By Bryony Boyes-Hannis
The last four weeks of my degree were supposed to be exam-free summer days, spent surrounded by friends and living in a beautiful city. That didn’t get to happen, but I will be forever grateful for the time that I did have. When I reflect upon the things that I’m going to miss, it is the small, seemingly insignificant, moments that remain with me. At the heart of these moments is my amazing group of friends and Keble College itself. I want to show you that despite all of the strange and wonderful traditions that Oxford has to offer, you shouldn’t be put off or scared that you won’t fit in. They might come together to give a daunting impression of Oxford life, but the reality is filled with lots of mundane and yet wonderful moments!
My first year at Keble was spent living in a staircase with 7 other freshers, many of whom quickly became my close friends. It is this staircase, surrounded by many more fresher-filled staircases, which allowed me to meet new people and make friends quickly. Looking back, I still miss the sound of my college husband (part of the college family system) hurtling down the stairs for his 9am lectures as I tried to grab those last minutes in bed before starting my day in the library. I miss the gatherings in the passage outside our staircases as we all came together at the end of the day to head to hall for dinner. I never had to walk more than a few metres to have a cup of tea with a friend or sit outside in summer. And in the evenings, it was easy to gather in someone’s room to watch The Great British Bake Off, play board games, or have pre-drinks, depending on what kind of night it was!
These kinds of moments were not limited to my first year. At Keble, we are lucky to be able to continue living in college during our second and third years. This meant that instead of choosing a few friends to live with, I had a large group of friends all living very close to me. The result was lots of unplanned chats, started by two people arriving back in the corridor and the rest of us nosily opening our doors and joining in! These impromptu chats led to some of my favourite evenings. Nothing particularly exciting happened, perhaps we all ate our various dinners together, but it was time spent surrounded by the people I love.
Other small things that I miss include the queue for brunch at a weekend, spent wondering whether the eggs would be good – a sure way to tell whether it was going to be a good day or not! And the friendly wave of the gardener, who always managed to put a smile on my face. There are bigger moments too, Keble Ball and many birthday celebrations among them, but it is the everyday happenings that I hold with me. Keble cannot be summed up by its buildings or its people, but they come together in a magical combination, filling me with happiness and love for a place which will always feel like home.