Dear Freshers,

Welcome to Oxford! And more specifically, welcome to the Balliol Middle Common Room (“MCR” for short). Composed of the graduate students of Balliol, the MCR is a diverse, supportive, and unique community of people, and we’re very much looking forward to having you join!

A central part of the Oxford experience, the MCR is here to make you feel at home, support you throughout your graduate studies, and also put on a jam-packed social calendar throughout the year. We know moving to a new place, especially one as quirky as Oxford, can be a little overwhelming, so to help you settle in we’ve organised a “Freshers’ week” for when you arrive. You can find the provisional timetable in this E-guide, and as you’ll see we aim to provide a range of events so there’s something there for everyone.

Even with this guide, however, Oxford can be a confusing place for newcomers, so between now and your arrival we’d encourage you all to join our Freshers’ WhatsApp*. Here you can meet your fellow freshers, and some of us “Stalers” (members who aren’t new students). We are there to share our knowledge and answer any questions you may have. If WhatsApp’s not your thing, you’re welcome to contact any of the current committee via E-mail, and you should also join our Facebook group* which is used for all sorts of miscellaneous business. Further, a couple of weeks before you arrive an MCR Mentor will get in touch. They’re there to provide you with a personal welcome into the MCR and you’ll get the chance to meet them in person, along with all your other fellow MCR members, in Freshers’ week.

Finally, on a more personal note, I’ve found the MCR to be one of the most welcoming and inclusive communities I’ve ever encountered. I’ve made some incredible friends here, and it is without a doubt their encouragement and support which has led to me writing this letter.
I very much hope you find the same, and on behalf of the graduates of Balliol, we can’t wait to meet you all soon!

Best wishes,

Thomas Hancock

* The WhatsApp and Facebook links are available in the e-guide version of this letter.