How NOT to be a functioning college family

Incest is not the best…

Cambridge University cambridge university freshers College college family Freshers

You’ve arrived in Cambridge all fresh-faced and eager and are suddenly bombarded with what appears to be an entirely different dialect.

If you’re woeful about how to wear your gown, lusting after a good night out that won’t be provided by Sunday Life, and wondering what the fuck a college family is, fear not. The Tab is here to help.

Fortunately for you, years of past college family experience and unfortunate stories have enabled us to domesticate how to (or perhaps, how NOT to) keep the family flame alive (HINT: do not sleep with your parents.)

Freud would have a field day…

Facebook Stalking 

You start with the simplest and most innocent of encounters: The Facebook stalk. You will have received over the summer a letter, likely featuring an embarrassing club photo of your new college parents beaming at you. To begin with you just want to see what they look like, maybe get a hint of what Cambridge life is like. But before too long you have accidentally liked a picture of them from six years ago on their ex-girlfriend’s profile and humiliated yourself way before the embarrassment of Freshers has even begun.


What harm can marrying your college brother do? You get along, everyone else is getting married, you need to find a spouse pronto. But unless you want a family tree more intertwined than that of the Royal Family, avoid at all costs. Before long you will find that not only your brother is your husband, but your mother and father are cousins, your college parents are lost lost relatives, and your poor children are traumatised.

If you want to avoid looking like unfortunate Charles II of Spain, try to keep it outside of the family…

Family dinner 

A college family dinner will likely be your first encounter with the culinary delights of Cambridge’s swap restaurants. Whether you experience the vomit inducing watery Curry King dinner, or the seedy side of Sesame, family dinner presents the perfect opportunity for embarrassment. Prepare to be pennied and down a bottle of wine: you will likely end up throwing up everything you eat anyway. But be aware – down your bottle only after fines have been completed, otherwise you may end up drinking and owning up to things you haven’t actually done (had sex in a theme park anyone?)


If anything is more taboo than intermarriage, it is incest. What may seem like harmless flirting across a bottle of vino has the potential to turn into a complicated web which even Greek mythologists would be ashamed of. Just think of the shame on your kids faces when you and your husband have to stand up to ‘who fucked within the family’? College incest is complicated enough.

Oedipus is judging you


Unlike a Kardashian marriage, college marriages are for life. Splitting up with your spouse two days into supposed matrimonial bliss can cause college chaos. Who is married to whom? Is there a long long line of ex wives trailing in an individual’s wake? Don’t get yourself a reputation as a fickle fiend.

At least Kimye can last

Therefore freshers, woo to your hearts content. Find your spouse and soon enough you will be having kids of your own, but remember: what happens in the family does not stay within the family: gossip spreads like wildfire.