Why Cambridge is just like your hometown

For better or for worse…

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Although Cambridge has given us all crushing workloads and nervous breakdowns on unparalleled levels, it is much more like home than you’d expect.

Compared to a lot of universities, Cambridge students are babied to extreme levels. Here are some Cambridge things that make it seem exactly like back home.

College families

One of the biggest things we’ve retained from our lives at home is the whole idea of college families. Saying goodbye to one family, and in the same day being adopted by another, is something unheard of at many other universities. Thought you’d have your parents off your back for a good 8 weeks? Think again.

Having said that, becoming a parent and having fresher children of your own is a whole new level of responsibility. Although you probably shouldn’t take it as preparation for how to actually start a fully-functional family…

The bestest family ever

College families are definitely a great way to help you settle into life at Cambridge, and at least these parents won’t be waiting for you when you arrive back after a long night at Cindies. Although you might get a few judging looks from your porters, or hear them giggling at you after having seen that horrendous CCTV footage of you tripping and rolling around in chips from the Van of Life. Oh, the things they’ve seen.

Some Cambridge colleges even go the extra mile of getting a college cat, which definitely makes your college feel a lot more like home. Jesus even have a pet horse for those who are used to a more aristocratic setting.


The whole idea of having a ‘bedder’ is a strange one and definitely another one of those ‘Cambridge’ things. Having someone clean your room every week doesn’t exactly fit in with the whole idea of becoming an ‘independent adult’ away from home. All you need now is a voice recording of your mother telling you to get off your lazy behind and it’s like you never even left. Home sweet home.

At least you’ve got the college cat to love you

Even the name ‘bedder’ is reminiscent of those cruel mind tricks your parents like to play on you. The name itself would imply someone making your bed, and yet every morning you return from lectures to a room symbolic of your embarrassing incompetence.

In fact, bedders probably do a lot more for us than our parents ever would. Although they won’t give you an excruciating lecture when they take away last night’s glass bottles, the silent disapproving looks are probably enough to make you rethink your life choices.


Although it depends on your college, it is most likely that you have no access to any cooking facilities and that you’re completely at the whim of whatever they decide to cook up in hall. But you can always rely on the food’s consistency to have a weird consistency. Please hold your applause…

It’s quite insulting that your college doesn’t yet trust you enough to give you an oven or an induction hob which is actually capable of making water boil, but with trust comes responsibilities you’re just not ready for. Maybe we would become more mature if we actually had these facilities, but let’s not kid ourselves into thinking we’d survive more than a week before returning to the greasy mushrooms of Saturday brunch.

Even making coffee becomes nearly impossible…

Whatever your opinions on the quality of food in your college, the fact that people are employed to stop you from starving really removes the whole idea of fending for yourself and functioning as an adult.


Whether there was hardly any or it occurred every single day, family drama exists. And the whole concept of a collegiate system and college families really makes drama a big thing at Cambridge. Why do you think people choose to write for The Tab?

Whether it be your two siblings announcing their engagement, or a Brangelina-style college divorce, gossip spreads like wildfire. The drama of ‘fining’ at swaps and college family dinners is eerily reminiscent to those tense Christmas dinners when your poor granny goes a bit too far with the sherry.

Love it or hate it, drama is an essential part of a Cambridge degree and you’ve got to make sure you’re always on the right end of it.

When you’re permanently in a state of panic and mania, it’s nice to know that home is a lot closer than you might think. But maybe don’t start asking your bedder for motherly advice.