How to slow down time in Cambridge
Lent Term is almost at an end, and it really puts into context how much time we actually have left in this amazing city.
Some of us can’t wait to break free from the Cambridge bubble, but for those of you who want to savour every last moment, here are some things you can do to make time slow down in Cambridge.
Don’t settle down just yet
One of the biggest peculiarities about Cambridge is the idea of ‘college families’, which are really useful in helping you settle into the Cambridge bubble, but after just a few weeks into first term you’ll find yourself happily (or not) settled down into your own college marriage. Soon enough you’ll be having little fresher children of your own, and wondering where your teenage years disappeared to.
Week 5 blues suddenly start to seem a lot more like a never-ending series of mid-life crises, questioning why you ever decided to put yourself through the perpetual torture that is a Cambridge degree.
If you rush straight into a college marriage and start planning having college children immediately, you will definitely begin to feel a sense of commitment which makes you feel that half your life is over before even making it to second term. But then again, getting completely smashed at college family socials can definitely give you a warped sense of time.
Take a break
Time is definitely not on your side when you find yourself spending every waking hour worrying about deadlines and trying to fit as many essays as you can into one day. Maybe the biggest paradox about Cambridge is feeling like there are not enough hours in the day to get through all the work you have to do, while at the same time feeling time drag on so incredibly slowly.
Maybe the best way to beat Cambridge’s twisted time scale is getting away from your desk and seeing as much of the city’s calmest spots as possible. I don’t just mean a walk along the Backs or through King’s, but really trying to get away from it all just for a day. Why not take a cycle to Grantchester Meadows? Or a stroll through Cambridge’s botanical gardens?
You might not be completely out of the Cambridge bubble, but being surrounded by greenery and can make a lovely change from the ugliness of your mountain of work. Believe it or not, time goes a lot more slowly when you’re not in perpetual breakdown mode.
Never submit to adulthood
We see it everywhere: students in debating societies who already think they’re the prime minister, Tab journalists who already think they’re Rupert Murdoch and, of course, BNOCs who already think they’re the next Brangelina power couple. Why not just enjoy being a student while it lasts?
The good (and sometimes bad) thing about the Cambridge bubble is that you’re completely isolated from the realities of everyday life. Don’t try to live your life too soon, and you’ll find that your time at Cambridge will last a lot longer. Finding a work-life ‘balance’ is hard enough as it is.
Join the resistance
In the Cambridge bubble time is not regulated by the orbit of the Earth as you might expect, but instead by the Cambridge timelords who like to mess with our heads by making weeks start on Thursdays and having 8 week terms which go all too quickly.
There has been a lot of pressure on the University to follow the example of many other universities across the country by setting up a ‘reading week’ in the middle of term. A week in Cambridge without supervisions, lectures or deadlines could be a blessing for anyone wanting to enjoy every last drop of the Cambridge experience.
Maybe it’s considered wishful thinking to try and change the way Cambridge terms work… The thought of making Cambridge just a little more normal may always remain a pointless exercise. But at least getting involved can be a good way to really make the most of the time you have here.
Try to take everything you can from your time at Cambridge. Let the holidays remind you how much you love this place and how much you’ll miss it when it’s gone for good. Yes, even the pain.