Rushed off our feet…
LVJ reflects on the insanity of life in Cambridge.
The thing about Cambridge is that, love it or hate it, it’s really bloody busy. Englings aside of course, the daily grind of lectures, supervisions and practicals can take over everything. Its Week Four now – we’re on the crest of the infamous Week Five and its accompanying blues – and we’re all reaching that stage where the caffeine is on drip and you’ve lost most of the shiny new stationary you brought up in a pre-term flurry of good intentions. It’s also around about this time when friends from home start the barrage of angry texts and Facebook messages asking a) if you’re still alive and b) what is going on with that guy you’re hugging in all the photos.
You get to a point where a 15-minute nap is a daily necessity to prevent collapse and there have been so many near collisions between you, your bike and buses/cars/miscellaneous tourists that quite frankly you’re scared to cycle now. In other words, you make it to your supervision on time but your life, as a whole, is a mess. Broken files have been known to bring me to tears when it gets to this stage, whilst the only reminder that your bank account is not unlimited comes when the cash point flat out bluntly rejects you; let’s be honest, budget failed in Week Two.
Most of the time I have no idea what day of the week it is let alone what date. I am however, acutely aware that my latest essay was due in about three hours ago and the reading is still on my painfully large to-do list. We try so hard to be organised. We buy diaries, we colour co-ordinate our notes, we post-it until we can post-it no more but still, it’s the day to day tasks, the practical, boring, domestic routine of washing up and laundry and not locking yourself out that floors us. We’ve all been there: mid-essay crisis, third all nighter in a week and all of a sudden you catch sight of yourself in the mirror, realise you can’t remember when you last washed your hair. You’re sure it wasn’t that long ago but still, can’t pinpoint the exact date. Bad times.
Sainsbury’s is always an issue. You never realise you haven’t been shopping in way too long until all you’ve got left in the fridge smells a bit weird and you’ve been ‘borrowing’ your neighbours milk for the past 3 days. Cue emergency trip at 11pm when all the good stuff’s gone and the shop’s filled with drunken post-formal wrecks and a few other bleary eyed students in a similar state of despair to yourself. Hygiene standards drop. It not only becomes acceptable to wear underwear inside out but, if you’re brave and wearing very thick tights/trousers, to skip it altogether until you next make it to the washing machines. And even then you may fall at the final hurdle of washing powder and the right change.
We might be at Cambridge (dahling!), but even the very best of us, after a month of frantic running around, insane timetables and impossible reading lists are sleep-deprived, stressed and ever so slightly crazy messes. So children, next time you can’t find your uni card, or you find yourself turning up to a lecture still in your pyjama top, don’t feel ashamed or embarrassed. Embrace it; it’s all part of the Cambridge mentality. And that’s how we love it.