My darling Girton, I’m not sure this is working

As gales continue, HANNAH ROSE writes an open letter to her beloved Girton

Cindies cold cold shoulder Far away freezing Fresher girton glacial heating hoth letter love Open radiator red brick

Dear Girty,

Look, you know I love you. I do, I really do. You were my college of choice, and your red-brick arches welcomed me with metaphorical open arms as a fresher.

Since then, I think I’ve done more than enough to prove my affection. I have the requisite Girton bike (and Girton leg muscles). I tell potential partners in Cindies my actual college instead of picking a less embarrassing one – “Yes, we are in Cambridge. Yes, we do speak English out there. What’s that? No, I’m afraid I’ve left my yak at home, just this once.”

I may also have, at multiple drunken points over the last couple of years, joined in with rousing choruses of We Are Girton (super Girton, no one likes us, WE DON’T CARE).

Back when things were simple, and warm

Back when things were simple, and warm

I’ve come a long way from that excited, bright-eyed fresher. I think we’ve had a good few years, you and I.

Not quite still in the honeymoon period, you know? But that’s how relationships work, isn’t it? I still call you ‘home’ – as in, “I’m going home to get into the foetal position and cry about those essays” – to friends from other colleges.

So what happened? Something’s changed. I’ve noticed recently that you seem to be giving me the cold shoulder. Summer term seems but a distant memory; the reception I got from your red brick halls this year was positively icy.

I didn’t think I’d signed on to spend Michaelmas term on the Cambridge equivalent of the planet Hoth.

Was it something I did? Or am I, as a jaded third-year, too long in the tooth to interest you anymore?

Perhaps you’ve decided to shark on the new crop of freshers instead.

There must be one with more attractive sleepwear than I have – onesies are de rigueur right now, my dear, and I’m currently rocking the dressing-gown-over-a-hoodie look in order to just sit in my room and work.

I always loved the way you smile

I always loved the way you smile

Or – terrible thought – is this something to do with the long-standing trend of undergraduate’s opinions (and welfare) simply not being taken very seriously by their colleges? I mean, who can forget the Caius Rent Rise Row, or the Great Newnham Fines Scandal?

No it couldn’t possibly be that, not my darling Girton. You wouldn’t do that to me.

Maybe word on the Facebook is right. Maybe the heating is starting to come back on, in some places anyway. But why then am I still beating a dead horse? It would be nice to have a bit (make that a lot) more transparency from the staff members in charge of turning the heating on.

More importantly to me, we still haven’t been told where the money college saved by leaving us cold is going. For me and many other students at Girton, paying to be here is a pressing issue.

Add that to the cost of keeping a heater running (last update is that we’ll still have to pay for those) through a bout of freshers’ flu, and the amount could get pretty substantial this term.

Girton my dear, relationships are all about communication. Proper, two-way communication, not just college administration brushing off student concerns. The tenancy agreement you sent round for us to sign? Very 50 Shades, darling – and not the good bits.

Doing the Walk of Shame through college has become a little more challenging given the Arctic conditions

Cheeky selfie

Quite frankly, I’m realistic about the extent to which the way in which college administration deals with students is likely to change after this.

However, I’ll gladly wear a parka in the dinner queue, or stand for extended periods over my heater in the morning (both of which I have done over the past week) if it means that Girton will at least get the message that students are dissatisfied with the way some things are run. And maybe, just maybe, future years might see some change.

Just don’t try and take my onesie.

All my love,