Freshers information

Hi everyone! You're bound to have been told this many times but it can't hurt to hear it once more - a huge congratulations and welcome to Merton! This section of the JCR website is here to point you in the direction of some things you might find useful Merton before you get here.


Firstly, for support on how to prepare for coming to Merton, the freshers' page on the college intranet is probably the best place to go. You can find freshers' week timetables there, a useful checklist of things to do over the next few weeks, as well as links to the freshers' guides which we would thoroughly recommend reading, as they contain some very useful information you'd probably like to know before you arrive! You can find this page here: 

You should also read through the following documents prepared by the JCR

Fresher's Guide 2021

Entz Guide 2021

International Student's Guide 2021

Welfare Guide 2021

Support from current students:

The JCR website has other pages to advise you on the specific support college can offer, from IT to welfare. However, we understand that some of you might feel more comfortable getting in touch with students here, and so the JCR Exec are here and happy to answer any questions you might have.

For general queries about college life, you can get in touch with either Roheena, President- or Vicki, Vice President-

For any financial concerns: Rebeeca, Treasurer-

For academic concerns: Holly, Academic Affairs Rep- Holly can also put you in touch with subject presidents for any subject-specific questions you might have, for example, reading lists, second-hand books or contact hours.

For questions about access provisions in college: Nikita, Access and Equal Opportunities Rep-

For questions about social events in college and freshers' week: Eddie and Imogen, Entz Reps-

For any welfare concerns: George and Jana, Welfare Reps-

Our welfare team have paired you up with "college parents", who will act as a kind of mentor throughout your time here. They also form part of the student support network at Merton and will be reaching out to you soon.

There is also a Facebook page up and running for the JCR which we recommend you join, if you have Facebook, as it is a useful way of keeping up with what is happening amongst the undergrads at Merton. To request to join, you can follow this link:

Oxford Terminology

Oxford, and indeed Merton, often seems to use a language of its own, which can sometimes feel like a lot to take in. Below is a brief explanation of some of the terms we use here, so you can familiarise yourself with them before you arrive:

AHMED Merton's favourite kebab man: winner of the UK Kebab Awards (Kebab Van Category) 2019

ALUMNUS Someone who used to go to the college (their alma mater). We tend to boast about Tolkien, Randolph Churchill, T. S. Eliot, William Harvey, Mark Haddon, Max Beerbohm, Adam Hart Davies, the current Emperor Naruhito of Japan, Princess Akiko of Japan, Basil Blackwell, Thomas Bodley, Roger Bannister...

BATTELS College bills, paid at the start of every term.

BLUE If you represent the University at the highest level in sport, you win a blue. We're dark blue, Cambridge are light blue. 

BOD Bodleian Library. Big place with over 7 million books - in fact every book ever published in the UK. Means there's little chance to use the "I couldn't find that book" excuse. Includes the much-photographed Rad Cam.

BOD CARD Your University Card, used to gain access to the Bod, to take out library books (except from the Bod, which doesn't lend), and at Merton, to pay for food, and (most importantly) to gain access to BOPs... Try not to lose it!

BOP Fortnightly JCR Entz event, involving fancy dress, drink, dancing, and music. Ostensibly stands for "Breach of the Peace".

BRUNCH Delicious fry-up from 11am every Sunday. One of the most popular meals.

BURSARY Pay your bills here.

COLLECTIONS College exams, usually at the start of each term. Book tokens if you get a first, but don't worry too much about them. That's what PRELIMS, MODS and FINALS are for.

DPOP Deputy Principal of the Postmasters, along with the POP (Principal of the Postmasters), in charge of disciplinary procedures within the college.

ENTZ Entertainment provided by the JCR including BOPS, nights out, karaoke and various other forms of "entertainment".

EXHIBITIONER Someone who gets a first in their PRELIMS or MODS, usually. Wear fancy gowns and have plenty of book tokens.

FINALS The big exams. Usually third year for artists, and end of each year (except the first) for scientists. If you want to annoy a finalist, tell them you're stressed about your PRELIMS or MODS. Works every time.

FRESHER That's you. Fresh-faced and enthusiastic first-years. We look forward to meeting you - hopefully you'll look forward to meeting us too (at least slightly).

GRADUATION You've finished your degree. Now enjoy the ceremony, the prestige... and the pretty, furry gown.

HACK Someone active on the political scene for the sake of a principle, that principle being their self-interest and self-aggrandisement.

HILARY Second term of the year, in spring. Commonly abbreviated along with year, e.g. HT19 for Hilary Term, 2019.

JCR EXEC Executive Committee of the JCR. A team of highly dedicated, fantastically intelligent and incredibly nice people who represent you to the college and keep things running smoothly.

LABS Practical fun for scientists. Usually one or two afternoons a week.

LECTURES Arts students may have two or three per week. Scientists will usually have two or three per morning.

MATRICULATION Isn't as painful as it sounds, it's actually the University admissions ceremony. You get talked at in Latin for a few minutes by the Vice Chancellor, and then head straight down to the pub (not an official part of the ceremony).

MCR Middle Common Room. Common room for graduate students.

MERTON NEWS Scurrilous gossip rag, written by Walter de Merton. Regardless of where, what or when it happened, Walter saw it.

MICHAELMAS First term of the academic year, in autumn. Abbreviated to MT.

MODS Equivalent to Prelims. Exams for subjects such as Law and Classics (Classics Mods being particularly evil, with over 30 hours in second year) which occur in Hilary, rather than Trinity term.

OGM Ordinary General Meeting. Fortnightly meetings where JCR matters are discussed.

PIDGE Pigeon hole. Your port of contact with the outside world. Location of all incoming mail and internal notices too. Very exciting when you have something, unless it's from a bank.

PORT Strong, sweet fortified wine from Portugal. Popular with tutors, subject dinners and the TIME CEREMONY. Unpopular with mornings-after.

POSTMASTER Someone promoted from an EXHIBITIONER for further exam success. Nothing to do with letters.

PRELIMS First-year exams in most subjects. They don't count towards your degree, but you can get book tokens and some money off BATTELS for good results. See MODS.

SCR Senior Common Room. Common room for fellows, and the fellows' body.

SUB FUSC Official garb consisting of white shirts, dark suits, bow-ties, ribbon-ties, gowns and mortar boards for exams, etc. Very stylish and highly fashionable.

SUSPENSION Taking time out on health or welfare grounds. Not nearly as bad as being "sent down", permanent expulsion for academic or disciplinary reasons.

TAB Someone from the Other Place - variously known as Mordor, Hades, and Cambridge.

TIME CEREMONY Ancient Merton tradition, founded in 557 AD. Walking backwards around Fellows' Quad when the clocks go back ensures that mystical time particles ('chronicles') don't disrupt the space-time continuum. Vital for the continued existence of the Universe - play your part!

TRINITY Third and final term.

TUTORIAL Involves you and maybe a few other undergrads discussing your essay with your tutor. The jewel in the crown of the Oxbridge system, climax of the academic week, and not as scary as it might seem. Really.

WARDEN Head of the college. Our warden is the shiny, brand spanking new Professor Irene Tracey


WARDEN'S COLLECTIONS Your annual meeting with the Warden, Senior Tutor, and subject tutor(s) to discuss your academic progress. Also, not as scary as they seem.