SHIT COLLEGE: The central ones
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This is supremely tacky but it was very therapeutic to write all this. It’s more for us than the public interest. Read on if you still care. We’re not making you.
It’s easy to victimise the far away colleges. It takes far more daring to have a go at the central ones. But really, once you peel away the pretty exterior, you realise that, like Girton and all the far away colleges, they’re just a bit shit. Once you get over the nice buildings, you realise central Cambridge is basically just City preschool for a bunch of posh wankers having probably less fun than students at basically any other Russell Group uni.
As one Downing College student admitted on The Student Room, Downing is a glorified conference centre with a college attached. However much its students try to justify their double beds as totally necessary for the large amount of sex they’re having, ultimately it comes down to the fact that Downing has to double as a hotel for Gulf businessmen in the holidays. This veneer of being different is as superficial as the college’s “classical” architecture. Downing likes to tell us they’re the newest of the old and the oldest of the new. But no one gives a shit about their silly word games.
Gonville and Caius College
Caius has spent most of its 668-year lifespan caught in an uncomfortable threesome, straddled between Trinity and King’s. Always flailing in that awkward middle spot, Caius has never really amounted to anything: with its disastrous food, subpar grades and expensive rents. They don’t understand that even posters pimping out its beloved Hawking can’t save it from drowning in its own mediocrity. But far from being just boring and unnoteworthy, Caius is grumpy and detached, forcing its students into sobriety at formals with draconian restrictions. Fortunately, its revoltingly right wing student body, apparently set on taking John’s title as the “lad college”, are used to being neglected given their time in boarding school. While Freshers’ Week at Caius is all about making freshers chug vodka until they throw-up, term time is all about passing the port with CUCA (Cambridge University Conservative Association) who hold almost all their tragic “Port and Policy” events in the college. The master once complained that the second years’ dangerous drinking games could have “killed” the freshers. If only they had.
Jesus has a somewhat peculiar obsession with cock (now there’s a sentence we bet you thought you’d never read, or maybe not, maybe it explains everything…) There are bronze cocks, cocks on their logo, rooms full of model cocks, books about cocks, debating societies named after cocks – Jesus is basically the most bizarre compound of sexual innuendos and poultry since the year 2000 animated film Chicken Run. Despite its name, Jesus most certainly isn’t God’s gift to the earth. If it was, then it should have died for our sins by now. You never know, we can but live in hope.
As the last of the colleges to admit women, the only thing that made Magdalene sexy was the Wyverns, who are now basically defunct. Though there is formal hall every night, it’s definitely quantity over quality with repetitive dishes and a distinctly unpleasant smell. Also, being second in the Tompkins Table isn’t all it’s cracked up to be. Basically, when you’re small, poor and average, your DoS just overworks you to keep up. The bar makes Novi seem like a soulful buzzing haven of life and fun. It’s both small and shit. Desperate attempts to liven it up include buying a TV and ordering in a subsidised pizza once a week. Neither worked. I think it just boils down to the fact that you can’t polish a turd. And that’s what Magdalene really is. A small, overhyped turd on the wrong side of the river.
Peterhouse has really turned things around recently. With Bridget Kendall and all her BBC, liberal, LGBT+ baggage arriving in what was hitherto a haven of smoke-filled rooms and covert gay drinking societies, it seems that change is afoot. Change, that is, for probably the first time in its 732-year history – so don’t get your hopes up. Aside from predatory old men and Thatcherite student politicos, the question of who actually goes to Peterhouse is one many a Cantab struggles to answer. More than half the college seems to be composed entirely of historians, with a handful of NatSci and English students making up the rest. The only reason why people end up applying here is that a) they neglected to Google it and b) they bribe sixth-formers with a gigantic essay competition with gigantic prize money for these subjects each year. How else would they manage to persuade anyone to actually apply to spend three years in its two tiny courts, “famous” foundation-less tower block and even more famous deerless deer park?
The college is the most architecturally greedy of them all – it has at least one building from every century from the past 500 years, each more awkwardly built and unimpressive than the next. The bar is terrible, it’s too close to the punt guides, the Cripps building is ugly and unsubtle, the accommodation is tiny, the students are clingy and unextraordinary, and even Mathematical Bridge – the only thing Queens’ is any good for – is sinking. The only thing this college is Queen of is its own mediocrity.
Sidney Sussex College
The college is populated with people tacky enough to think it was a smart move to choose the college based on its proximity to Sainsbury’s. Aside from housing the head of a dictator (Oliver Cromwell), most people’s knowledge of Sidney is limited to May Week, when Sidney – a veritable garden party whore – opens its doors to every society under the sun to make up for the fact they own nothing and are nothing and are in fact a pawn of Trinity, to whom they pay £1 a year for the land on which they sit. Probably. Also, the bar is ugly as fuck.
St John’s College
With more signet rings than competent bedders, John’s boasts the very worst Cambridge has to offer. It’s hard deciding what’s worse between the snobbery of its silver service or the unapologetic rudeness of its porters. Not to mention the notorious insufferability of its oppressively misogynist, classist, racist “lad” culture – but all in the name of the #banterbus amirite? The library’s ill-stocked, the students are obnoxious, the hall puddings are terrible, the kitchen fixed charge keeps increasing, and it’s May Ball is more expensive than Trinity’s. I’d rather be at Oxford than St John’s.
Once you get over the obscene assets, there’s really nothing going for this central college, chucked together by Henry VIII from the remains of few shitty monasteries. The JCR is incompetent, the social scene is terrible and 90% of the population spend 80% of the day in their room. The college is dominated by foreign Trinmos who move in packs and are terrifying to speak to. The remaining 10% are all white, rich, snobbish, insufferably right wing and go hunting on the weekends. There are no normal people. The closest thing Trinity has to proper bops are its fire drills, when some of these 700 hermits actually come out in public.
Corpus Christi College
Corpus Christi is so insular it’s totally plausible that there are no students there. The only thing stopping John’s and Trinity from buying up the site to turn it into a conveniently sized central staff car park or second rate freshers’ accommodation is its medieval book collection, which is about as relevant to the real world as the students who inhabit this college. The only attention Corpus students get from the outside world is the stares of Japanese tourists who think there’s something interesting about a metal insect that tells the time. There isn’t.
Remember to take the advice of the Alternative Prospectus: “At the end of the day, everyone loves the College they end up at: as students guide you through their own experiences of their College, you’ll soon start to realise that every College and subject is ‘the best’.” It’s 100% true!