We need to talk about second year blues

I miss my Fresher youth.

beating the blues cambridge freshers Cambridge University second year cambridge student Students University of Cambridge

We may have entered the twilight zone of Week 4 of Michaelmas but I am still far from ok with being a second year.

I hate to admit it but I miss my fresh-faced fresher youth. Gone are the days when I could go out more than twice a week. Now that the live-and-let-die vivacity of yesteryear is dead, things have got a whole lot more serious and I am not ok with it.

Whatever happened to the days of sleepily basking in the sun with the collected works of Shakespeare artfully positioned on the grass as a whimsical token gesture? Now I have alien things called “dissertations” and “portfolio essays” that apparently actually count towards my *degree*.

Back in the days of carefully studying cocktail menus.

Back in the glory days of carefully studying cocktail menus.

Much to my amazement, I have discovered that although I am paying £9000 a year for two contact hours a week, I am actually expected to put in more than two hours of work a day rather than living in perpetual lie-in land in a hungover haze of smug glory as the wearied NatSci makes a desperate dash to wherever it is that they flee to during the daylight hours.

The pretentious gravitas surrounding work (“I am a Cambridge student ergo I must be masochistic at all times and work myself to the ground”) I could just about live with. Yet, YET, the attack upon my social life is one blow too far.

Freshers’ Week started strong with reasonable participation in all social events from all friends. I was optimistic, nay even quietly confidently of defeating the dreaded second year fatigue. I revelled in the return of fresher fun.

The nostalgic May Ball throwbacks are now almost vintage.

The nostalgic May Ball throwbacks are no more than vintage, distant memories at this point tbh.

A mere week later it began. Steadily and horrifyingly it dawned on me that this single week was a final funereal farewell booze-up to last year’s all too short-lived carefree frolics. My fresher days were long gone.

Despite increasingly militant and desperate efforts to organise nights out, I was met with a terrifying wall of sobriety with feeble excuses of “I’m too tired”, “I think I might have a sober week” (!) and “I can’t- I have 9ams”. We all have heavy work schedules but that isn’t to say that we must deprive ourselves of every last enjoyable morsel of normal student life.

A lot of things about being a fresher I definitely don’t miss – the terror which would seize you upon each supervision, the awkward stages of figuring out who your friends were, the feverish essay marathons and the baffling disorientation of the Cambridge bubble as a whole – but I am going to put it out there and admit, I almost wish I was still a fresher.

Our smiles and souls have been sucked away by second year

Our smiles and souls have been swept away by second year. RIP.

I remember meeting the comment from a wearied second year of “You just get to the point where you just can’t be bothered with going out anymore” with facetious disbelief as a fresher. So the revelation that now, a year on, I actually secretly want to bury myself under my duvet and watch GBBO rather than tackle the writhing throngs of sweaty bodies in Cindies proved a tragically inevitable but soul-destroying realisation.

Now a night out is a HUGE event; an ordeal which we all have to mentally and physically have to psyche ourselves up towards all week as if in rigorous training for a marathon. I am ashamed to admit that my resistance to the powerful lure of “the quiet night in” is gradually being beaten down by the insistent tide of second year stupor.

The second year curse of weather-beaten cynicism, apparently, comes to us all.