Weekly Shocks' Blog



Bits of Fluff in Revision Period: Subfusc

During my glorious post-dissertation celebrations (coma-like sleep, long, lazy strolls throughout the city, scratching my belly button, etc.), a few well-meaning friends and family members emailed me asking how it feels to be done with Master’s Degree Numero Dos. It was very sweet of them to do so, but the reality is, I’m not finished yet. I’ve still got an exam left, which is worth a hefty twenty percent of my overall degree. I think this is Oxford’s way of kicking all of us in our teeth after we’ve slopped through ten months of a giant piece of written brilliance (or, in my case, crap) and done so successfully and without going completely mental. “Ahahahaha! Not so fast, my pretty little things,” Oxford shrieks, “Time to don your fancy dress and spit out everything you’ve learned in your option papers (Remember those?! HAHAHAHA!) in three hours or less! And make sure you do so in comprehensive, elegant essay form as well!”

Cheeky git.

I actually don’t mind exams. They’re a quick punch in the gut, then you’re done. Kind of like tearing the Band-Aid off in one, merciless, bloody swoop. However, because we’re in Oxford, the Freak Show Capital of the World, we actually have to wear special clothes to take exams. They call it ‘subfusc.’ My mom calls it ‘the penguin suit.’ It consists of black trousers (or a skirt if you’re so inclined), a white dress shirt, a black jacket, a white bow tie for the gents, and a black ribbon for the ladies, black socks and shoes, and the Harry Potter gown and mortar board. It looks really, really stupid. Actually, that’s not entirely true: on men, it looks distinguished and handsome and elegant. Men look pretty damn hot in subfusc, let me tell you. If you’re not lucky enough to be a man, however, it looks really, really, really stupid. I’ve yet to see a girl, no matter how otherwise lovely, pull off subfusc without looking like a puritanical schoolmarm with a red-hot poker shoved so far up her bottom it’s now making conversation with her uvula. I would call this unfair and sexist and indicative of the horrific gender divide that still persists in elite universities, but because I have to revise for my exam, I just can’t be bothered to give a flying toss. Besides, I have to find my stupid ribbon.

Furthermore, I need to remind everyone that it’s June, and June in Oxford can occasionally mean boiling lava steaming hot, complete with no air conditioning. Not always, but it does sometimes happen that you end up taking your exams in rooms that would be more appropriately used as saunas, except there’s no sign of balding, potbellied men in towels discussing stock figures and football scores. Thankfully.  Also, you don’t have to keep your subfusc on fully throughout the exam, although this is occasionally even worse than the stupid-looking subfusc itself. Exams often become a bizarre game of striptease essay-writing as you trawl through your questions while sweating and cramping and groaning and removing as much of your clothes as you’re legally allowed, and everyone else around you is doing the exact same thing. It’s all very distracting and bothersome, especially at Oxford where you just know no one is getting any at all and this really isn’t the best time to be, well, inappropriately attired. Right? Right. Yeah. OK. Ahem.

Anyway! My exam is in two weeks. And in those two weeks, I think I’m going to devote much of my blog writing to bizarre bits of random observations that have nothing to do with my option paper.  Which is pretty much how my blog is set up already, but now I’m going to be a bit more honest and open about it. What’s that saying again? Admitting you have a problem is the first step toward recovery? Or something? I’m not sure I have a problem or am in need of recovery, but it seems like a nice cheerful way to end an otherwise whiny post, so there you have it. Enjoy!

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Comments

  1. * mom says:

    Hope your professors don’t read your blog or perhaps your future employers at Oxford! Study hard my pretty witty one!

    Posted 8 years, 4 months ago
  2. * WeeklyShocks says:

    Yeah, I hope my mom doesn’t read it either!

    HI MUMMY!!!!! 🙂

    Posted 8 years, 4 months ago
  3. * mom says:

    Best entertainment in town! of course reading your blog is the only entertainment in town as one can only watch Molly chase her tail so many times! Hi back Baby

    Posted 8 years, 4 months ago
  4. * WeeklyShocks says:

    “My mom thinks I’m cool.”
    – Milhouse Van Houten, The Simpsons

    “My mom thinks I’m more entertaining than a brainless, fluffy, Pomeranian rat-dog chasing her own tail.”
    -Weekly Shocks

    Doesn’t have quite the same ring, but I’ll take it.

    Posted 8 years, 4 months ago


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