What I Love About Oxford: Sophomores reflect on their Oxford experience ahead of transition to Atlanta

Freya Haque •

2021 Oxford orientation
For Kimberly Pi, working as an orientation leader during move-in day is one of her favorite Oxford memories. — Becky Stein

Jerry Hong, Sigrid Matthews, Kimberly Pi, William Xu, and Sophie Zweben reflect on their time at Oxford.

As sophomores prepare for Commencement this Saturday, May 7, five students took a break to reflect on their time at Oxford—what they’ll miss most, their favorite memories, and how they feel about heading to the Atlanta campus. 

What is your favorite Oxford memory?

Jerry Hong: My favorite Oxford memory is the RA (Resident Assistant) social event, where we went to a farm late at night around Halloween. That was our first bonding event, when we were just starting. It was really cool because it gave me a chance to know more people. I think my second year I took a huge leap, as far as being more sociable and coming out of my shell, and I think the opportunity to become an RA facilitated that and helped me to be a more open kind of person.

Oxford soccer

Sigrid Matthews felt supported by her Oxford soccer community.

Sigrid Matthews: Sophomore night for soccer was really nice. I had just gotten back to campus and had been in a bad car crash. I couldn’t play, obviously, and I couldn’t cheer because physically I was in a bad state. But it was really nice to have that community of people here to support me. It made me really happy to remember there’s a community here to fall back on.

Kimberly Pi: There’s so many, I can’t pick just one. I was an orientation leader, so it was really fun being on campus early. Move-in day was probably one of the most fun days out of all of orientation, just because campus was so lively. But at orientation, there were so many people walking around, parents and their siblings, and we greeted them and welcomed them to campus. It felt like Oxford was a community again.

William Xu: For the Oxford cancer foundation, we had a lemonade fundraiser. It was a pink-themed fundraiser, and we had pink lemonade, pink nail polish, pink tablecloths, and we raised [some money from students]. And that was surprising to me, and it’s because of how kind and compassionate Oxford students are—to be willing to give up some of their time to stop by and donate to St. Jude [Hospital].

Sophie Zweben: I have so many favorite memories from Oxford. Some of my best memories are staying up late listening to music and making food with my friends in Murdy kitchen, library shifts with my friends, and picnics on the Quad.

How has Oxford prepared you for the Atlanta campus?

Hong: Because Oxford is a close campus with a tightknit community, it gave me a chance to become more sociable. Coming to Oxford, I didn’t really want to be the first person to initiate conversations. But now it just makes me more comfortable with meeting people at the Atlanta campus and making more connections, just finding my place within a much larger community.

Matthews: I’ve definitely become more social since coming to Oxford. The idea of going to a big school frightened me, and I think it was nice to have a smaller community where it’s easier to know everybody. It’s less awkward when you meet someone because chances are you already know their name, or have heard of them, or have something you can talk about with them—which is really nice. Also, I think Oxford has gotten me slowly ready for the workload I know I’m going to have the next two years. With COVID in the first semester, things started off pretty slow. Then it gradually picked up, and now this semester I’m like, ‘Wow, I’m a full-fledged college student.’”

One of William Xu's favorite Oxford memories was the Oxford Cancer Foundation's pink-themed fundraiser.

courtesy of oxcancer instagram

Pi: Academically they prepared us very well. Oxford definitely has smaller class sizes, which I really like because you get more time with the professors. Here, they really challenge your problem solving, and thinking, and recall. I like how the professors here make their tests; it really gets me to learn.

Xu: I go to Atlanta every Tuesday and Thursday for my biochem class. Through that I have met more people in classes—their clubs, friends, and connections as well [who are already in Atlanta].

Zweben: I feel pretty prepared for Atlanta. I definitely feel ready in terms of academics, but I am a little nervous to be surrounded by so many new people. But I know I’ll have my friends from Oxford to help me through the transition.

Jerry Hong will miss the clubs at Oxford, especially Oxapella.

Victor Zhou

What will you miss most about Oxford?

Hong: The clubs here are really special. They all have their own unique ways to get people involved on campus. Like SAC (Student Activities Committee) and Oxapella, those are the two biggest clubs I’ve been a part of. Especially Oxapella, going into arts and music has been really fun for me. The clubs here are what I’ll miss the most. 

Matthews: How easy it is to get around. My farthest walk is to the Science Building. Also seeing people around in the hallways is always nice, because I know everyone and can smile or wave or have short conversations with everyone I pass by. 

Pi: Definitely the campus, the people, the community. There’s just something about Oxford—the pretty lights in Seney, the firepits, and just being able to walk to class in 5 minutes. It’s nice to see people sitting out on the Quad doing their homework. I feel so safe here. It feels so good to be here. 

Xu: My close friends, or the closeness of how I feel to my friends. At Oxford it’s a very small community, and if you want to see someone but you don’t really know how to see someone, Oxford will help you bring that distance closer together.

Zweben: I will miss all my friends who are still going to be at Oxford, but I’m so excited for when they visit and eventually transition to the Atlanta campus too!

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