A new project for the inter-term break has arisen: finding somewhere to live for next year. I was surprised to learn from Bilyana and Nora the other day that living in Merrifield actually costs more than living in college. Wadham College is right in the middle of Oxford, near shops and academic buildings. There is also food available here, though admittedly of very low quality. Merrifield, by contrast, is about a mile from central Oxford and not particularly close to any services or faculty buildings. That it should cost more boggles the mind and reinforces how normal economic incentives just don’t seem to operate within Oxford University. As an international student, living in college during breaks but taking no college meals, the cost of living in college works out to £1194.88 in battels a term, £3584.64 per academic year. That does not include college fees, which you need to pay regardless of where you live. I don’t know exactly what Merrifield costs, since it doesn’t seem to be on the website or in the Wadham Handbook, but I am assured that it is slightly more.
The ideal solution would be to rent a house somewhere with some other IR people. We could put up huge maps and leave copies of Millenium and The Journal of the American Political Science Association sitting around. We could establish a shared high-speed wireless network, complete with a VPN channel to the DPIR terminal and file servers: providing access to electronic journals for the sane and to STATA for the mad. Copies of useful tomes, a few belonging to each of us, would be available for reference. We could edit papers and agonize about theses together, in a kind of intellectual Valhalla. Also very appealing is the prospect of having kitchen facilities of the sort that would encourage me to start trying out Sarah’s recipes.
In terms of location, it would be best to be either fairly close to the Manor Road building, and therefore the Social Sciences Library and most of our lectures, or near somewhere interesting, with plenty of services. There is a colony of Wadhamites living near Cowley Road that have opted for the latter solution. I am told they are happy with it, though it would entail a good twenty minute walk to Manor Road, or the acquisition and use of a bicycle.
In any case, these questions should be contemplated and solutions fleshed out between the end of Michaelmas (3 December) and the beginning to Hilary (15 January).