Where to go if you want…
To cry post-tute
You’ve emerged into the college quad with your essay eviscerated by the talons of your tutor. Reeling from the bruising encounter, you start to feel tears pricking your eyes – so where do you flee to weep in peace?
If you’re lucky, you’re in your own college and will be able seek solace in the tender embrace of the stash of chocolate biscuits in your room. But you can also go further afield – it all depends what you’re looking for from your crying experience. Recognition? Sympathy? Complete isolation in which to wallow in your pain and self-pity?
If it’s recognition or sympathy you’re looking for, I would have to recommend the centre of the Upper Camera at around 3pm. An iconic spot, packed out with students, and (if you’re lucky) tourist groups, your wails of grief and anguish will certainly be greeted with some degree of notice – even if it is tinged with irritation.
On the other hand, if you’re searching for utter solitude, just head down to the English faculty and sit in the back of a lecture hall. Whether or not a lecture is taking place will not have any serious impact on the emptiness of the room.
To avoid rowers
It’s the week of Torpids, Summer Eights or whatever else is going on in college rowing this week. Understandably, you’re looking to avoid anyone involved and, in so doing, evade the terrifying prospect of being roped into spectatorship. So what do you do? Where do you go?
The most important thing to remember is to put distance between yourself and the river. The closer you are to the river, the more likely you are to hear those haunting words, the stuff of nightmares: “Do you want to come and support us tomorrow?” As such, you should start heading north with as much speed and enthusiasm as possible, probably with headphones on. St Hugh’s serves as a safe haven: do they even have rowers there anyway?
To be scouted for an Oxlove
It goes without saying that the Rad Cam is the ultimate location to be spotted for an Oxlove. But you’ll need to do more than just turn up and read your set-text on Renaissance rhetorical theory. With such huge competition, you’ll need to commit to the cause. Striking an attractive pose is key: sit with a winsome smile playing on your lips as you gaze pensively into the distance, and you’ll be sure to find a suitor. Alternatively, make eye contact with the potential admirer at the desk opposite you. This can be achieved by looking up frequently from your note-taking, or, if you’re feeling particularly desperate for an ode, by maintaining forceful eye contact over the desk partition and fluttering your eyelashes at the wordsmith in front of you.
To see wildlife
Common sense suggests that University Parks might be the best place to search for flora and fauna, with its leafy glades, manicured flower beds and beautiful trees, only slightly trampled by rugby players. Or else you might fancy an afternoon stroll in Port Meadow, where wild horses frolic in bucolic bliss. But there’s no need to go that far – there are many breath-taking wildlife spots closer to home. Start by paying a visit to the college library late at night, where crepuscular creatures with hollow eyes squat over desperately scrawled notes. You might also enjoy the cheese floor at Park End, where sharks, maddened by the scent of fresh fish, have been driven into a feeding frenzy. If you want to seek out nature during the day though, there is no better spot than the Oxford Union, where snakes can be observed slithering around in their natural habitat.
To have a snack post-clubbing
It’s the end of a long night at Emporium: you’ve endured the pain of an empty dancefloor, terrible tunes and an overpriced vodka mixer, and now it’s time to try and salvage the night with a great post-clubbing snack. Your friends are depending on you for a novel suggestion that will transform this night from a calamity into a giant triumph. Which way do you turn?
There’s a couple of easy answers: Hassan’s, Ahmed’s, even McDonald’s. But you’re not going to win friends and influence people with these basic attempts. You need to be more imaginative. You have two options: pick somewhere completely unlikely, and then draw out the night in order to wait for it to open. Otherwise, pick a kebab van which isn’t on your normal walk home. This will undoubtedly improve your night by providing variety, excitement and adventure. It doesn’t matter that anything you’ll eat there will be the exact same as any other kebab van: it’s the journey that counts.
JCR meetings have few benefits. Dominated by protracted discussion of seemingly meaningless issues, and desperate calls for quorum, it might seem that there is really no reason to attend a JCR meeting, at all.
Yet this is a misguided view. JCR meetings have one redeeming quality: free food. As students, we cannot recommend the possibility of free food highly enough. What could be more appealing than being offered huge amounts of chocolate mini rolls, crisps and pizza just for dropping in. After all, you can always beat a hasty retreat after you’ve restocked.
Christian Union meetings also tend to offer more than just spiritual nourishment, although this is less relevant if you go to Balliol.
A quiet Thursday night
Anywhere other than the Bridge queue.