Why I’m that girl who’s always working in my college bar
It’s a life choice you should be making too
I spend so much time in the bar that I’ve had people come up to me in the Cindies smoking area and say “you’re the girl that’s always working in Trinity Bar”.
No, it’s not because I’m an alcoholic (I’m not), I just think it’s a great place to work, socialise and nap.
By far the best thing about living in the bar is the social interaction. I have met so many people in college, particularly those who aren’t from my year sitting at the same table as them. Whether it’s before or after formal, in a half-hour gap between supervisions, or just randomly in the evening, I know that if I wait in the bar eventually someone whom I enjoy talking to will walk in.
College bars are meant to be social spaces which are large enough for groups of students to congregate. It’s really hard to take advantage of such places if you’re always hidden in your room.
Some of the funniest moments I’ve had in Cambridge have been during random nights when my friends and I are sitting around. Even if we’re just silently studying, there’s a real sense of community that comes from knowing that other people are staring at a book in frustration alongside you.
The difference between working in the bar or in Cafe Nero is that you know (or get to know) the people who drop in. If I’m working in my room, every time I feel like procrastinating (which happens far more often than I’d like to admit), I end up scrolling mindlessly through my Facebook feed. At least in the bar, if I’m not working, I’m actually talking to my friends rather than passively stalking their posts.
Being in the bar means I don’t need to leave for food or (more importantly) for coffee. The bar has the cheapest coffee in Cambridge and the most amazing luxury hot chocolates. If I’m hungry, or need a reward to motivate me to finish that last chapter, I can get a slice of cake without having to waste time walking from my room to Sainsbury’s.
I even nap in the bar. While this started as me just spontaneously falling asleep in front of my laptop, it’s now become an almost-daily occurrence. The chairs are just large enough for me to curl up, wrap myself in a blanket and fall asleep for an hour.
If I were to try that in my room, what was meant to be an hour-long nap would turn into a three-hour nap. It’s slightly too busy in the bar to sleep for long, and even if it wasn’t, there are lots of people around to wake me up.
Finally, I have to address the question that I get asked literally once a day (people, stop asking me, it’s seriously annoying) “How can you get any work done there?”
The answer is 10% good earphones, 30% really enjoying my subject and 60% a very loud family whose noise has probably trained me to be able to work through an avalanche. The post-formal rowdiness that is the bar at its loudest has nothing on my sister sitting next to me, laughing at Dance Moms or Keeping Up with the Kardashians.
I was surprised at how much work I can get done in the bar, but I find that background noise actually makes me focus more (I know, it’s a bit weird). I think the extra mental effort required to block out other people’s voices means I am more likely to actually absorb and remember cases and random Roman laws.
A few weeks ago I spent a full thirteen hours in the bar and got two essays done. I’d far rather do that work and be able to take the occasional five minute break to talk to my friends or walk around Great Court rather than being cooped up in my room for the whole day.
And yes, I’m sitting in the bar as I write this. Come here, there’s coffee.