It is a late afternoon as I tidy my work space for the last time, get a warm hug from Vanda and leave my desk at Ertegun House for the winter break. As I walk down St Giles in the cold drizzle, I am surprised to feel the tiniest twinge of sadness knowing that I will spend the next 5 weeks not working at my Ertegun desk and instead working from the sun soaked beaches of Penang! But who can fault me for missing my desk at the House? In my short time as an Ertegun scholar, I have grown hopelessly attached to my desk and fond of the office I share with Rose, Vanda and Frazer.
My desk has been a constant through days I feel positive about my progress and also on days when I struggle through problem sets and lambda reductions. Having a beautiful and highly functional room through the intense Oxford term has been conducive to proper work. It is clear that a lot of thought has gone into the setup of our room to create the best space for focus and work - the ergonomic chairs, state of the art reading lamps, high ceilings, white walls with Ashmolean art prints, fireplace and tall windows letting natural light flood in.
My desk space is made even more meaningful because of my office mates. Throughout the term, the room is filled with conversations on Greek, German, and music. Sometimes Wen Pin from across the room or David from the floor above drop by to 'loan' Vanda for a 'consultation'. Rose does a daily check on how I’m doing. Frazer shares his French material with me and was generous enough to even let me use his laptop when I first got to Oxford on Week -1I am now able to laugh at the time when I sat at my desk beginning to despair that I would not be able to finish my weekly readings when Vanda stepped in and very encouragingly explained how to manage the readings and how to prioritise.
I am so glad that come Hilary term, I will be back at my Ertegun desk or my ‘happy work place’, ready to face another term and create more Oxford memories. My Ertegun desk may not be a sunny beach back home but it is fast becoming a space I treasure for contributing to my growth and happiness.