Why Cambridge students shouldn’t lose sight of how lucky we are
We did that.
It’s Easter term, the evening before my psychology exam. I’ve been sat on the top floor of the library all day, a highly caffeinated anxious mess, knowing how unprepared I am for the paper that looms in the morning.
I look out of the window, and the sun is just beginning to set over the gleaming spires of Emmanuel College front court. I can’t focus on my work anymore, because all I can think of is how beautiful this place is. So I leave my laptop and my books where they are, and I go for a long walk.
I head past Downing site towards the Mathematical Bridge, and I stop outside Queens' for a moment. Then I walk around the backs and towards Trinity College. I head through their side gate, since I know the miserable porters won’t let me through the main grounds, and make my way towards Market Square. Then I walk up Trumpington Street, and just stare at King’s Chapel the whole time.
I’d perfected this walk – my own personal tour of my favourite Cambridge sites. I’d often walk it when I was stressed, or when I needed reminding what it was all for.
Of all the crazy, amazing things that Cambridge has to offer, these quiet moments between me and the city are my favourite, as they help to ground these insane three years that I’m racing through.
It helps me to remember just how lucky I am to have achieved this dream, and how far I’ve come. It brings back my favourite memories of the wonderful things I’ve done and the amazing people I’ve met. And it helps me to never lose sight of that awestruck 17 year old that fell in love with Cambridge when he first visited two years ago.
The terms here are pretty damn intense. It can be incredibly easy to get caught up in our supervisions, exams, Students' Union, nights out, sports societies, and whatever else might keep us busy, until suddenly another term has flown by, and then maybe another year, and soon what is likely the most important three years of your life is over. So I always have to make a special effort to truly live in every moment I’m fortunate to have this opportunity.
It can be hard to make Cambridge feel like a home sometimes. Some of us feel like we don’t belong due to a variety of social factors, and some of us will inevitably have bad memories of our time at uni.
But at the same time, we are all so lucky to have made it, and if this was once a dream for you like it was for me, there’s nothing more rewarding than reminding yourself that you did it, and now you get to live in the place that once seemed so far off.
I know that in 10 years time I’ll look back and wish I was here, and I don’t want to take a second of that for granted. So my advice for freshers is to hold on to their awe, wonder and love for that dream that they’ve accomplished.
I made my little walk around the town centre the day I left at the end of Easter term, the evening I visited in July, and the day I arrived back in September.
I’ll make that walk when I’m stressed, when I’m lonely, when I’m happy, and when I’m just bored, because I never want to forget how lucky I am to be here.