Everyone at Cambridge is a fucking gossip

And you are, too.

Cambridge University cantabs gossip High School mean girls Sex Students

Forget – as this fresher has – your preconceived,  jumped-up notions about Cambridge. You thought you were moving beyond the tyranny that is secondary school gossip, right? Thought, we’re all adults now, did you? Thought everyone would be too busy solving unsolvable equations and reading Camus to indulge in that nonsense?

Wrong. The glorified boarding school that Cambridge is, it really should be no surprise that gossip here is the air we breathe.

It’s all around us, from our backgrounds – especially if there’s any personal tragedy or trauma since every Cantab loves a chance to judge and pity at the same time – to our indiscretions (*cough* you know who you are if you chundered after the first bop, and so does the entirety of your course). And, of course, the biggie: who’s fucking/ bonking/ shagging/sex-cuddling who.

Now I can’t deny I do love a bit of gossip – it’s a guilty pleasure, like most decent pleasures are. But here it’s relentless. Have you noticed that the turn of phrase ‘gossip is currency’ doesn’t apply? Gossip isn’t currency; it’s the lifeblood of Cambridge student life.

And we’re going to have to get used to that.

The NSA would get the job done a lot faster if they set up shop here…

The NSA would get the job done a lot faster if they set up shop here…

What is it about this 800 year old university, one that has produced the likes of Newton, Darwin and Hawking, that means every single person here has a desire to know, judge and most importantly publish every aspect of your life? In a phone call, constituting ‘getting a comment’ for this virgin columnist, a friend at UCL said “you guys care? In fresher’s here everyone was like ‘oh I’ve just slept with 5 different people in 4 nights, done acid and I threw up on guy number 3’s pillow’ and we went ‘cool’”. Maybe it’s the collegiate system, the extended childhood, the sense that everything people do here is desperately important. My HSPS-addled mind would also go so far as to say it’s a “social construct”.

Regardless of its illustrious origins; gossip is alive and well in Cambridge and we have to learn how to deal with it.

Advice for my comrades who have been, are being or will be gossiped about: I can entirely recommend the open book policy. Take no shame, relish in who you are, and if someone says they didn’t see you come home, throw your head back, laugh and say “yes my friends, I spent the night at Sidney Sussex spooning a rather nice Historian”. Feed the gossip monster. Even if you were secretly just camped out in the library, it’ll give us something tantalising to discuss tomorrow at lectures.

Put those bins outside your room at nine in the morning; let the whole world know what’s going on in there! It’s not a bin-location of shame, but a bin-location of pride: flaunt your slightly rumpled formal dress, gown casually flung over your shoulder and mismatched socks as you cavort across the quad.

This is no bin of shame – but a bin of glory! Share it with your neighbours.

This is no bin of shame – but a bin of glory! Share it with your neighbours.

More importantly, a wee bit of fresher-ly advice for the gossipers: don’t be a dick about it. Cliques formed after two days of knowing each other, closed chats, and sharing photos of people getting off with each other at Cindies is not going to make you any more popular with the people that you have to live and work with for the next 3 or 4 years. Classing one person as a ‘Loss’ and another as a ‘Win’, will win you no credibility and lose you your recently gained respect. Don’t do it friends, just don’t.

If we’re honest with ourselves, we’re all fairly boring people. It took this freshly-hatched fresher by surprise to realise that ‘got with’ only constituted kissing. We spend our days in the library, go out to crappy clubs, and go to bed only to wake up to find the most inane information about ourselves the most interesting, and divisive thing that’s happened since sliced bread became POTUS last week.

Your writer; scandalously papped in their new home – the library at 7 am

Your writer scandalously papped in their new home: the library at 7 am

We can’t escape gossip, and we definitely shouldn’t stop doing the things that get us gossiped about (that’s just letting them win, right?). We can escape from being babies who gossip in a mean way (isn’t that what we left behind in Milton Keynes, Norwich and Guildford?) and embrace, whole-heartedly, the bizarrely quaint interest we all have in each other.

And we can also stop thinking of ourselves as the editors of ‘Hello’, with our classmates each equating a fairly mundane but publishable portion of Kim Kardashian’s bum.

Don’t be a dick, have some pride in your naughty behaviour and I think we’re all going to have a cracking few years.