11 Nov “Then and Now” My Journey Across Cultures.
|At the Oxford Union|
All Soul’s College.
A friend showed me around the key sites of the city. Most notable was the Blackwell’s Bookshop and the Bridge of Sighs. The Bridge of Sighs joins two parts of Hertford College and was modelled after the famous Bridge of Sighs in Venice with an interesting history. It came from the idea that prisoners would sigh at their final view of beautiful Venice through the window before being taken down to their cells. Very Historical. Almost every building in Oxford has a story. Sadly, since I am not in any way a tourist guide I am unable to offer an account of every building with in Oxford. I hope that I can write more about them when I finish the degree here.
|The Bridge of Sighs at Hertford College. Credits: Tristan|
There is just so much tradition to thrill anyone. Even me, a hardcore history lover, was truly amazed. The apex of my first weeks at Oxford was the matriculation ceremony in the third week of Michelmas term. There we go again, another Oxford term! Matriculation is the official ceremony where one is admitted to the University. New students are required to wear their ‘sub fusc’ (University gown) and hold their hats. One is required to wear a black suit, with a white shirt, bow tie, black stockings and black shoes. Over the time the rules on colors have been relaxed. Students assemble at their respective colleges.
|Matriculation Group Photo at Jesus College.|
I stood behind the Principal and I heard when one of the porters called on the Principal to follow him and enter the theatre. I followed the Principal in a religiously devote manner like a servant in the Roman Catholic Church. It was an elated feeling. We marched into the marvel of art that is the Sheldonian; designed by Sir Christopher Wren. As we walked in I looked up at the glorious ceiling, painted on thirty-two oil on canvas panels by Robert Streater. I traversed and was showed to my seat by one of the porters. You could hear a lot of murmurs in the theatre, until a loud silence encircled the theatre, you could hear a leaking pipe; every one stood up; and the main entrance was opened, an almost angelic light came from the open door. There we saw three persons walk in to the theater. My neighbor tapped my shoulder and whispered to me stealthily, that, it was the Vice- Chancellor. We waited for her to reach her seat and stand while facing the audience. Some gentleman clad in a university gown spoke some Latin words and then asked us to take our seats.
|Students take their seats inside the marvel; That is the Sheldonian Theatre.|
The Vice Chancellor then welcomed us to the University community and said, “…During the short time you will be here you will gather that we are an extremely complex University. We are an institution where ancient and modern exist side by side for their mutual benefit. We are united in the pursuit of knowledge.” She remarked, “Your time here is precious; and it will pass more quickly than we could imagine. Use your time well; explore, do not to be afraid to make mistakes, challenge yourselves and try new things.”