Cambridge First Year told in Disney Songs
A tale as old as time
Like a Disney film, the first year at Cambridge follows a predictable formula. Our protagonist, the humble fresher is still dewy eyed from A-level success when they are locked in a palace and forced through series of perilous challenges, only to emerge victorious (ish, hopefully) in the end at a fairy-tale ball.
A year at this university contains both the contrivance intended to create magic and wonder, as well as the same miraculously tolerated undercurrents of sexism and racism as one of Disney’s finest.
There is, however significantly less spontaneous bursting into song.
Most experiences are improved with a power ballad sung by cartoon animals so we’ve matched up the moments to the music.
“A Whole New World” – Alladin
Alladin and Jasmine’s magic carpet ride is an accurate parallel to the awe and possibility you felt at Matriculation dinner.
Your DoS took you aside with a twinkle in her wise eyes, and told you how all of the gubbins of this decedent world would be yours – starting with a sumptuous banquet of free food and wine. Everything looked very glittery and they were yet to throw books at you.
Akin to the glorious innocence before Jafar began to mess with shit.
“We’re all in this together” – High School Musical
Troy and Gabriella were actually singing about the sense of solidarity as all the Freshers descended on the library, ambition in their eyes and dreams of triple firsts in their hearts. You would later laugh at the panic you felt at that first essay ‘crisis’- which in reality meant nothing.
The supervisor inevitably hated the first piece of earnest thesaurus vomit you turned in, but was diplomatic and complimented your choice of font.
“Supercalifragilisticexpialidocious” – Mary Poppins
What all of the words looked like in all of the books on your reading list in the first half of Michaelmas. Sitting next to a dictionary was the only option.
“You Got a Friend in Me” – Toy Story
The point nearing the end of Michaelmas when you realised which of your new chums were going to be your long term friends, and were bound to one of them in the holy institution of college matrimony.
“Am I a man or a muppet” – The Muppets
The inevitable crisis of identity when you went home at Christmas and realised that, yes – you are still a total moron. Although the world now expected you to be clever, after a term of still having meals cooked for you and your room cleaned, very little of it this new intellectualism showed in day-to-day-life.
Your family were relieved to find the same fuckwit they dropped off with all the boxes in October, forever doomed to push doors which are clearly marked ‘pull’.
Kermit understands that knowing specialist stuff about academic stuff does not equate to having a decent amount of your shit together.
“The Circle of Life” – The Lion King
No article on Disney songs in Cambridge can exist without mentioning the cult around hearing this song played in Cindies. Our affection for the tune far surpasses how objectively enjoyable it is to listen to.
For the fresher, it is also a metaphor for the circles passing through this grand institution. Just as David Mitchel listened to it in Cindies (probably) and realised that it was powerfully lame but kind of loved it (probably) so will you my fellow nerd, and the generation of nerds after you (probably).
Even when you graduate and become a consultant of something for a faceless national corporation, you will always have this memory in common with your very successful peers. It’s the circle of life.
“You can fly” – Peter Pan
That point in Lent when you finally got into a work rhythm. You wrote your first essay which struck the balance between ‘good’ and ‘not requiring so much mental exertion that it may have been written in slimy tissue ripped from your brain.’
You felt like an intellectual gift sent from heaven to scale the grand mountain of human knowledge.
“The Bare Necessities” – The Jungle Book.
For some time around February when you realised that you would have to let some things go if you wanted to have enough sleep and a life around a degree and impressive-sounding extracurriculars. The jungle book was there to advocate relinquishing some of the fucks you used to give.
Suggested unnecessary worries included personal hygiene. By the end of Lent, most people had tested the limit of how long you can go without using a washing machine. Realistically, no one can tell if you’re wearing knickers as long as you have tights on.
Any attempt at cooking also went out the window by second term. A paw paw or a prickly pear started to sound pretty appealing. Or failing that, microwavable mac and cheese.
“Be Prepared”– The Lion King
“I know that your powers of retention are as wet as a warthog’s backside” – said my supervision report, and Scar. If the system which created exam term were personified into an animated lion, it would be Scar for sure.
“Zip-a-Dee-Doo-Dah” – Song of the South
Sunny and outdated, this is the cheery anthem of May Week. The lyrics don’t make sense but the general mood is one of mindless optimism – much like a week of champagne-filled celebration.
You drank away all of the education and it was wonderful.
Anything can be improved with a Disney reference. Anything.