Life Divided: The Rad Cam

Priya Vempali and Julia Alsop avoid circular arguments

For the Rad Cam

Priya Vempali

Let’s face it, none of the Oxford libraries quite compare to the domed beauty that is the Rad Cam. Yes, you may have to elbow your way past throngs of tourists to get to the doors, but once you’re in, it feels like you’ve stepped into a scholar’s wet dream. The dusty books, the deafening silence, the Insta-perfect architecture — it has it all

Tired of staring at your blank screen waiting for a two thousand word essay to magically appear? Just stare up at the mesmerising ceilings and forget your problems for a while. Will it help you academically in any way, shape or form? No. Will it get your cover photo a hundred likes plus? Probably.

Not only is the building itself the most beautiful of the Oxford libraries, the circular citadel is renowned as a chirpsing hub, populated by the best dressed students in the university. Yeah, you may feel a little shabby walking around in your college hoodie, but who cares if that means you get to spend a couple hours mesmerised by the hottie in the Hilfiger jacket to your left? Abundant in inspiration for your next Oxlove, the safe haven provides some well-deserved distraction from that dead tutorial essay you’ve practically given up on.

Even the smallest things make a big difference, like the freezing cold temperature that keeps you from falling asleep at your desk. Annoyed that you can’t bring in coffee or snacks whilst you study? Don’t fear, friends – I’ve managed to sneak in an entire burrito and a milkshake whilst no one was looking. If you can believe, you can achieve.

All in all, the formality of the Rad Cam is ideal for masking your procrastination efforts with the prestige of an academic setting — and isn’t that really what the Oxford experience is all about?

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Against the Rad Cam

Julia Alsop

The Rad Cam. It is, to all intents and purposes, a symbol of the rich history of a university that we are more than privileged to attend. Furthermore, it’s absolutely ace Instagram fod- der if you catch a pretty sunset. But it’s a gimmick – beyond the neo-classical façade it is literally the most unpleasant place to work, and yet it always seems to gain prestige and favour over far better libraries (#justicefortheWeston).

The voyage to getting a work spot in the first place is burdensome. First of all, you are forced to battle through the hoards of tourists, obliviously deciding what filter to add their selfie in the Divinity School.

Even once you’ve sweated your way into the building itself, you are faced with the dilemma of finding a space (but where?) and doing so in absolute silence to prevent the library early birds from flashing the kind of penetrating stare that nothing can dull your shame at breathing ‘too loudly.’ As you finally find somewhere, you realise that you are sweating from stress and the bizarre heat of the place, and you haven’t even typed a title yet.

But behold, eventually you notice that there are people there who are taking up ALL the space and literally barely working. These are the worst people of all: the ones looking slightly too dolled-up to be in essay crisis, with an open Facebook tab which they check periodically.

Beware of the Oxlove-seekers, with their faux-whimsical-academic vibe and total lack of regard for their fellow students in denial about their deadlines. Don’t be one of these people: the hottest places in hell are reserved for those who, in times of great moral crisis, maintain their neutrality – although they are, after all, already in the Rad Cam.

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