Hard(y) Times: The struggles of being an English student at Cambridge

Medics, Engineers and Natscis, stop being a Dick(ens)

9am Cambridge easy English science sleeping subjects Tab university

A realistic look into a day in the life of an English student.

The night before – The struggle for Englings starts before the day even begins. With your ‘optional’ lectures not dictating when you start your day, you have the burden of choosing what time you wake up. It’s a tough life.

12:15pm – After having slept through your incredibly optimistic alarms, you are woken by your bedder asking if you actually have any contact hours. Any self-respecting English student would then launch into their “attendance at lectures isn’t obligatory and personally I prefer to do extra secondary reading” speech. The rest of us go back to sleep.

9am? What’s one of those?

1.00pm – Now that you’re dressed and ready for the day, you must make the difficult decision as to whether to eat breakfast or skip straight to lunch. I prefer to opt for lunch in hall: after all, with such a demanding degree, you need your energy.

2.00pm – En route to the library, you try to balance more books in your hands than there are rowers who promise you that ‘the morning starts really aren’t that bad!’  Who needs arm day at the gym when you study a literature degree, amirite?

LIT-erally drowning in your reading list

3:00pm – Supervision time. Feeling confident, you rant about the use of punctuation in Book I of Paradise Lost. Ten minutes later, your supervisor smiles meekly at you, and informs you that “that’s not a comma, that’s just a smudge on the page”. Fantastic.

4:59pm – In search of a Cambridge Companion, you head over to Sidgwick, making it to Eng Fac, just in time for last admissions. Well, that’s if you’re at a central college. If, like me, you’re from Homerton, you’re probably battling with the geese in Coe Fen and resign yourself to the fact that you’re just going to have to use online resources.

8:00pm – After a couple of hours of work, you decide that John Milton can wait, but the sesh can’t. You head to your room to start your makeup. If your excessive procrastination is going to lead to the inevitable failure of your degree, at least look good while you’re doing it.

10:30pm – You bump into your supervision partner in the Cindies queue and ask them about the poem you have to read before tomorrow. Then, they inform you that the poem is Faerie Queen and it’s 1248 pages long.

To bed, or not to bed?

10:35pm- Ready to pull an all-nighter, you head back to college, via Van of Life. Remember not to order any extra seasoning though, crying into your cheesy chips makes them salty enough!

2:30am- You’ve sobered up and assess your progress. Fifteen pages in three and a half hours. Reluctantly, you open your laptop and resort to Sparknotes, before heading to bed.

The struggles that the English tripos present are real, and I haven’t even started on the extracurriculars: it is a well-known fact that every English student must pledge their soul to the ADC at matriculation.

Life is tough for us – some days we are Rowling in work – but as with everything, you’ve just got to Shake(spare) it off and move on