Don’t waste your Cambridge time away

A guide to how to value and make the most of your ridiculously short and intense terms in Cambridge


Having just begun my second year and watched a new set of freshers matriculate, I can't help but think that I have literally blinked and one third of my time at Cambridge has already gone.

The Cambridge University lifestyle is definitely a race against time. There's always another essay or deadline to be racing to and the weeks just aren't long enough to pack everything in. The work seems endless right up to the vacations when everyone leaves and you find yourself miles away from all of your uni pals.

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Wholesome times in Lola's

The reality is that Cambridge is a lot to juggle and it can be easy to overlook really important things such as time for yourself and socialising with your friends . The contrast between the long summer vacation and the short, intense terms was a real shock to me. Suddenly I had masses of time on my hands but no longer had the luxury of being able to knock on friends' doors and hang out.

Looking back, first year was a blur and went far too quickly. Having come back after the longest summer of my life, I realise that, though I did learn a lot in an academic sense, what I really remember are all the fun times I spent socialising with friends, something which can be too easily neglected for long periods of time and which you can never make up for in full during May Week.

My advice to the freshers who have just arrived, and to anyone who is having difficulty balancing their academic work with time for themselves, is to essentially simply accept that not everything will be done to the absolute best of your ability and that that's okay. Sending in a not-so-perfect essay in order to go and spend time with your friends is necessary if you want to enjoy both sides of uni.

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Fun during Freshers' Week

I would also recommend taking how you choose to spend your time into your own hands and deciding which times in the week you are going to commit to studying and which parts are going to be time dedicated to taking care of yourself and socialising – both essential parts of your Cambridge experience, despite the work.

First years, looking back now I realise just how much time I really did have and regret all of the time I wasted when I could have been enjoying myself with my friends: don't make the same mistake.

We are all aware of just how short the terms are and, in the end, across the three years, we will actually only end up spending around a year and a half in Cambridge. So make the time count and don't forget to leave time for the things which truly matter to you.