In defence of being pooled
It doesn’t matter who fished you out, the main thing is you weren’t left to drown
Robinson College. It may be a brutalist red brick palace with over-priced accommodation, but they picked me from that pool and took me into their loving, red arms. For that I will always love them.
I never really expected to get into Cambridge, so I applied on a whim to King’s because, like every applicant, I was drawn in by the mix of beautiful architecture with left-wing socialist politics. I wasn’t going to get in anyway so I thought it best to apply to the place that most resembled Hogwarts.
Alas, when I opened my envelope on admissions day I was over the moon to see I had been pooled because I’d spent the night before having nightmares about seeing the words ‘REJECTION’ and going off the rails. Then, I crawled back to bed to reluctantly work on my English coursework.
A few hours later, the phone rang. This wasn’t like any telephone call. It resonated throughout the walls of my home majestically. Obviously I was too lazy to pick it up, but my mum soon ran in with an excited look on her face, proceeding then to shove the phone at me.
The man on the phone told me he was from Robinson College. I had no bloody clue what that was so quickly googled it. My heart sank a little bit when I saw it was a new college. Then I remembered reading on the student room help guide that Nick Clegg went there, so I despaired a little more.
But, the phone man offered me a place. What kind of stupid fool would I have been to reject an offer from Cambridge. “The college doesn’t matter,” we were always told. This isn’t true, some colleges have nicer people and others have more money or better rooms. Yet, I knew I had screwed up my interview so I was happy to be fished from the pool by anyone.
Being pooled doesn’t make you an idiot, the pooling system just allows people who weren’t trained so intensely throughout their school career on how to get in or those who may have been intimidated or plain unlucky during their interview to still be considered if they showed potential, rather than dismissing them.
At Robinson College, the land of the pooled, we have a reputation for being quite friendly. Maybe some of us could work harder but we do still get the same education. What is true is that most of us get our egos battered around a bit by the experience of being chucked into that cold pool and, as a result, (most) people lose any self-importance or pretence they had.
There is definitely a greater sense of community being slightly away from the centre, with people actually mixing between years. Luckily, being a modern college our heating ACTUALLY WORKS all year. Unlike all the old buildings, our resilient bricks will never burn down and yet they love us so much they are still obsessed with fire safety. Let’s not forget we are known to have the best food of all the colleges and, for some unknown reason, in 2008 the Daily Telegraph put us at NUMBER FIVE in the list of the 50 MOST INSPIRING BUILDINGS IN BRITAIN and far above King’s College Chapel. How is that for an accolade.
Furthermore, you will never be at risk of killing any tourists who are perpetually in your way because no one visits us, except the rare Chinese tourist who stumbles in lost and confused. In a way, it becomes a real benefit being at a modern college because they are infinitely more progressive. We can walk on the grass and our Latin prayers at formal last about two seconds.
Room balloting is done randomly. Despite not being glamorous, accommodation is standardised so no one is luxuriating in a huge apartment because they got a first, while everyone who got a 2:2 is stuck shivering in a dungeon. In Robinson, we all have the same ugly bluey green Aztec printed curtains and bed linen. At the end of the day, we’re at University, not staying at the Savoy.
Hip hip hooray for Robinson College, you fire-proof beauty, and to everyone of you fish who were picked out of that pool because we’re all stuck here now, pondering about how much cooler we’d be had we gone to Bristol.