Why Lent is my favourite term

Lent term is a monster of modern times. It is big, fat and has a dissertation at the end of it. Some masochists amongst us have learned to love it, however…

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 Lent term is that term where most people hit the pan. They hire witch doctors, makes sandwiches out of Monster Munch to help them sleep, and cry into their cereals whilst reading Elly Booth on a Monday morning.

Other people, however, have more strength than this and are generally slightly better at life. Meet the troops clever enough to have learned to love Lent and be beguiled by the resulting tales of their success…

Patrick Brooks – Finally a chance to feel the pain

I love Lent term because it’s when Cambridge really starts to feel like the Cambridge I applied for, the Cambridge I’d been told about, the Cambridge of my dreams.

In Michaelmas everyone is just bizarrely fixated on getting drunk and having ‘fun’, or ‘socialising’. Even my DoS didn’t seem to take things as seriously as I’d hoped. “Oh, yeah do try to get involved in some theatre or something,” came around week 3 and I have still not quite recovered from the shock.

I didn’t come to Cambridge to enjoy myself, or broaden my ‘horizons’ etc. etc. ad nauseam. I came to Cambridge to work my fucking arse off, to be ground into the scorching mill of relentless study until I had to type up my essays because pulped brain tissue would dribble out of my ears onto the paper if I tried to write them by hand.

Lent is great because the bullshit is being wiped away and every bibliography I compile with my blood, sweat and tears of sheer academic effort brings me closer to that starred first. I no longer have to bother with awkward chitchat on the way to the buttery; the glint of panic in everyone’s eyes is enough to sate my interpersonal requirements.

Artist’s re-enactment of an awkard buttery conversation

If this is you at your worst, then your best must be pretty damn good…

Mollie Wintle – You’ve run out of excuses

This is the term when, finally, you’re on your own. Turning back a page to Michaelmas term, it seems implausible that we ever managed to feel lost, supported as we were by a sea of excuses. If you were a fresher you wobbled in, did your wobbling thing, handed in a tear-soaked essay and your supervisor thought yes, yes I too was once young and afraid and wrong, and that the first step into the ocean is the wettest, and that it’s always the quiet ones, isn’t it.

In exam term you drowned in excuses. Those exams were the reason you cried in the loos at the Maypole, why your left eye started to twitch in daylight and why you sometimes found it difficult to breathe. It didn’t matter that you were drinking more than the recommended amount of coffee  – there were 1200 lines of Plato you needed to somehow memorise in a night, and you were pretty sure it was actually your civil right.

But it’s Lent term now, and we’ve finally run dry. Today I handed in a 1400 word coursework essay subtitled: ‘Sorry Katarina, I think I lost my head on this essay.’ I’ve found myself, and she doesn’t have a head, and  in what other term could I say that?

No need to even go there…

Beth Swords – Lent teaches individuality

I think Lent is great because it has an ability to stand alone and yet have no defining features. I respect that in a term. It is vacuous from every angle you look at it and only really makes sense as a term when put with the two that bookend it. I see it as commendable that it seems to think it does not need a beacon at the end of the 8 weeks to keep us going. Michaelmas has Christmas, Easter has freedom and May Week but with Lent, once (/if) you’ve reached the end, you’re faced with more months of looming dread. It does not allow itself to be pigeonholed into the same predictable category of stick followed by carrot. Therefore, what Lent is asking you to do is to judge it for the then and now and not for how it ends. Novel from Lent, well done.

Lent teaches us the importance of doing your own thing. Lent doesn’t allow the merriment of other terms to dictate its own merriment. It makes you work for its happiness and this shows its individuality.

Well done, Lent! Look at you being all original!

The next time you feel lost and snowed under with work this Lent, just think of what the term has achieved in meeting you down the middle, turning you into curtains and telling you to do your thang.