Up there with OUSU emails and Union hacking as one of the banes of Oxon life is surely the thrice-yearly travail of removing entirely, and then weeks later returning, everything in our rooms. Perhaps it’s a tacit reminder that time is better spent on doing your degree than on constructing architecturally-unstable beer can monuments to Bacchus or plastering whole walls with pictures of yourself surrounded by perma-grinning celluloid chums.
But when you drag your meagre possessions up the inevitable staircase, you carry with them the ability to reinvent your room, to reinvest it with the character and colour of which it was relieved by the Michaelmas metaphysical chills. As Cat Edwards, 19, of Lincoln College, said on her return this week: “My room is really pretty now.”
How can one prettify a college room? Fairy lights and bunting are recommended for transforming your set into the boudoir of a twee Tinkerbell, and, if Madam or Sir would kindly step this way, they are available from The Works, a books-and-tat shop next to KFC. Dinky little Union flags might seem a little right-wing now that the Jubilee’s over, but at least you’ll be ready for the ironic Royal Baby festivities.
Other students might prefer a different vibe. Why have your bed against the wall when you can have it magisterially occupying the centre of the room? This also goes for desks: facing a noticeboard is so middle-management. The real bosses, in both senses of the word, have their desks unanchored by centrally-provided, communal wall, facing the door and those who enter through it.
Meanwhile, for the one per cent of Christ Church, the college’s art collection offers students the chance to borrow from a stash including 300 Old Master paintings and nearly 2000 drawings. Perma-chundering undergraduates probably won’t be allowed to carry off the Michelangelo, Leonardo and Raphael sketches, but it’s well worth having a crack at taking the van Dyck, Veronese, or Rubens. For those whose johnny-come-lately colleges don’t have an art collection, order a Salvador Dali poster for ‘trippy as fuck, man’ stoner approval.
For the great unwashed among us, there is yet hope. Although we can’t bask in the glow of an Old Master, we can certainly change the lightbulb to a seductive red number. This technique has not yet been reported to have drawn in sexual partners like moths to a scarlet flame, but can at least hide coffee stains. The same job can be done by posters, of which there is a good variety for sale at Blackwell’s.
So there’s always room for individual expression. Make that room yours.