Cambridge has turned me into a grumpy old man
Because Scrooge is for life, not just for Christmas
If Cambridge had a superpower, it would not be super intelligence or extreme mind manipulation as you might expect, but instead I like to think of Cambridge as a Midas-gone-wrong who ages everything it touches.
Whether it be that port you had at formal last night, or that one supervisor going grey over totally subpar essays, Cambridge has a tendency to just make things old.
They see me rollin’
Waving goodbye to our parents at the beginning of our first Michaelmas term, most of us were wondering how we were ever going to cope with the realities of adult life. Little did you know that they would be back at the end of term to wheel you out of Cambridge on a stretcher.
Maybe we just adopt the combined ages of our parents to compensate for them not actually being there. If only we actually got some of their sanity, too.
Probably the biggest thing you’ll have to show for your (albeit marginal) progress at the end of a Cambridge term is upgrading from a bike to a mobility scooter. At least it’ll make those journeys to Sidgwick a little less harrowing.
Shop till you drop
We’ve all heard the stories about how adult we feel when prancing around Sainsbury’s with avocadoes and quinoa in our baskets, but this becomes a completely different experience for a prematurely-aged fresher like myself.
Walking around the aisles, you are constantly grumbling about how your favourite chocolate biscuits are no longer on offer, or about having to substitute Yorkshire Tea for PG Tips.
Such is the level of stress that you go wild on the drowsy cough syrup and wile away your evenings, probably watching terrible soap operas, wondering where it all went wrong.
Because your recent hip replacement and cracking knees mean clubbing is off the table, you decide to have a quiet night in with a bottle of wine. You get to the self-checkout machine, thinking you have this all under control, but in typical OAP fashion actually end up forgetting your PIN and deactivating your card. Make that two bottles.
Most of us will be able to relate to the crushing pressures of a Cambridge workload, but one of the biggest traits of being a grumpy, bitter octogenarian is complaining about literally everything, whether it be work-related or not.
The prospect of having a quiet drink with friends in Spoons is no longer a possibility, because they now consist of wine-induced existential crises about how a Cambridge degree is only a distraction from our inevitable death. Morbid, I know, but at least now you don’t have to worry about that Third you got last week.
Determined to keep running (read: hobbling) away from your problems, you decide to push your pace maker to the limit and hope Life lives up to its namesake by adding a pinch of vitality to your worn-out soul. Turns out that you actually just end up complaining about the price of Jägerbombs and belting out Neil Diamond and Bon Jovi at the top of your lungs.
‘Shot through the heart’ is the only way to accurately describe your reaction to the drinks menu. Or maybe it’s just a literal description of all the Russian Standard pumping around your aorta.
The end is nigh
When your first haircut in Cambridge involves being asked why you have so many grey hairs, you know your first term didn’t go exactly as planned.
Suddenly it feels like every chapel bell has become much more sinister and mocking in tone.
And all those days spent endlessly running around from lectures to supervisions can really mess up your tired and weary bones. Walking time could be at least halved if Cambridge grass weren’t guarded as heavily as Fort Knox.
If you do feel like Cambridge is slowly turning you into an old man or woman, don’t worry! In a place where tweed and walking canes are the norm, you’ll fit right in to daily life.
Besides, with increasing tuition fees it looks like Cambridge will stay with us until the grave anyway.