I’m a Cambridge student who never does any work
She says after pulling an all-nighter
So Easter term has well and truly started: you’re eating cereal for dinner, your future is bleak and you’re not quite sure when the last time was that you changed your socks.
But at least you’re reunited with your friends and no longer alone in the bubble suffering from immense solitude. The back-to-school excitement isn’t quite the novelty it was when you were 10 and ready to show off your new trainers with the flashy lights, but it’s exciting nonetheless.
You even come up with a few anecdotes for your first post-holiday conversations to remind everyone of your dazzling wit (and because, quite frankly, after 5 weeks of limited social interaction, it’s best to take precautionary measures before diving into the deep end of informal, spontaneous conversation).
Before you get to test out your oft-practiced joke about what Girton and a refrigerator full of party hats have in common, you’re interrupted by the “God I’m so behind, I haven’t done any revision this holiday…” This is a cousin of the equally annoying in its creation of a false sense of security, otherwise known as “I’m completely unprepared for this supervision,” and the twin of everyone’s favourite “Oh, I only spent a few hours writing that essay, it’s absolute trash.”
Every time one of these phrases is uttered I imagine the Why the F*ck You Lyin’ Vine guy jumping out of some shrubbery/from behind the bookshelf/emerging from your en-suite and shimmying his way towards you with a full list of all the hours you spent hunched over a book and making notes this break (spoiler: the list is longer than the Wednesday Cindies line, and just as painful).
And it doesn’t just start in exam term. These lies are the automatic response of 9 in 10 Cambridge students to the ‘effort question’ all year round (statistics not based on real data). You text your supervision partner to see if they’ve made any headway on question 2. “I haven’t even looked at the reading list”, they message back while they colour-code their notes on the fifth research paper. “Oh I have no idea what’s going on in that chapter,” they answer with a snapchat, making sure to avoid capturing their open textbook covered in post-it notes.
Then boom, a few days later they’ve got a first and you’ve got a UTI.
And while modesty and humility are traits we should be encouraged to practice, it’s time to call bullshit on this whole ‘I never revise’ tripe. Because we’re all lying and it’s getting rather tedious.
We didn’t get to where we are today by not putting in the necessary hours. We know that the best way to succeed is through hard work and perseverance (and the occasional dubiously coloured energy drink banned in most other countries).
So why do we continue to pretend to be lazy? Why don’t we take pride in the hours we spend at the library or the sleepless nights we suffer slaving over an essay? Is it that our high standards and need for perfection mean we actually don’t believe the 6 or 8 hours we put in per day qualifies as ‘enough’ and would rather admit to having done nothing? Or do we just genuinely want to screw everyone over by claiming to be as unprepared as they are.
Take it from me, I’m a Land Economy student: I know what not doing any work looks like. And you’re all fakes.