Confession time: I have never drank more than a sip of coffee. Even then, that was barely a swallow. The desire to have this caffeinated drink (which would probably make me overly hyper and give me headaches) has never been very strong.
However, being in Oxford taught me to love coffee shops. Walking into a coffee shop can transport you into another world. The smells, air, noises, and general atmosphere are unique from other environments. Thus, sneaking away to one alone or with a friend can be a great way to cope with life.
This coping skill might seem straightforward with little room for creativity. However, there are many ways to accommodate this skill to your state at the moment.
First of all, decide what you need. Are you looking for a place to study away from campus or change of atmosphere away from your home to get some work done? Is it company and friendship that you most desire at the moment? Do you want to read quietly but feel safe in the company of others? Depending on your needs, there are coffee shops that might be a better fit than others for you.
After you have figured out your main goal and needs, than you can decide if you want to go alone or with someone else. Twice this week, I met friends at coffee shops. This rarely happens for me but was such a treat. These atmospheres feel productive but welcoming. Business meetings can be conducted over a cup of hot chocolate, or friends can catch up while munching on muffins. For some people, the surrounding noises and smells might be a distraction from the conversation at hand. This is a struggle for me. However, I also feel more at ease in the cozy but upbeat environment.
Yet, there were times in England that I stole away to a little cafe by myself to enjoy a pot of tea and a good book. This can also be a wonderful way to unwind or have time away from daily life. Eating alone at a restaurant can be a strange feeling. At coffee shops, the weird factor diminishes. Many people hang out by themselves, and no one gives them a second glance. For introverts, this can be a great blessing if you can find a little corner to snuggle up in and work on some writing or homework.
Now that you know what you need and who (if anyone) you are going with, you can find a good place. There are all types of coffee shops, and each has its positives and negatives. Knowing what you want is important. Big chain shops are easier to find and navigate in if you like regularity. Local places will probably have regulars but can be more welcoming and comfy. Organic shops have wonderful assortments of unique menu items. Other shops might be trendy, hipster, quiet, ethnic, loud, woodsy. . . The list could continue on and on. Each shop is different, so having some idea of where you are going is helpful.
After this, simply enjoy yourself and take a break from everyday life. I feel guilty when I take time to sit and relax with tea or talk with a friend. However, these moments are just as important as school or work. We need to have times to escape and enter into a peaceful place. That is part of what coffee shops can provide.
- New Coffee Shops by Challenged and Changed
- small is the new big by The Violet Corner
- Courtyard Cafe by Rum lola rum
- A Non-Definitive And Extremely Biased Guide To The Top Five Coffee Shops Of (Central) Oxford by Bohemian at Best