Eight things that happen when you get into Cambridge
From second that fateful letter hit the doormat, you became the golden child of the family, but with this rare achievement comes a strangely predictable series of events.
1. Everyone is hugely proud of you
The second UCAS updates and announces that your place at Cambridge has been confirmed, everything changes.
Distant relatives appear out of nowhere to congratulate you. People who thought you were an idiot until yesterday have had a seemingly spontaneous change of heart. An aunt might awkwardly comment on your profile picture on Facebook, wishing you good luck from your cousins, uncle and their family dog. Altogether, everyone thinks you’ve done pretty well.
The problem is, you’re not so sure yourself.
2. But you’re convinced that there’s been some mistake
You can’t help but wonder if this whirlwind of attention is really deserved. After all, you stuttered your way through your interview and might have called John Donne a ‘top lad’, only for the joke to fall completely flat. Is this really what Cambridge is looking for?
Part of you thinks you should inform your college that they have made a grievous error, but should you reply to your acceptance letter with a crumpled sheet of A4, stained with juice and a crayon-scribbled “haha are you sure?”, or bluff and see how far it will get you?
Most of us choose the latter.
3. People think you’re smarter than you are
Now, friends and family are inexplicably intimidated by your apparently new-found intelligence. If you disagree with anyone they might simply throw in the towel and accept that you’re probably right, because you go to Cambridge. If you say something wrong, it is no longer a mistake, it is an interpretation.
This does have its advantages – namely, you now have a certain level of infallibility in debates. However, you are only one poor bluff away from the world realising that you are still a total wally.
And trust me, you are.
4. Meanwhile, you realise you’re thick
After filling in a form completely wrong, accidentally forgetting to attach part of it, and sending it to the wrong person, you can’t help but wonder how you’re going to manage to write a convincing essay every week.
If you don’t even know how to address your admissions tutor in an email, how will you cope with the struggles of daily life? Is it only a matter of time before you accidentally refer to one of your lecturers as ‘mum’?
5. You vow to get through your reading list, but don’t
Soon after results, you receive an email with a reading list attached. Sure, you think, I can read a few books. This will be alright.
The problem is that each book is minimum 600 pages long and costs minimum £50 on Amazon. Nonetheless, you take a few out at the library and tell yourself that you’re going to buckle down and get through the lot.
Of course, this doesn’t actually materialise, you just can’t seem to find the time.
6, However, you do a lot of reading on Facebook
In spite of this, you find plenty of time for social media. Between joining various Freshers’ Groups and adding about 20 friends daily, you have no shortage of energy for the big FB. In your mind, this is a great way to make friends before arriving in Cambridge. Of course, chances are, you’ll never speak to any of these people in real life.
Furthermore, you manage to alienate your friends by liking hundreds of Cambridge-related pages. At a certain point, the purpose behind the page doesn’t even matter – if the name contains ‘Cambridge’ or ‘CUSU’, that’s a good enough reason to give it the thumbs up.
7. You dare to feel a sense of achievement
Getting into Cambridge can be a goal in itself – and understandably, reaching that goal is pretty fulfilling. After the gruelling months of personal statements, interviews and revision, the feeling of relief and excitement in August is like nothing else.
In fact, it would be easy to forget that you’re actually going to have to work when you arrive at Cambridge.
8. But the real work is just about to start
This can all be totally thrilling, but the month and a half between getting in and going is the last of its kind for a while. The moment you matriculate, you’ll be thrown into non-stop work. If the reports of second years are anything to go by, all the preparation you’ve done thus far will be nothing but a raindrop in a workload the size of the Pacific.
So I suppose we might as well enjoy our last week of freedom while we can.