Saturday, May 24, 2008

Week of Drunk Turtles

We're back.

Part of the exhilaration of studying at Oxford comes from the mysterious process known as administration. In the case of Oxford it is less like a mystery wrapped in an enigma and more like a mystery wrapped in an enigma and buried deep in an unknown land. As a friend of ours observed, "The information you really need to know you invariably find out accidentally".

And that was what happened to us.

Mark went off to a seminar where he happened to chat to a guy doing a course similar to his, who commented that wouldn't it be great when the essays were handed in in only two weeks time.

Mark had read the red book, which has different information to the grey book it turns out, and the grey book was the one to believe. This time. (The grey book has an entire regulation on what is to be done in the event of an examiner dying, which takes up half a page. This is an important situation to be able to react to and so I am glad they had planned for this eventuality. But I wish they'd also included information to do with handing in assessment: like the policy on word counts, style information and preferred referencing style. The red book has some of that information, but who can trust the red book?)

So instead of having 4 weeks to polish off one essay and write one from scratch, he had two.

After the initial adrenalin rush, we sat down and thanked God that he's given Mark the capacity to write a good 5000 word essay from scratch in two weeks, and had a council of war.

And on Friday, three hours before they were due, Mark submitted his essays.

Now there is only an exam and a dissertation to go, and then hopefully, he'll be accepted into the PhD programme here and we can breathe out.

It's been an adventurous couple of weeks. We're looking forward to a more mundane week this week, where Mark only has to get 75 pages of classical Greek under his belt.

It's turtles all the way down, folks. I think they might be drunk.