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Yet another lifetime-in-a-year

Oxford Union committee Hilary Term 2014 (spring)

Another year in Oxford, and one that felt like it lasted a lifetime! To begin, I passed my transfer. Which is the first of 3 milestones of the Oxford PhD. It consists of a detailed research proposal + a defence of the methodology & approach. For those interested, it can be found here.

Secondly I’ve dabbled a tad more in Student politics, and after being on Library Committee, I was elected on Secretaries Committee at the Oxford Union last fall. This is the committee that does the actual work of inviting famous speakers, and preparing the rooms. Great fun to give a call to people such as Jean-Claude Trichet and Kermit the Frog. And this year I became Graduate Officer. I’ve won some, and lost some, and all in all the Union and it’s electoral process is quite fascinating; also from an observant sociologers’ perspective.

In addition I was secretary at my college’s student council (the MCR, or SRC as it is called at St Cross) and at the Oxford NWS Dutch Society. For them I co-organized a so called BOP, a large party for Oxford students – soccer-themed in this case; the “Hup Holland Hup” BOP (sadly it did not make a difference for the Dutch in the World Cup… ;).

I also became college representative at the boat-club. Boat-club; yes, because I started rowing last October. And the training paid off, because we won blades in the Oxford Summer 8’s bumps race. A bumps race is a race in which one literally has to bump/touch the boat ahead; all the boats are spaced out along the length of the river with about 1.5 boat-lengths between them, then they all start rowing simultaneously, and one has to ram the boat ahead, before the boat behind catches up with you. If a crew manages to do this on all 4 days of the race, they get blades. We did, jeeeh! To top it off, I bench-pressed 100kg this year.

Wolfson/St Cross winning blades at Summer 8’s 2014

Besides this, I went to a few conferences: the Analytical Sociology Conference in Stockholm, the Oxford procrastination conference (seriously! ;), and on a trip to Brussels and the European Parliament. Finally, I presented some early research results at the Connected Life 2014 conference, where I won a best presentation award.

Concluding the long year, I’ve just had a great summer. With a LAN-party at my undergraduate fraternity, 10 days in a real German castle with Mensa-Young, some time at home, and then a week of camping on the Dutch isle of Vlieland. I’m looking forward to the coming year, in which – among other things – I’ll be organizing the Mensa-Young New Year camp. However, most of all I’m looking forward to meeting y’all in Oxford again: As foremostly it was a year of true friendship!

With friends at college (sorry if you’re not in this picture; had to pick one & one that looked presentable ;)