A letter to my fresher self
Now I’m feeling a little older and wiser.
Hope you're feeling okay. Well, I know how you feel and okay isn't quite how I'd describe it. Going to any uni is daunting and arriving at Cambridge isn't any less so, especially when it's been your dream for so long. It's a mess of feelings; excitement, overwhelming happiness, homesickness and downright fear.
But ride this wave: you've got one hell of a year in front of you. No one can quite prepare you for Cambridge and to be honest I don't think you know what you have signed yourself up for. But don't stress: here you'll experience things you never thought you would and get absolutely mad opportunities.
Don't forget that self care is still important — and I'm not talking bubble baths and face masks. Never feel bad for dipping from the library early to catch up on Bake Off in your pyjamas: just because your friends are staying there ‘til 2am, it doesn't make you any much less of a hard worker. Same goes for dipping from a night out when you really just need to sleep. All Wednesday Cindies are the same, don't stress missing one if you feel ridiculously knackered.
Also, I hate to break it to you but you will change. Firstly you may ending up donning the Cambridge look, which pretty much consists of pretty ugly vintage clothes and going to bizarre nights out where it's completely common place to play All I Want for Christmas is You in June. You might have to re-evaluate just how many times it is acceptable to wear a pair of jeans before a wash and then actually figuring out how to use a washing machine. (Although my fresher self went to Emma so didn't really have to worry about that).
You'll go home at Christmas and realise you've picked up odd Cambridge terms as well as slang from your friends all over the country. Your accent might become 'posher' or may well be strengthened out of defiance in an act to show off your regional identity (I know, rich coming from someone from Essex). And you never know, you might just fall into the depths of the ADC or rowing, and never return.
Finally, you're going to meet some of the most cracking mates. Cambridge is full of people who will make you laugh non-stop, will teach you about all sorts of random things and will care for you in a way that's pretty unique to a uni experience. If I could give you one piece of advice, it's that your friends will come and don't be sad if you aren't college married in freshers’ week. You will find your people at Cambridge: it might take a while, but when you do they'll be the best friends you could have asked for.
Well, I've rambled on so I don't want to keep you much longer. Or spoil too many surprises. I'm almost jealous of all the fun you've got to come. Keep remembering you deserve to be here and it's all going to be okay.
Lots of love from your second year self, who feels a bit wiser but still can't quite comprehend what second year is going to bring.