This article isn’t just some nostalgia trip
An unassuming rainy Saturday marked the end of a turbulent first year in the bridge for me.
The previous night had been an ode to many others from this year: drinking games and cheesy chips served up with a sense of finality. May week was drawing to a close, with only Corpus attempting to defy the inevitable and party on.
Hung-over packing and goodbyes throughout the day as college emptied made for a sorry time. Reflecting on the joys and horrors of this year, along with the memories stored in the strange yellow walls of Old South Court, didn’t alleviate these feelings.
A final photo in Front Court posted to Facebook with as much pseudophilosophy as I could manage before the familiar drive home.
Viewing the year through nostalgia’s forgiving lenses has been relatively easy. It’s always easy to dismiss the tears and the torment in favour of the sunshine and rainbows.
Despite all the trails and tribulations, I am genuinely sad to leave my second home and family (not just college, some actual friends who have somehow decided I’m not that weird).
And so The Cambridge Comedown begins. Capital letters and all.
No longer will I wander out around midday with only my neighbour to shout me to lectures; instead the excess time I spend in bed will result in a shouting match between me and my parents. I can’t even bribe them with chocolate.
Fez is no longer an ironic last resort, but the only option. The unrecognisable Fez Putney simply doesn’t do justice to the sweat covered walls and bad house which Creem forces onto our senses.
Leaving the bridge wasn’t easy but, as with the end of every term, made me question if I really am sad to be leaving. Cambridge is indubitably hard, and while Freshers’ week is the next event on the calendar, by week 5 in Michaelmas, I may very likely be thoroughly done with the whole thing. Leaving for 3 months this time seems different and daunting, though the rest is probably quite needed. If just a little excessive. (Seriously though, what am I meant to do for 12 or more weeks?)
Time which slipped so suddenly away at Christmas and Easter stretches out in front of me, with no hint of a gown or a buttery in sight. My friends beyond the wall will not be seen again until our real winter has come (so long as they avoid Hardhome).
The year composed of three short, eight week terms saps the strength of students and forces minds to turn to sleep as soon as the last lecturer has stopped droning on. We don’t have time, other than Freshers’ or May week, to really appreciate how wonderful our city can be or, indeed, the people who inhabit it. Even then we’re probably too hungover to venture out.
These regrets don’t get any better with time; although I’m beginning to adjust to life back home, reconnecting with a few friends that the hectic bubble lifestyle tried to rip from me.
Missing people you’re not going to see for ages is nothing new. Friends have buggered off to Australia before and, while I’m very sad that I don’t get to see them on a daily basis, or even known when I’m going to see them next, leaving Cambridge felt different.
Giving up living in close proximity to a bunch of people you’ve not only learnt to get along with, but are beginning to actively enjoy spending time with, doesn’t seem like cause for celebration. More painful still is the knowledge that you’re leaving not because you particularly want to, but because you have to.
It goes deeper than the simple landmarks and quirks of Cambridge which don’t exist in many home towns. It goes deeper than the regret of not getting into the last Cindies, of not being able to wander around beautiful colleges with a smug glance at paying tourists.
No, The Cambridge Comedown is a lament, a melancholy feeling (partly because I’ll be laughed at if I slip the word ‘melancholy’ into conversation back home). It is the feeling of not being able to continue with the good times, and the bad, which bridge life has given me this past year.
Many of the memories I’ve made are slowly beginning to fade, but their immediacy being passed doesn’t make them any less real or fantastic.
So, for now, The Cambridge Comedown is very real.