Lessons kicked off yesterday, as students discussed and discovered what it takes to be a good leader, an effective public speaker, an elegant essay-writer, or a successful entrepreneur. For example, students taking Public Speaking and Debate put their analytical skills into practice, as they parsed various famous speeches for rhetorical techniques. Under consideration was our very own Queen Elizabeth II, whose annual Christmas Day speech provoked thoughts on what it meant to address a virtual audience of millions, and civil rights leader Martin Luther King, whose powerful oratory showed students what it truly meant to connect with one’s audience.
After the day’s classes, students sallied forth into Oxford city centre, where they were taken on a guided tour around the city’s hottest historical spots. From the Sheldonian Theatre to Christ Church Cathedral, students were thrilled not only by the impressive architecture but the quirky stories that go along with it: did you know that the masters of Balliol and Merton colleges are officially required to be kept apart at university events for fear that the ancient rivalry over whose college is the elder might come to fisticuffs? Students pronounced the city ‘beautiful’, and reserved especial excitement for Christ Church College’s ‘Harry Potter hall’.
Back at St Hugh’s, House Deans had an array of activities planned for students: football on the lawns, giant Jenga, and a fiendish quiz on everything from geographical trivia to the biographical details of our own House Deans and Counsellors!