Long journeys can, quite understandably, exhaust most people. Planes are cramped, queues are long, traffic jams can intervene unexpectedly and unwelcomely— and this being the case, a traveller might well want, as they fight through to their destination, to be greeted by somewhere peaceful, and welcoming, and if possible also beautiful.
The arrivals to Merton College yesterday received that and more. Merton is always a particularly beautiful place, but compared to airports it can only shine out more lustrously, as students could not help but observe in their tour of the historic site.
Upon arrival, students were welcomed by ORA’s counsellors, who were on hand to show them to their rooms in Merton’s towers and quads, and to guide them peaceably by the elbow towards tables laden with afternoon tea. After giving ample time to replenish their appetites, the Programme Director for ORA in Merton, Julia Abbott, formally welcomed the new arrivals in the gracefully modern TS Eliot Theatre, named after the College’s illustrious poet alumnus.
With the talk concluded, and with the afternoon tea now a pleasant memory retiring into the middle distance, students retired to Merton’s Hall, an exceptional room of long tables lit with dozens of individual lamps, and dark wooden panels hung with paintings. Energised after their evening meal, icebreakers were organised in the Quad before, having gotten to know one another better, students either headed to bed or ventured out into the surrounding Oxford for a drink and a brief exploration.