The Tab’s Ultimate Cambridge A-Z, Part 1

I got 26 problems and Cambridge is every single one

| UPDATED A-Z Alcohol Cambridge cambridge freshers cambridge guide cambridge life Clubs Drinking Societies freshers guide Oxbridge Sex socials university

Naive Freshers. Second years who think they know how Cambridge works. Existential finalists. Has-beens who can’t let go. Supervisors who want to know why our essays aren’t as good as they could be. This guide is for you. Let’s raise a VK to our beloved Cambridge, one letter at a time.

A – A*A*A

Your bygone time of academic prestige in the classroom will be diluted down to the blandest of mediocrity, as you realise that asking a Cambridge student what they got at A-level is as predictable as a night at Fez: bland, unoriginal and gets you nowhere.

B – BNOC (Big Name on Campus)

The BNOC is an insufferable breed of Cantab found feeding of the validation of being known by their peers. It’s the pinnacle of social worth after climbing the many struts of the greasy Cambridge social ladder (citation needed). Whether you’re a Tab journo, Union hack, unashamed socialite or sporting hunk, BNOC stardom awaits the driven few.

Can you feel the fame? NB: has-beens pictured above

C – Cindies

I was going to rhyme this letter with Punts but it’s probably too early in term to lower the tone with such eye-rolling cliches. Cindies is Cambridge’s ancestral clubbing homeland, armed with VKs, music that’s so cheesy the dancing is mouldy and a smoking area so incestuous that Freud hangs out there on the reg. We’re so anti-establishment here at Cambridge that we still call the club Cindies, despite the neon “Ballare”  sign that greets you. A Wednesday to Cindies is what incompetence is to CUSU – inescapable from Cambridge life and indisputable entertainment.

They’re probably all raving to The Lion King theme

D – Drinking Societies

Cracking fun yet distinctly terrible.

For the ‘lads’: A not so pseudo misogynist? Fancy your face in the Daily Mail? Insecure because you were unpopular at public school and want to make a name for yourself through crazed alcohol consumption in a desperate search for social approval? Drinking societies will have you covered. You even get matching ties sometimes. It’s cute.

For the ‘chicas’: Adamant to prove that you’re fierce in your own right and yet can’t help running back to *insert generic rugby meathead here* every Wednesday Cindies? Feel the need to fill your snapchat story with every new filter that day? Want to brush it off the next day with phrases such as “I’m so over it” and “I only went as a joke”? Kuda Cambridge will even host your birthday party too wow – go social validation!

Do you even strawpedo?

E – Existentialism

Just Wikipedia it and pretend you know what you’re talking about for the next three years. If anyone asks, you only use the term ironically. Something about you being a small fish in a big pond – I don’t know – maybe you’re just kelp.

F – Freshers


G – Gardies

Gardies will become your post-club paradise. It’s greasy, shameful and delicious. You might even get lucky enough to get your picture on the wall. Can I get a hell yeh for the chicken kebabs?

So bad it’s good

H – Hill Colleges

Medwards, Fitz, Lucy Cav, St Ed’s and Churchill. These are the colleges going against the grain of the Hogwarts-esque cloisters and grand spires of the river colleges. Students at these colleges are more than likely one or more of the following: victims of the pool, post-grads, admirers of brutalist (read: horrible) architecture, girls who don’t want to live with boys, owners of ‘gap yah’ prints on their walls and general consumers of all things ‘wavey’. Oh and plot twist: all these colleges are on a hill.

I – Impending doom round every corner

Essay deadlines. All-nighters. Relationships. Lectures. Nights at Fez. Relentless feelings of inadequacy. Figuring out how your student budget is compatible with your skinny chai pumpkin spiced latte obsession.  It all gets a bit much here in Cambridge.

If only my face could become the upside down smile emoji

J – Jesus’ Cock

If you had naughty thoughts reading that then the power of Christ compels you. Puns about Jesus college are as terrible as they come (lol), so it didn’t help when students voted to repatriate a bronze cockerel to Nigeria following accusations of a “colonial narrative”.

K – King’s

King’s college is iconic, picturesque, and its chapel is our fall-back picture for pretty much any generic Cambridge article. Its sheer architectural glory is enough to hide the fact that the college has hall barely more than once a term, a communist flag, porters with stupid hats and a student body so left wing you’ll be happy when you’ve left yourself.

You can find Marx chilling in the bar on the reg

L – Life

Like Cindies, ‘Life’ is what students call Kuda Cambridge, the club-dungeon that can be found by following your nose. If you sniff out sweat, regret and shame on the way to your salmon nigiri at Itsu, then you’re in the right spot. Life is a not-so-glorified corridor with a half-arsed attempt at creating a club you can actually move in from beginning to end. Even taking a step outside to cool down will just greet you with the smoke of those who are still convinced their vintage Fila and Ralph Lauren caps don’t look anything but laughable. And nothing beats the out of context “I hate Life” comments that I’m sure you’ll all chuckle at.

M – Money

It’s that thing you won’t have.

Enjoy this? Of course you did. Part 2 coming later this week.