Conquering Cambridge Part 2

The second instalment of our 10-step guide to success in Cambridge.

ADC bumps Cambridge Cambridge University Corpus Playroom Footlights Oxford Rowing Sainsbury's Student Theatre UL Varsity

On Saturday, The Tab brought you the first installment of our 10-step guide to conquering Cambridge (click HERE if you missed out). Now to complete this stimulating voyage of discovery…

Rowing: in typical Cambridge style, the main sport of the university isn’t football, rugby or even hockey. If you happen to be wandering the streets of Cambridge at 6am, you can’t miss the hoards of rowers cycling down to the Cam, kitted out in skin-tight, lycra onesies.

Exciting stuff

There are several races in Michaelmas and Lent, the most prestigious of which is Bumps where, as far as we can make out, boats from different colleges line up along the river and try to crash into the boat in front. If they achieve this desirable feat, they are crowned with leaves from nearby bushes, like Greek generals and all.

Tab Tip: If you’re looking to get involved with rowing at your college, know what you’re letting yourself in for. Best leave this one to the early birds.

7. Libraries: there may unfortunately come a time when you actually have to knuckle down and pick up a book. When this fateful moment strikes, the peace and calm of the library beckons. Cambridge may not have the best university nightlife but we reckon it’s a strong contender for most libraries per student. Lucky us.

Every college has one (many of which are 24-hour…you always get the 4am library wanderers) and most subjects have their own library too. Then there’s the UL. With its suspiciously penis-shaped tower (choc-a-bloc full of porn, we hear), endless corridors and £25 fine which you supposedly receive if caught having sex within its grey walls, it truly is the zenith of Cambridge’s extensive library collection.

Tab Tip: If you’re easily distracted, we suggest you head over to the UL. Have a hunt around in the west wing for the ultimate secluded work spot.

A book bastion

8. Sainsbury’s: having introduced you to the place where you’ll be working, it’s now time to meet the place you’ll use to avoid them. You might wonder how a supermarket this small can be the company’s most lucrative in the country, but by the end of Freshers’ Week you’ll understand why. If you go during the day, you’ll bump into at least a few people you know, complete with college scarves and hoodies. If you go at 11pm, you’re more likely to bump into people dressed in tiger onesies on their way out.

Tab Tip: Every now and then, spare a few quid for the Big Issue guy outside the front door. If not, prepare to feel his wrath every time you enter.

The answer to all your snacking needs

 9. Varsity: this refers to any sports fixture between Cambridge and The Other Place (occasionally referred to as Oxford). The boat race is the most famous of these and incites many exclamations of GDBO (God Damn Bloody Oxford).

The term Varsity also refers to the Varsity Ski Trip. Every year, Oxford and Cambridge hit the slopes for a week of drinking, parties and the occasional skiing lesson at the end of Michaelmas. Not one to be missed, if you haven’t completely drained your student loan.

Tab Tip: Ski trip hopefuls; make sure you find out exactly when booking opens to have a chance of getting a ticket.

Val Thorens – home of the Varsity Ski Trip

10. Theatre: for budding thespians, Cambridge has a vibrant drama scene. Whether you aspire to be the next Ian McKellen or the next Borat (both Cambridge alumni), there are plenty of acting companies to get involved with.

Theatre types tend to congregate in the bar of the ADC, but there are other good theatres too, such as the Corpus Playroom. You can book tickets online or by phone and there are generally a few shows a day, all at student-friendly prices.

Tab Tip: Look out for posters around college and events on Facebook to get the latest on upcoming shows.

The chief nurse of England’s actors

So whether you’re a party animal who’s already exhausted the Cambridge club scene or a workaholic who can’t wait to hit the books, we hope we’ve provided you with the information you need to get by in Cambridge. Go forth and conquer, freshers.

And if you ever feel like writing for The Tab yourself, email [email protected]. No experience necessary!