Oxford Trashing

A and I are old grade school friends from our days in Washington D.C. We fell out of touch at the beginning of our sophomore year of high school and actually ran into each other on the street while both of us were studying abroad at Oxford University. She spent her whole term time as a part of Oriel College and became involved in the student life by attending formal balls, bops, and integrating herself in the Oriel squash and rowing teams. I was a part of New College, so naturally I was curious as to the particular traditions of Oriel College and how they differed with New. I actually got to participate in the act of trashing while I was there, but A had more experience doing it.

A:Remember that time we went to trash my friend? I can’t believe I got to do that. I wish C. University did that when we took our final exams. Each year, Oxford students take three finals. They even coordinate the color of flower they wear in their robes (red, pink, white) to the exam that they are taking. They rent special robes for the sole purpose of taking exams. However, once they emerge from their final exams, all their friends who are free wait outside the building with all kinds of crazy things to trash them with. Trashing can be with confetti, poppers, champagne, sometimes even eggs. Trashing also gets progressively worse the older you are. First years have the easiest time of it, whereas finalists tend to have crazy things done to them post finals. Often, you bring alcohol or food for the person who finishes their finals.

L: Yeah C was showing me photos of his finalist days of trashing,I couldn’t stop laughing with his face smothered in cake and flour.

A: Exactly, it’s a rite of passage marking that you survived the study days regardless of how you do on testing or not you’ve made it through in one piece.