holy place of work would be too grievous a blow to your morale and productivity.

Tip: A silent timer is strongly recommended to maximise your efficiency of catharsis. Typically, a session should not last more than twenty minutes.


List of changes in the latest revision

Sections “Profound Ponderments of Philosophy”, “Reflective Contemplation”, and “Fun” have been removed for irrelevance.

Section “Friendship” is temporarily removed and will be renamed to “Networking”, to more accurately reflect its nature.

A message from our sponsor

It is not a mere curiosity that “school” derives from the Latin schola and σχολή (skholḗ), Greek for leisure. The ancient etymological roots of the school reflect its origin as a place of unrushed discussion and contemplation. Yet, schools, especially the one we found ourselves in, hardly evoke any sense of leisure. Just as leisure itself is increasingly defined as the void of work, schools are increasingly defined in terms of work: having long, efficient hours of work, taking breaks and weighing their opportunity costs, resting only to be refreshed and ready for work.

Even under the tyranny of work, do not forget this: leisure is not the mere cessation of work, nor is it the restlessness of non-activity, nor a privilege afforded only by the extraordinarily efficient, and it is certainly not the antithesis of “all that is worthwhile”. 

Let your long nights be fueled not by, as Josef Pieper (in Leisure, the Basis of Culture) puts it, “The strange propensity toward hardship that is engraved into the face of our contemporaries as a distinct expectation of suffering”, but by the inquisitiveness for wonderment, for the sublime awe of experience and of discovery. Rekindle your passion for the subject: learn and read to be inspired and amazed, not to gloss over the bare minimum for some perverse pursuit of productivity. Be like a Kalos kagathos, the Athenian gentleman, and revel in leisure: have the unhurried time to ponder and discuss, to do things right. 

In the face of mounting pressures to do, to perform, to answer the burning questions of “what’s to be done” and “what’s the best use of my time”, kindly decline the invitation of busyness. Step out of the infinite pressure to conquer more. Embrace leisure with open arms.

Because you’re worth it.

The Poor Print

Established in 2013, The Poor Print is the student-run newspaper of Oriel College, Oxford. Written by members of the JCR, MCR, SCR and staff, new issues are published fortnightly during term. Our current Executive Editors are Siddiq Islam and Jerric Chong.

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