I’d rather be at any other Uni than Cambridge

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Cambridge is shit. Let's stop kidding ourselves

After studying at Cambridge for nearly two years I’ve come to a startling realisation.

I think it’s really shit here. Like, really shit.

I mean, it has its moments. May Week was spectacular and I’ve definitely had many experiences I don’t think I’d have been able to have at any other university, but the negatives far outweigh the positives.

Let’s start with the fact I can just about bear the company of around 20 people in the entirety of my college. Of those, I’d be happy to call roughly 5 my friends. And it’s not like I’m unsociable or unpopular. It’s just I find most of the people here either repulsive or boring.

Most people have no substance to them – they’re happy with the monotony of having a preplanned week – rowing, Cindies and chatting absolute bollocks. There’s no spontaneity.

I’m finding myself frequenting the pubs on Mill Road to get away from the kinds of dickheads who think drinking societies are cool. The whole university consists of the type of people who would have been bullied at my high school for being arrogant, nerdy pricks.

Idiots, the lot of them

Idiots, the lot of them

I’m finding myself more and more inclined to go home to acclimatise myself with normal people and it frustrates me constantly that people don’t wake up and realise how obnoxious they’ve become. I don’t want to talk about politics or blues or University Challenge, I don’t care about how difficult your subject is and how you’ve got no free time, just fuck off.

Speaking of Cindies, dear God the nightlife here is absolutely dire. The jokes about Cindies playing songs for 30 seconds have been done to death, but I’d rather kill myself than listen to “Circle of Life” again.

I see pictures of club nights from back home – £1 drinks, 1p entry, rodeo bulls, free shots and wonder why I have to be stuck with four terrible clubs which play nearly identical music week in, week out: overcrowded, overpriced and over-sweaty.

Has Cambridge enriched my personality? Nope, I’m more cynical than ever. The university has destroyed my self-worth. It has the horrible habit of taking the best and brightest of the country and stripping away everything that they cherished as being valuable about their personality.

I don't think he noticed me take this photo

I don’t think he noticed me take this photo

I’ve gone from being “Gifted and Talented” to a number, exactly the same as everyone else and completely average. Seeing friends at other unis easily getting 2:1s and firsts and struggling to maintain a 2:2 is the most disheartening thing to happen to me.

Am I getting my money’s worth? Hell, no. I’m paying £9000 a year to go to a handful of lectures and do a bunch of independent study. Of those lectures, only 1 or 2 actually benefit me in any way towards my exams. I’ve had to have Skype supervisions because my supervisors don’t have enough time for me.

I’ve not been prepared for my future. I don’t have a clue what I’m going to be doing with my life. The only thing which matters is I get my predicted grade, ANOTHER thing I’m struggling to do at the moment.

Honestly, the list just goes on and on, but I’ll stop there because I’ve nearly finished my application to transfer to Manchester.

  • Would you like some salt

    for the chip on your shoulder?

    • I tell you what, why don’t we make a deal to each get therapy? People who agree with this article can seek help to overcome the chips on their shoulders and you can seek help to overcome your startlingly severe schizoid personality disorder. Sound reasonable? Cool.

  • Here’s a Solution

    Man the fuck up

    • Reference

      See comment above for example of obnoxious dickheads referred to in the article.

  • Greg Hill

    Someone hasn’t been going to my gym enough.

    • Greg Hill comment examiner

      Slightly new structure but it works. Lack of ‘which I built’ and no mention of Homerton though, so 4/10.

    • Bernadette Hill

      Phwaoor! I love it when my man bigs up his hand built gym

  • I don’t get it.

    This wasn’t funny at all….

  • The existential medic

    Cambridge is shit, but so are the other unis. Know why? They are not Cambridge. City by the Cam, biatch. Glorious home of academia, not to mention pointless arguments, broken self-esteem and social dysfunction. But it’s all cool, see? We have Stephen F-ing Hawking ‘n shit. I sit in a gown and stroppy waiters serve me shitty tasteless food by candlelight. No 2-for-1 Aldi bitch-deals for my boyz. You feel me bro?

    Shit brah, I now know a Latin grace verbatim. I even sang it on a mothafucking punt too. It doesn’t matter if you’re working ten hours a day to scrape a 2:i or crying away your ambitions and dreams into your cereal every morning. And I never give a flatulent flying fuck when my supervisors mock the linguistic composition of my essays or call my thought processes ‘weak’. They is all my bitches anyway. None of this matters. You’re in the fucking ‘bridge, photobombing tourists like a badass every time you leave your fucking room. Live it with no regrets.

    • Twat Detector

      Caius Medic detected.

    • anon (obvs)

      Yoh, I think we should marry. Or else I’ll photobomb your fucking wedding shots on the bridge.

      • The existential medic

        Aggressive negotiating strategy, I like it. Throw in a few goats and we have a deal.

      • The existential medic

        I’m apparently worth 8. http://www.howmanygoats.com/

  • also disillusioned

    Well that made me smile

  • Krishan

    Call me, we are obviously meant to be together, at another uni.

  • Yep!

    Will happily transfer right out of this fucked up shit-hole with you!

  • Greg Hill

    There are no words.

    Well, one.


  • Nerd

    “No no guys I’m super sociable AND popular: it’s everyone ELSE at Cambridge who is boring and shallow.”

    I’m sorry Cambridge has made you feel like you aren’t the most gifted and talented and best and brightest and special boy your mum and teachers always said you are: the university MUST be shit if someone of your calibre isn’t outperforming all these arrogant nerds.

    Hopefully you’ll be able to find a few people who aren’t repulsive to be friends with at Manchester, without all those people you used to bully at school getting in the way. Remember to steer clear of anyone who talks about sports, hobbies, politics, their subject or television or you’ll fall into the same trap as you did here: surrounded by boring people with no substance, having everything you cherish about your sparkling personality stripped away.

  • What this article is saying

    I’ve got exams coming up and I’ve just realised I’m not going to do very well. Shit. Better trash-talk the university. Maybe I don’t want to be here anyway.

    With your attitude, how long do you think it will be before Manchester’s flaws become apparent?

  • Let’s face it

    the Tab is shit.

    • Damn son

      That’s such an edgy, original insight you’ve got there. Controversial opinion, sure to create a stir in the comments – I don’t think anyone else has ever said that before!

      • At least

        this reply demonstrates better sarcasm than the Tab has ever produced.

      • Edgy Girl Leeds

        You don’t know the meaning of the word edgy, pipe the fuck down!

  • up fuck the shut

    you sir/madam, are a whiny, whinging, boring, condescending, holier-than-thou, cynic and you have my pity.

  • Big Dog

    Can’t take being a little fish a big pond #classic. Better luck in Manchester, I’m sure you get on just fine with all the rest of the bottom feeders

    • The Real Big Dog

      This is completely unrelated to this article but just so you know, you ain’t the Big Dog… You see your comment there? Big Dogs don’t write comments like that. Know why? Cause they’re Big Dogs, and they don’t worry about shit like this. Know what Big Dogs do worry about? Losers who claim to be Big Dogs and then go around posting shitarse comments on articles calling themselves Big Dogs while using a profile picture of a wolf. Where’s that emoji of the guy putting his hands to his head? Just pretend I used that here. You need a re-evaluation session bru!

      • The real Dig Bog

        The Dig Bog worries about people who feel the need to justify their position as the Big Dog

    • Reality Check

      Man, good luck going out into the real world. You think coming here makes you special? You got 4 A* at A-level and that makes you successful? You got a 1st last year and now you’re a fucking rockstar? In the real world, people like you sink to the bottom pretty fast as a result of no emotional intelligence or ability to empathize. In the real world, people see straight through arrogant individuals such as yourself. Enjoy the bubble while it lasts.

      • Big Dog

        Haha love these jokers who think that because that because they are stupid they have ’emotional intelligence’.

        • Reality Check

          Nope, just not arrogant enough to think that just because I go here I’m automatically better than anyone at Manchester Uni. Just not arrogant enough to think that getting 1sts at Oxbridge and doing some rowing on the weekends makes me a big shot “top feeder”. Self awareness is an important skill, perhaps when you go into the real world you’ll learn it although I suspect you don’t come from the real world because if you did you would possess such traits. How much interview prepping and private tutoring did mummy and daddy pay for for you to be able to come here and be able to mix with all the other “big dogs”?

          • Confused

            Dude why all the hate on rowing here?

      • Friend of Big Dog

        I can clarify that in no way did Big Dog get a 1st last year

        • Big Dog

          Nor 4 A*s in my A-levels, still doing better than these choppers though. Suppose I must have some emotional intelligence or something

          • So jealous.

            Fuck, I wish I had your wit. Tell me, does wanking off to everything you say ever get tiring?

            • Big Dog

              Do I ever get tired of wanking? Can’t think of anything else I’ve voluntarily done so consistently for the last 10 year, so no.

              • Big Bear

                I could eat you

  • David Ididntgotoaprivateschool

    This is one of the few articles that has actually made me laugh! Don’t get me wrong, Cambridge has some incredible aspects that make studying here an absolute privilage, but 70% of the students come from planet dickhead. You shouldn’t let that get you down though, because once the real world comes and sticks an uncomfortable pinky up their sphincy they’ll get the shock of their lives. In the words of JT, what goes around comes around blah blah blah sphincy

    • privilage

      at least you get taught to spell on planet dickhead

    • Anotherstatecomprehensiveguy

      Well you’re clearly the state schooler who snuck into Johns. Everyone I’ve met is lovely – regardless of socioeconomic background.

      • Charlotteemily

        im actually a state schooler at Johns, and couldnt be more proud of my achievements ….

  • Just Leave Then

    Maybe you aren’t enjoying it but you are in the minority. It’s a bit childish to write an article like this seeking to bring everyone elses experience down to your level. Grow up and move on.

    • Sigh

      Actually, you have no idea if they’re in the minority or not. There are plenty of people who feel similarly and express this very selectively. What’s childish is the cronyism and circlejerking going on in the comment section.

    • Reasonable person

      Just something I want to point out.

      While I would never have chosen to trade in Cambridge and enjoy the halls/swaps/’circle of life’/amazing professors/beautiful city/meaningful conversation, I do think the author makes a few good points.

      Cambridge does need some new clubs, for some reason the ‘popular’ people here are the ones that would have been bitch-slapped at my school and your self-worth is destroyed here.

      While I love Cambridge those things are what makes it not perfect, and at times have completely outweighed the benefits for me too.

      The author is not in the minority and if at the moment he is struggling to see the good stuff then maybe don’t be bitchy in return and just pray that he will when his exams are over. For one, Manchester is soo much worse – just saying.

  • Holy shit did I

    write this article? I don’t remember doing so but this is exactly what has been swimming around in my head since I got here, every single point. Thankfully the novel appearance of the sun compared to Manchester weather has a shockingly large effect on me, enough to just about keep me going, but I would not describe myself as happy here. If you’re serious about transferring to Manchester though all I have to say is do it, it’s a great place and students enjoy their lives there!

    • Manchester

      is too good for him.

  • Can’t take the heat?

    Then get out of the fucking kitchen.

    • Wiggy

      is that you?

  • Greg Hill

    Come to Homerton Gym. You will like Cambridge, I bet.

  • Bored Cynic

    So you’re at Cambridge and you’ve discovered you aren’t the absolute bestest person ever. I would say that’s a valuable life lesson.

  • Did you

    get pooled?

  • yes and no…

    I think different strokes for different folks. There are lots of wonderful things about the place and a bunch of cool traditions you wouldn’t get to experience elsewhere. On one hand I think whining into the abyss to alleviate anxiety is a bit transparent during exam term. But on the other I really do understand the sentiment. I have been here for five years and I was a much happier person arriving than I am leaving. It’s not a case of small fish big pond as people are saying – it’s just that a place like Cambridge really can destroy your self confidence if you give it enough room to, and the tiny bubble aspect of it just accentuates that. It can undo you if you don’t really tackle it head on and make it work in your favour. So.. make it work for you or find another path. Ultimately I think it’s the people that count – there are some truly awesome lovely people at this uni. Find them and it might change your mind.

  • Couldn’t think of a witty name

    I know loads of people who aren’t any of the things you described. They’re just good fun and interesting. Maybe you’ve just been exposed to the wrong crowds? I mean only hanging out with 20 people out of 20,000 will somewhat limit your sample of Cambridge

  • Weary Year Abroad Student

    YAWN. About 90% of Cam students are total weirdos and the rest of the world is definitely a better place. Get over yourselves. You and your university aren’t all that.

  • Fed up of hearing this

    We get it. People who are cool hate Cambridge. Everyone here is either a nerd or snobby and requires societies / rowing to make them feel socially comfortable etc. etc. It has been said a million times before in this esteemed newspaper. Indeed, it is a view I hold to an extent.

    However, if there is one thing more tiring than the people here, it is the people who whinge about it. By whinging and simultaneously staying here – which I presume you are despite your Manchester joke – you are just as bad. You hate Cambridge, but you require it to look good. Just like the drinking society idiots you despise, you require a social structure because you don’t have confidence in yourself without one. I have felt the same way myself.

    If you really are so different to everyone here, rather than rinsing them all in an obnoxious and arrogant rant, either (i) take a different approach – do some drama / sport / societies / charity-work / intellectual broadening or (ii) leave.

    The only thing stopping you leaving is your own high regard for the institution you so despise. If you are better than us here, put your money where your mouth is.

  • Some Ideas

    1) Stop kidding yourself about people you don’t like; stop hanging out with them, they’ll only annoy you more over time.

    2) Try to find other like minded people; join some new societies or sit next to randomers in lectures. It may seem like it’s a bit late to start that now but it really isn’t and in the end the effort will be worth it.

    3) Search for alternative scenes in Cambridge until you find one you like. There’s always stuff like comedy, plays, live music, etc, you just need to look for it. If you want alternative nightlife, Hip Hop night at Cindies on a Friday is brilliant, as are the House nights at Fez (oh, and the Junction!)

    4) Ask yourself if you still get satisfaction from your degree. If not, maybe consider switching to something else? This is probably one of the most important things because what makes Cambridge great is that it can fully satisfy all your intellectual curiosity regarding your academics. If you don’t like what your doing, you’re overall mood will seriously start to deteriorate so make sure you’re doing something you enjoy!

    Finally, all you need to remember is that it’s up to you to shape your Cambridge experience. Don’t let what should be the best years of your life go to waste; if you don’t like how things are right now, put in the effort to change that!

    • Finding a niche

      What a perfect response. Cambridge is absolutely what you make of it, and there are so many scenes there should be something for everyone. :)

    • Ye

      Or if you really can’t stand the nightlife here, hop a train to london- it’s an hour away and the free parties (or whatever kind of club you might want) are awesome.

  • IfYou’reGoingToWrite,Spell…

    “I can just about bare the company”. Nah man, you can bear their company. I’d be much more likely to believe you’re “Gifted and Talented” if you could spell. But you know, I’m probably an arrogant, nerdy prick anyway.

    • Shklee

      If you were as deep as him, you’d understand that he’s complaining that only 20 people in college will get naked in front of him.

  • Miles Dilworth

    Should’ve gone to Oxford.

  • It’s actually

    *bear… unsurprised you’re fighting for your Desmond. Enjoy the North.

  • Anon

    SO TRUE. Same story at Durhan University – its bollocks. Admire this article so much.

    • LOL

      Haha, as if Durham even compares… good luck in your career in HR you mug.

      • Andrew Tucker

        Elitist c**t exhibit A.

  • Amused

    This guy is brilliant! I’m sat here laughing at him so hard. Does he really think any other university would be any different? Drinking societies exist everywhere. There would be people you hate in any other institution. Suck it up. At least try to enjoy it, otherwise it will eat you alive, as it clearly is doing. Fucks sake, you’re in Cambridge! You managed to get in when thousands didn’t. Be grateful for your opportunity. Use this opportunity because you won’t get it again.

  • How It Is

    I have family that went to Oxbridge and from what I’ve heard its no where near as good as other Unis. Yes, I haven’t personally experienced it (but few have experienced more than one uni) and yes, it outshines in terms of academia, but university is so much more than that. I’m sure there are lots of interesting people at Cambridge but i feel like statistically it is undeniable that a large proportion of this people will be academia focused, hard-working individuals who are used to spending their time studying and having a rigid lifestyle. Other universities, with slightly lower standards of academia, allow more freedom for individuals that have a range of interesting pursuits and personalities. Now yes, this is a generalisation, but I think for the most part it is true. The diversity you can find at universities such as Manchester, Leeds, Bristol etc. is far more extensive than Cambridge because entrance requirements are more lax.
    So I think you’re right. On the plus side, at least you’ll have a crazy good degree at the end of one more year that should essentially make the rest of your working life much easier.

    • Uhh

      20,000 students and you think it’s not as diverse?

  • If you want cheap alcohol

    don’t go to a 1p-entry; £1-drink club, join a chapel choir. Yeah, they’re often full of dickheads too, but you win some, you lose some.

  • abi

    Whine whine whine. This is the same as every uni.

  • Sceptic

    Jack Chamberlain returns nothing on facebook, I’ve felt alot of what you’re saying but if you’re gonna say it so bluntly at least do it under your own name.

    • Super Procrastinator

      Or, for that matter, on hermes lookup. Show yourself, ‘Jack Chamberlain’.

  • well done

    You just trolled an entire university.

  • Why So Bitter?

    Cambridge isn’t shit, it’s just not for everyone. If what you want from uni is lots of LAD BANTAARRR, partying and recreational drugs as a stop-gap between school and employment then it’s obviously not for you. If you have a genuine interest in and passion for your subject and/or a strong desire to get involved with lots of extra-curricular stuff then you’ll feel at home.

    I’m not trying to claim moral superiority here – if what you want is a good time and a bit of paper that will improve your job prospects I can’t really blame you; it’s the fault of government and employers for creating a system that places undue necessity on a degree for employment not the individual that just plays along.

    I do agree that Cambridge has a habit of making people fall out of love with their subject but it’s better that you realise that now rather than when you’re stuck working 40 hours a week doing something you hate.

    As an aside, whilst our clubs aren’t great they are certainly better than those you’ll find in most non-uni towns of a similar size (from personal experience). Cambridge is only really a city in name, there are plenty of larger towns out there (cough cough Reading).

  • Good on you

    For daring to pop everyone’s Cambridge bubble. All these responses are so defensive it’s hilarious. People need to accept that the institution that comes top in the league tables doesn’t equate to a place where everyone fucking loves it. But all this falls on deaf ears anyway – no one wants you to rain on their parade. No one wants this place to actually progress and get with the times like other unis. As long as we keep this institution the traditional establishment that it is, all these trolling commenters will be satisfied.

  • Lawyer

    Everyone – and I mean everyone – at Cambridge has some sort of problem. Some of us are much better at hiding it than others, but deep down, we all know we’re a bit broken. Cambridge is a place for broken people.

  • cam grad

    I’ve been to two other unis other than Cambridge. Trust me when I say you get drinking society style posh ra-ra shallow arseholes in every one of them. I actually found it worse in other unis because they come with a side order of bitterness that oiky state school kids got into oxbridge when they didn’t. And if you think you’d be the big fish in a small pond there – probably not, actually. There are bright people everywhere.

    And you probably don’t realise this as an undergrad but the academic resources at Cam are luxurious in comparison to most other Unis. I remember the luxury of writing 2000 word essays of expansive ‘working out my ideas as I go’ essays and then being able to discuss them in supervisions. In other unis no one has time or the resources to actually talk to you, or to read weekly essays and discuss the ideas behind it. They will give you an assignment that it is possible for them to skim read and slap a grade on in under two minutes because they are chronically understaffed. And you will be lectured by people who know less about what they are lecturing on than you do after having read a couple of articles on the reading list, rather than the greatest minds in your field.

    Also, the reason people no longer bully nerds is because they are no longer 16. It’s not a function of being at Cambridge, it is a function of growing up. People don’t point and laugh at the swotty kid at Manchester either, nor do they pick on the gay kid, or the kid with braces. You’re pining for your schooldays: well I have news for you. No Uni in the world is like your school, and nowhere will you find people who behave like your mates back home. They probably only behave that way when they come back for holidays – at Uni they’ll be busy fitting in with their arsehole uni friends. Time to move on.

    • Chris Adcock

      Absolute bollocks, I’ve found a top notch group of jokers who fuck about just as much as my group of mates back home – and I love it.

  • Mixed Regrets

    It was really refreshing to read this article.

  • Wistful Grad

    Cambridge can be a bewildering place. Coming from a pretty standard school, it was a bit of a shock to find that roughly a fifth to a quarter of the people at my average sized college were Christian, in a dull, cloyingly nice and proselytising way. I genuinely didn’t think that was a thing, growing up in London. Not a great start. Then there’s the highly visible, sporty, boorish “big name” crowd. I had no interest in them and I’m sure they felt the same way about me, but it’s hard to feel like you fit in when essentially half the college is a bit repulsive. (Wait, wasn’t there a time when the most successful people were a bit awkward, brilliant, funny and intense instead of clever overachievers? The hangover from school is a long one.)

    I felt very lost in my first year and a half at Cambridge, but I came to see that my attitude was pretty polarising and had as much to do with my own insecurities as the inherent qualities of the drinking society set. I made up for things a bit in my third year, but it was my third year, and by then my closest friends were those I’d made in my first year. I love them to bits, but they’ll always be much more interested in regurgitating what they’ve just read, University Challenge and academic name dropping than I am. For one reason or another I never quite connected with people at Cambridge in the way I did with friends from home – the free-flowing, hilarious, ridiculous, intelligent (as opposed to clever) conversations were always a feature of my vacations, not term time.

    Part of me thinks I’d have been a lot happier and would now be a much more rounded person if I’d gone somewhere else, and spent more time pissing about and chasing girls than fretting over supervision essays. It’s possible to have a fantastic social life in Cambridge, but I don’t know if it’s the best place to be for people who are shy and a bit emotionally unintelligent.

    I came to realise that some of the loudest, most socially dominant and vaguely ridiculous people at Cambridge are the most emotionally damaged, though I couldn’t see that for a long time through the fug of my frustrated hopes for what Cambridge could be. Is that a consolation? I’m not quite sure.

    (By the way, however sociable you are, you lose about two thirds of the friends you make at Cambridge a couple of years out. It helps to have more when the cut comes.)

    • 2 cents

      I cannot believe that there is someone out there who has articulated exactly how I’ve felt throughout my degree so precisely. I spent two years telling myself there was something wrong with me and asking myself why I couldn’t connect to people, I even went to counselling and was told “it’s not you, it’s them” and I still refused to believe it because it just didn’t fit what I’d hoped Cambridge would be. I tried, I really tried for so long. I sat in groups surrounded by people who would speak over me or ignore me because they had “cleverer, wittier” things to say. I spent a lot of time crying and asking myself what I was doing wrong and why I couldn’t make friends. I had a fantastic friend group at home. I couldn’t understand why I couldn’t form that here. In the end it became so emotionally exhausting that I had to cut all ties with the group I was in because I couldn’t take the feeling of being surrounded by people and being alone. I kept my friendships with 2-3 people who had the ability to make both clever conversation and intelligent conversation and I moved on. It took another two years for me to reflect on the situation and realize that actually, it isn’t me at all that’s the problem. The dominant people at Cambridge really are the most emotionally damaged, the most starved for attention and the most self-absorbed. There are good people too, but sometimes you don’t get the chance to see them because they’re completely obscured by these other personalities. I’m not sure this is a problem that can be fixed, it is what it is. But it is incredibly relieving to hear that other people have experienced these things because for the longest time I couldn’t express why I was so unhappy here.

      • Wistful Grad

        Thanks so much for replying. It means a great deal to me. Your comment, others and to some extent this article have done a lot to challenge the feeling that I was the only one. It’s good to know I’m not alone in making the distinction between intelligent conversation and one-upmanship too. I went to counselling myself and talked about how much richer my home friendships were. I couldn’t make sense of that fact, given how much I’d grown as a person while at Cambridge. It’s just one of those things. I also ended up extricating myself from a close friendship with a dominant and very troubled person in my third year. I sometimes wonder what things would’ve been like had I found a decent circle of people I genuinely got on with. The good people were too invisible!

        • 2 cents

          Thank you for posting to begin with, you articulated something quite difficult very well. It’s funny that you should say that you extricated yourself from a close friendship in your third year because I had the exact same experience. I somehow managed to find myself in a close friendship which I’d go as far as saying was almost emotionally abusive. Said person had a wonderful way of making me feel appreciated and welcome and then flipping the switch and making me feel completely worthless and ignored. In one moment they described me as ‘their best friend, the only person who could understand them’ and in the next moment they would make an effort to ignore me when I was around and proceed to get our entire group to sit apart from me at any events we went to. I started to understand that my feelings were not important to this person who described themselves as “my best friend”. What was important was being accepted by the rest of the group, being “cool and clever”. It was a very difficult decision but extricating myself from that friendship was the best thing I ever did, even if said person followed this up with weeks and months of trying to vilify me and throwing tantrums any time anyone else from that group ever talked to me. I think that was when it sort of hit me that my idea of friendship was quite different to many other people here. I didn’t see it as some sort of competition and I didn’t really have the skills to be “clever” in conversation. It started to dawn on me that there wasn’t really something wrong with the way I went about forming friendships, that actually I wasn’t worthless and incapable of forming connections. Anyway, I’m sorry this is such a ramble, just helps getting this stuff out and maybe it’ll be useful to someone else. I now truly believe what my counsellor once told me, which is that she has had countless students and academics describe exactly these feelings and that it is really one of Cambridge’s best kept secrets.

  • Fortunate Fran

    I think the problem is not with the establishment… The things you describe are very shallow… and anyway, there is only so much we can blame on others. If you are pro-active, this place offers you so much more then anywhere else. Trust me. But it’s not going to fall into your lap, that’s avery immature attitude to have. This is one of the rare places you can do so many things OTHER then wasting your life on shit clubs. I would love to see you right another article when you’ve had a year or two in the real world.

  • Please

    Don’t come to Manchester.

  • Wrong reasons

    Having been to three unis including Cam and Oxf, and a russull group uni, I can say that Cam was by far the better generally. At least in terms of students, (though the staff, especially the non-academic staff, are horrid) but for the exact opposite reasons you give.

    Cam students I found were geekier and nicer generally,and the proportion of conservative cunts was lesser than in oxf or the other southern uni.

    I hate clubbing anyway, and prefer nicer quieter events.

    Students were also smarter and more interesting at Cam than in Ox and clearly more than those in the Russell Group uni which shall be unnamed- it sort of rhymes with thistle.

  • Fortunate Fran

    I think the problem is not with the establishment… The things you describe are very shallow… and anyway, there is only so much we can blame on others. If you are pro-active, this place offers you so much more then anywhere else. Trust me. But it’s not going to fall into your lap, that’s avery immature attitude to have. This is one of the rare places you can do so many things OTHER then wasting your life on shit clubs. I would love to see you right another article when you’ve had a year or two in the real world.

  • Lingling

    I’ve found the best way to deal with the tedious people here (and they’re not all tedious, but there are certainly very many hyper-intellectual dead boring types and lads’ lads) is to make friends outside the uni. As much as it may shock some Cambridge students, there is actually a population other than them, and making friends with non-students/ARU students will give you a breath of fresh air (for one thing they won’t be talking about work all the time.

    Plus, like some people have mentioned below, it’s good to have non-Cambridge friends because once you leave you’ll find a lot of them drift away. I think Easter term has only be bearable for me because I’ve gone on weekends away to visit friends in other places, as well as going to London for actually good nightlife. If trying to conform to the Cambridge hivemind is making you miserable, live in contrast to it.

  • Gary


  • I think

    this guy has gone about this the complete wrong way – referring to yourself as some gifted and talented social butterfly is a dick move as is the character assassination of people who haven’t done anything to harm you. But saying that I agree with your basic argument, Cambridge has got many many flaws and it is important to remember them. It is a ridiculously monolithic and enclosed structure that improves you academically but doesn’t encourage any independent or social development (swaps, not cooking for yourself, having cleaners, not having a job, making friends in a collegiate system that basically resembles a boarding school etc). There are also a very homogeneous type of people here – either public school types or the type of state school people that I personally struggle to differentiate between private types. And the nightclub thing isn’t just a joke, whilst there are loads of academic or sporty outlets, TURF supplies the only real variation to youth culture here.The importance of remembering these flaws is that SOME, not all, people who go here can easily go through their degree not mixing with anyone different to them and can get swept away by the arrogance which has become a, not entirely inaccurate, stereotype of people who go to camb. And the journey from private school common rooms to the higher echelons of society via such a enclosed system is not one that should be celebrated.

  • Cambridge reject at Manchester

    Fancy a swap?

  • kindofright

    i actually agree with you, and find a lot of people shallow etc. and like going home to the north to be with the “normal” people. But to be honest the resources in cambridge are better than anything else i will ever find, plus while “normal” people are in a minority, there are still enough people around the city as a whole to have a great time. and the people i find shallow probably think im a dick to, so its swings and roundabout really. the night life is shit, but who comes to cambridge for the nightlife anyway? if nightlife is what you want manchester would be much better

  • 2014 Fresher

    Is there any truth in this?

  • Man

    Manchester is as bad at times, people are vacuous everywhere. Until ingenuity and creativity are sought after in all career paths and higher education you will continue to find people who are essentially no more interesting than an encyclopedia as that is all that is required of them to progress. Fortunately with Manchester being a larger university with an entirely different culture there will be more people who are lively and talented but it still remains a case of who you meet and how you socialise.

  • KeepinItReal

    Any selective educational place is going to make you feel inferior: selective secondary schools do that (and I speak from experience). I know for a fact that there are plenty of people at Cambridge worth talking to; several people from my school went and you know what? They were some of the nicest people I have ever met. You have to be aware that no matter where you go you will come across some people you do like and some you don’t, learn to accept it and move on. If you’re only going to a handful of your lectures, no wonder you are struggling with grades. It is a common problem with people called ‘Gifted and talented’ that, having not needed to study earlier in the system, we get a nasty shock when we reach the point where the level of study we previously maintained is simply not enough. For me it was a-levels, perhaps for you it is university. It’s a matter of growing up.
    If you are trolling, you have my sincere congratulations for eliciting from me this insanely long rant. If you are not, grow up and learn to do things (like study, find out about how to prepare for your future and the like) for yourself. And seriously, if feeling average is really that traumatising for you, you need to rearrange your value system.

  • Louise Mensch

    It’s pretty sad that you got into Cambridge, but can’t spell ‘bear’. Of course, I went to Oxford :)

  • Leper

    I’d rather be a leper than a tab…

  • truth bearer

    so without resorting to putting down people who do well and like cambs i kinda agree with u. i think some people who are bright but want to have a life outside their subject tend to really struggle and end up feeling isolated and ‘different’ from everyone else. i honestly cant stand the place. i came into cambridge as a confident individual with my own interests and beliefs and found that being here has shattered my self-confidence, especially in social situations bcs ppl just seemed not interested in getting to know me and kinda judgemental. The few good friends i have made are great ppl but u see them like once every two weeks – after strenious effort to get them to plan u into their busy schedule. talking abt ‘schedules’ – this obsession with time and planning sucks out my spontaneity. currently researching subject courses at SOAS 😉 CAMBRIDGE ISNT ALWAYS WORTH IT guys, jst saying.

  • rtj1211

    You’re not the first mate. I joined Oxford Uni climbing club as a postdoc working in Oxford and one bloke I climbed with said similar things (albeit in much more gentle and refined langauge) and was about to transfer to Loughborough. That was 20 years ago. So it’s hardly novel.

    I made a great mistake of doing a gap year abroad, so when I turned up in Cambridge I thought I was going back to boarding school. Couldn’t believe it. I was half way between the real rich folks who spent more in a term than the rest of us did in 3 years, and the chip-on-their-shoulder state school boys from working class backgrounds who regarded you as ‘elitist’ because you’d been born middle class.

    I’m afraid Cambridge was always pretty open about only being interested in the top 10 folks in any subject in the country. They weren’t averse to receiving funds to educate 200 though, so 190 were merely cattle being fed up for corporate slaughter.

    I must say I’m surprised to hear you griping about not knowing what to do with your life when clearly you’re studying an arts degree which leaves you huge amounts of time to get down to the careers centre and start making some enquiries. Take American girlies on coach tours across Europe for a summer: you’ll probably get loads of tips and have fun with it. Do Camp America for a summer – American women lurve English accents and aren’t backward in telling you so. Work for Club 18 – 30 for a summer – bound to send you to inquitous dens of iniquity and you get paid for doing it!

    Cambridge is for the self-motivated and independent minded in my experience. Preferably with a public school background.

    Manchester does, I agree, have a far better night life than Cambridge, but that’s because it’s a city, not a town. It’s weather is also infinitely worse….

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  • Just stop

    I’m getting so tired of this Cambridge bashing everywhere. Uni is what you make of it. There are people from every single University who think that their Uni is shit and slag it off. All of these articles talking about pompous Cambridge drinking societies and Cambridge rugby ‘lads’, there’s exactly the same thing everywhere! It’s just the fact that everyone expects people who go to Cambridge to be ugly nerds with no friends and so they’re mocked 24/7.
    If you’re having a shit time at Uni, no matter where you are, it’s probably because you aren’t involving yourself in new things or trying anything that will enrich your time.
    People just need to stop slagging Cambridge off. Believe it or not, the friends I’ve made through my boyfriend at Cambridge are some of my favourite people.

  • Shaun Ryder

    Manchester Uni and the fallowfield area are alive and vibrant. Enjoy yourself.

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  • Billy BigBollocks

    Amen brother, I’ve been kicking around Cambridge for a couple of years and I’ve never been to a more dreary, pretentious and downright rude part of the country and I’ve lived in Welwyn Garden city. To tell you the truth I’m glad there is a place like Cambridge for these people to go hopefully most of them will stay here and not infect other more beautiful parts of the country.

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  • Edinburgh Medical Student

    Stopped taking your rant seriously when you said you got a 2:2. Looks to me like you just weren’t meant to be at Cambridge. Cambridge is not a party school, you seem to be looking for a good social life, well you chose the wrong school simple as that. Seeing as how you have a 2:2 i’m not surprised. I would love to talk to people about Uni Challenge, Politics, News and I would not enjoy 1 pound shots. Maybe we should switch places. You clearly chose the wrong school.

  • Sympathiser

    I totally understand how you’re feeling! Cambridge is the worst….and somehow I’ve managed to be here for six full years, and still have two more to go…. I completely understand everything you’re saying!

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  • seriously

    just leave then and let one of the thousands who actually want to be at Cambridge come instead…

  • You sound

    like exactly the kind of boring, whinging knob who perpetuates the kind of boring atmosphere you claim exists. Maybe it’s not them and is, in fact, you.

  • Guest

    Tired of hearing the same repetitive shitty Disney music? Want some proper cool vibes to pop lock and drop to??! Come to CREEM Cambride, every Sunday at Fez!

    You’re welcome.

  • Bored of the same old clubs??!

    Tired of hearing the same repetitive shitty Disney music? Want some proper cool vibes to pop lock and drop to??! Come to CREEM Cambride, every Sunday at Fez!

    You’re welcome.

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  • penis

    BOO fucking HOO, GTFO.

  • Spidey

    Go fuck yourself. “Boohoo, I’m at a super-privileged university that will benefit me over most other people while trying to get a job”. Suck it up, asshole – I wish I could have afforded to be in the position you are now. Unfortunately getting brilliant grades doesn’t equate to being middle-upper class.

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