Are you too Cambridge for Cambridge?
Being at Cambridge is great.
You can crawl in from Life or a swap at 3AM, knowing that it may well have been a terrible decision when you’ve got a 9AM, but you’re spared from the disapproving glances of your parents. And you’ll hate yourself the next day, but you’ll hate yourself a lot less than if you had to endure a lecture from family members.
In fact, the only reason that some of you were probably looking forward to going home at all was Christmas. Christmas? Never fear. Cambridge have their own substitute – Bridgemas. And what could be better than getting off your face in a ridiculously festive jumper?
As much as I love the independence here (or the ability to make awful life choices without judgment) I’m actually concerned about how much of a product of the bubble I have become in seven short weeks.
Too Cambridge for Cambridge, if you will.
And I know I’m far from the only one suffering from this syndrome. If you recognise in yourself any of the warning signs below, it’s time to get the hell out and GO HOME.
I seem to have forgotten that anywhere exists outside of Cambridge. I’ve gone from believing that the concept of the ‘Cambridge Bubble’ was a gross exaggeration, to complaining every time I have to walk further than All Saints’ Passage.
I occasionally remember Oxford’s existence, but only as ‘the Other Place’, and London when I’m hopelessly attempting to compile a CV for an internship. That’s a bit worrying – I’m not even from the South, I live in the Midlands, for God’s sake.
Old Buildings? Who Cares
The first time I walked through King’s, enjoying the feeling of showing my Cam card and beating the groups of tourists far too much, I naively proclaimed that I would never grow out of my admiration for the perfectly trimmed grass and cold stone.
Seven weeks in, and I’m too busy grumbling about the smattering of wet leaves on the bridge to even take in my surroundings. Sometimes I wish I could embrace my inner tourist and hold up grumpy undergrads hurrying to Sidgwick by feeling the need to document everything (literally, everything) with my phone.
But I just don’t care any more. Even Senate House Passage, which used to mystify me with its clean beauty, holds no appeal. Hopefully when I come back in January, I’ll see everything with fresh eyes.
I can’t wait to get home and realise that no one knows what on earth I’m talking about.
If you asked someone in the Midlands whether they’d accompany you to check your ‘pidge’ at the ‘plodge’, I’m pretty certain you’d be asking for a punch in the face. Also – everyone says ‘good shout’ here. I’m pretty sure I’d never used that expression in my life until I arrived in Cambridge.
Not sure that my pals at home will appreciate me saying “I don’t know, but it’s worth a punt.” Even if it is ironic.
I’m pretty sure this one is the same at every university, courtesy of hormonal teenagers/young adults living together in close communities.
When I first got here, the compulsion everyone had to ‘pull’ seemed bizarre. Now I accept the general consensus that a night out isn’t a good night out unless you’ve pulled.
Especially when it’s a view inadvertently endorsed by Pret. Who knew?
Or, caring a ridiculous amount about things that you never thought you’d care about.
Your degree isn’t going brilliantly. You’ve had at least one vaguely crap supervision (definitely) and suddenly it makes perfect sense to indulge in extracurriculars.
I only realise it’s a problem when I can’t commit to the Union, student journalism, being active in at least one political society, taking up debating and conquering the Cam drama scene all in one week. People don’t even do that in three years.
I’m definitely guilty of being over-competitive and over-ambitious. Seriously, it’s damaging. And I think Cambridge feeds this – it offers so much that you can easily be caught up in believing that you can achieve everything and take every opportunity.
I’ll certainly enjoy Bridgemas and the rest of term. But ultimately, I need to get out for a bit.
And you probably do, too.