Tomorrow is Michaelmas. And for me, it evokes memories. Yes, I am a bit odd. For most people, it’s Christmas and such that brings forth memories.
But the Feast of St. Michael and All Angels (known more commonly as Michaelmas in the UK) roughly marks the beginning of the academic year in Oxford and Cambridge. And that turns my thoughts back to my times there particularly in 2007 when I was studying medieval history at Oxford.
There was the anticipation and joy of the Oxbridge choirs resuming their services. I took a pleasant weekend off to Cambridge chiefly to hear the King’s College Choir start their year and to study the windows of the chapel. But there was much more to enjoy, such as an excellent Michaelmas service at Little St. Marys. I was glad Cambridge started their term a week earlier than Oxford.
And I looked forward to and enjoyed the Oxford term beginning. The flummery associated with the occasion was a treat, but that was only part of Oxford coming alive for a new academic year.
Do the memories make me miss Oxford and Cambridge? Yes. Will I go back sometime? Probably, if not this year (too much going on at home), and even though I know it will be near impossible to relive the experience of the first time to study there.
Now I haven’t forgotten that academic pressure made my time in Oxbridge bittersweet. But I still look fondly back on it. I am glad I did it, and part of me wishes I could do it anew.