Right from the first day at Oxford, common rooms have become a big part of my life. In his undergraduate welcome speech, the Master of St. Peter’s College welcomed all of us as members of the Junior Common Room or the JCR. My heart was pounding at the thought that I was to become a part of this vibrant community.
The JCR is the undergraduate community of a college. It’s also a physical room where students can spend their free time, watch TV, play games and, one of everyone’s favourites, hold their bops (college parties). Likewise, there is the MCR (middle common room) for graduate students and SCR (senior common room) for staff and postdoctoral fellows. Being a part of the JCR has given me a sense of belonging which, along with the support available from the representatives on the JCR committee, made it much easier to overcome homesickness, to settle in and to enjoy my Oxford experience.
The common room in my department is one of my favourite places. This where I go between lectures to rest or work when the silence and solitude of the library does not sound very appealing. The common room is a nice social area where you can meet people in different stages of their academic careers, from undergraduates to professors. I enjoy the presence of people who, in one way or another, share my academic interests, listen to their discussions and stories, and think about all the possible scenarios of what I might be doing after my undergraduate degree.