An Oxford Library

What the Food You Bring To The Library Says About You

As dissertation season descends, the snacking options of Oxford students are laid bare on a spectrum of endurance to unhinged. After many productive hours of observing students in libraries, the culinary choices of Oxonians have both impressed and frightened me. Today I am serving you with what your library snack choice says about you.

1. Water – Ya basic
This is the blandest companion to complement your studies. While in accordance with the Bodleian Libraries guidelines, your hydro flask keeps your body hydrated and skin glowing but your tastebuds wanting. You know that you won’t stay longer than an hour when your stomach loudly starts to rumble, you’ll leave before you can embarrass yourself. You promise yourself that you will be back after a snack but in reality, you’re going home to nap.

2. Skittles – Here For a Good Time, Not a Long Time
You just need a little sugar to boost your productivity and get those fingers clacking away at your laptop. But, as you crunch (oblivious to the noise your mouth is making with your noise-cancelling headphones) your friend sitting opposite you reaches out their hand to you, wanting to taste that rainbow. Unintentionally, a game of launching skittles across the desk has begun. While suppressing giggles and guffaws you ignore death glares from post-grads. Eventually, you are kicked out by a stern librarian.

3. Fruits – The STEM Bro
You are here to complete your problem sheet and maximise your productivity. You need to get in your 5-a-day and 10 hours in the library. You listen to male manipulator music and munch aggressively (but silently) through your pack of Tesco mixed berries, focussed and efficient. You are what humanities students will mock because it could never be them.

4. Herbal Tea – The Survivor
Your throat feels like a thousand razor blades, but your tutor is unforgiving on deadlines, so you drag yourself to the closest library and force everyone else to listen to your hacking lungs. Although you could work in your bedroom, the temptations of your bed are too strong to resist, and the harsh lighting of the library will remind you of the harshness of your Collections reports, keeping you awake. You embody the less glamorous and burn-out side of Oxford – go home.

5. Popcorn – Public Enemy No. 1
You are the type of person that sabotages your tute partner to make yourself appear more intelligent to a tutor. You make everyone hungry with the infectious smell of popcorn and send them home to curl up and watch Netflix, while you type away, gleefully productive.

6. Pastry – The Influencer
You wanted that aesthetic BeReal of a croissant with the perfectly dusted sugar next to your laptop (open on some impressively incomprehensive journal article), framed by the historic beams of Tudor Pret – but it was full. So you glumly head to the closest library and try to eat it as quietly and gracefully as possible, spilling pastry flakes and icing sugar down your cute sweater vest and corduroy trousers.

7. Monster + Meal Deal Combo – The Crisis Crier
This is a universal Oxford Experience™ – you are seen and sympathised with. Though an all-nighter lies ahead, the nectar of the Monster will pull you through and ensure you meet the deadline. Unfortunately, it will not be your best work – your footnotes will be inconsistent, certain sentences incoherent, and the paper littered with question marks from your confused tutor. However, a crap essay is better than no essay – at least that’s how you’ll comfort yourself.

8. Cheese Platter – The Stinky Tory
Don’t get me wrong, I love a good Brie as much as the next Oxford student, but eating it in the library is not a classy move. Knowing that you are lactose intolerant and consuming a pungent Roquefort creates a hostile work environment – you just can’t Lizz Trusst it.

9. Kebab – You are drunk
Although I will never understand your logic, you are infinitely impressive to me. There are only two scenarios in which kebabs are eaten in a library, and you are drunk in both of them. 1. You are a loyal friend heading home after a sweaty night in Bridge and decide to check in on your sleep-deprived friend. Although you’ve handed in your weekly essay, you drunkenly stumble through their conclusion and hype them up, sharing your chips. 2. You forgot you had a deadline in the middle of Plush and run back to the library in the (vain) hope that a kebab will sober you up – you will be asleep halfway through your introduction.

10. KFC – The Unhinged Finalist or Fresher
Either you are a group of freshers sharing that bargain bucket of breasts at midnight, thrilled at this rebellious act of independence (recently gained from your parents). Or you’re a guilt-ridden finalist, desperate for some of that finger-lickin’ good chicken but too stressed to leave the library.