In such majestic colleges, I can understand why the students continue to wear formal robes for examinations. It ties them to the traditions of their school, just as the buildings themselves serve as a reminder of the colleges’ histories. Their everyday life is filled with reminders of the history of their colleges. The past doesn’t die in a campus such as this. I wonder how that affects or influences the study of history.

I really enjoyed seeing the garden space that helped inspire Lewis Carroll, especially because the next day i saw the images of Alice in Wonderland on a computer in the British Library. Looking at Carroll’s drawings meant more because I’d just seen the garden where he worked. Also, Angie’s story of the Bodleyean library reinforced the idea of how precious books were before the advent of the printing press. Hearing that story then hearing of how massive the Oxford library now is makes me proud of our age. We may not have made as much progress as we like to think, but having such a huge store of books is a worthy feat, even if the tourists don’t flock to see it.

The biggest thing I took away from this trip is how this city has not only prepared thousands of students for careers, but has inspired some of the stories that British and American popular culture have fallen in love with. I love the Tolkien, Lewis, Rowling and Pratchett novels that have ties to this place, and it’s great to realize that such fantastical flights of fancy have solid roots in the real world.

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