What I wish I knew in Fresher’s week

Run away as fast as you can

As exams begin to finish and the sun begins to set on my first year of Cambridge, I’ve learnt a great deal of things. 

Here are some that I wish I’d known as a sweet, naive fresher.

You’re not as clever as you think

Whilst you were once the cream of the crop at your school, you won’t be any more. Yes you might have got 3, 4 or 5 A*s at A-Level, but someone here will definitely have more than you, and it’s often difficult adapting to the fact that your intellect – something that you defined yourself upon before – is average, if not below average at Cambridge.

Ahh the good old days when you actually felt clever (but actually resembled a bloated tomato)

Everyone here seems to be good at everything

Sport blue, journalist, thesp, goes out three times a week, incredibly good looking, gets a 1st. I’m not describing myself, despite popular belief, but in fact the impression everybody else gives off.

…when actually they’re bluffing and everyone is in reality in a complete mess

It’s easy to feel like everyone is more successful than you, when in fact the vast majority don’t have any of their shit together and are completely making everything up as they go along. If you’re finding things hard, there’s a great chance that everyone else is too.

It takes time to work out what you’re doing

Don’t expect everything to fall into place immediately. After all, when you’re given an almost-impossible work schedule after a 3 day half-Fresher’s week with no preparation as to how to manage living independently, it’s bound to take time.

Over-worked student: coming soon to a library near you

Your college doesn’t actually matter

Yes, I was one of those people who came to the open day with a spreadsheet ranking every aspect of the college out of 10, but I was pooled to a college that I didn’t look around. Even though some colleges are bigger/richer/prettier/better located than others, everyone eventually learns to love their college for both its good and its bad qualities.

Everyone at Uni knows everything about every aspect of your life

Remember at school on Monday everyone knew Phoebe got with Jack at Nick’s 16th? Well, here everyone knows everyone and everyone knows everything. Is there anything worse than walking into a lecture knowing that everyone saw what you got up to last night? Yes, accidentally bumping into that person when buying milk in Sainsbury’s. But it’s a close call between the two.

I love waking up to cute messages from bae like this

John’s has lovely people in it

They’re not all rich trust-fund wankers

It’s okay to say no…

And not just to some sharky Fresher’s Rep #mems. Rather, it’s okay not to want to go out two or three nights a week. Know that if your friends are your true friends, they’ll understand if you want to simply stay in and watch Love Island.

…even though Cindies is a banging night out

Yes, they play the same songs in the same order every single time. But it’s far superior to Life in that you have the novelty of actually breathing oxygen instead of some sweaty drinking soc member’s vaporised sweat particles…

Gardies is better than Van of Life

Because of their popcorn chicken. End of debate.

Sharing a gyp with people is terrible

Is it sad that some of my most intimate moments in Cambridge have been when trying to navigate around the other person cooking on the induction hob in the gyp. Side note: why don’t people ever wash up?

Tbf I was taken to the cleaners on this one. Literally.

Facebook is the reason you’ll fail your degree

I mean, just look around the library now. Who is actually working?

You’ll miss having a bath more than you could possibly imagine

Ahh those days when you’d endured a Wednesday afternoon rugby lesson in sub-zero temperatures only to go back home with the knowledge that a nice warm bath awaited you. Except now when you’ve had a terrible, gruelling supervision and want nothing more than to chill, there’s a tiny, dribbling shower that your neighbour probably weed in the morning before. How relaxing.

Getting round the city is a nightmare

When travelling around Cambridge I often feel like most people’s passion for their degree: non-existent. Cycling over orgasm bridge isn’t the endorphin burst I’d once expected. Instead, it’s full of tourists who simply stand in the middle, unaware that bridges are designed to get people from one side to the other. Does Aviva do cycling insurance as well as driving insurance?

I don’t recognise this picture of Orgasm Bridge because it doesn’t have 40 thousand photo-taking tourists on it

Get college married fast

Or else you’ll be left the weird single uncle in the college family. Although not too fast, as marrying the first person you meet in freshers week often leads to an unhappy, broken marriage.

You don’t have to spend all day every day in the library

It’s okay to live like a normal human being and have days off. Sometimes I like to be REALLY rogue and actually explore the city I life in. Bizarre I know. Just make sure you don’t do that for all 8 weeks of Michaelmas or else your Easter hols will not be fun.

You’ll eventually get bored of your degree…

After maybe two weeks. Max.

… But applying to Cambridge is probably the best decision I ever made

Whereas school was very constricting, Cambridge is a place where you’re free to do whatever you want to do, and be whoever you want to be. It’s a place full of inevitable opportunities, and you’re surrounded by people who will go on to shape our future.

Even though at some times it’s the hardest thing in the world, at others, it’s the most fun and enjoyable place you could ever want to be. 

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