Hello everyone! I realize it has been quite some time since my last blog post. The weather here in the UK has taken a turn for the wonderful, with lots of warm sunny days. Meanwhile, my work has skyrocketed over the past two weeks with German and Egyptology tutorials, as well as an extended essay project that I am working on for Assyriology. For grad school applications, I discovered that many schools would like a 15-20 page writing sample. Not having anything approaching that length to submit, I approached my tutor about whether we could work together to craft an essay that would be suitable. He wholeheartedly agreed, and for the past week I’ve started researching for an 8,000 word essay on the development of kingship in Mesopotamia from Early Dynastic times (3000 BCE) through to the end of the Neo-Babylonian Period (ca. 536 BCE).
As my tutor and I discussed our plans for the essay, it once again struck me how fortunate I have been to be able to study here at Oxford, especially as a visiting student. The flexibility I’ve been granted here is nothing short of amazing. Time and time again, I’ve been able to approach my tutors and the director of visiting students here at St. Catz about my interests, and they’ve always found ways to accommodate what I would like to do. Not once has one of them told me that it was impossible or that I should perhaps reconsider what I want to do. As a result, this year I have had the opportunity to follow my interests wherever they may lead, which has made me more certain than ever that I would like to pursue a career in academia focusing on the ancient Near East. The more I study, the more I discover that I want to explore. Although the work here is harder than anything I’ve done academically before, I’m never bored. Quite the contrary, I find myself in a state of near-perpetual fascination with my studies.
As the weather here constantly improves, I am reminded again and again of what a beautiful city Oxford is. The honey-colored limestone gleams in the sunlight, and the “dreaming spires” stand out starkly against the clear blue sky (well, except for today, which has been rather rainy). Even more stunning is walking through Oxford in the evening, watching the stone slowly turn a rosy pink from the light of the setting sun. With barely a month of my study abroad remaining, I can feel these moments of beauty becoming more and more dear to me, and I know that Oxford, the city and the university, will always hold a special place in my heart.