Everything you’re missing about your college right now

Roses are red, Churchill is made of bricks and I’m missing my weekly hashbrown fix

The prospect of Easter Term from home is nobody’s dream. Dreams of May Week, revising outside and trips to Granchester have been replaced with zoom supervisions, home workouts and attempting to become TikTok famous. Whilst being back at home does have its perks (no more circuit laundry until October is a dream come true), nothing quite beats the joys of living in college.  

Unnecessarily spending two hours in Hall every meal

The most exciting notification my phone ever received

Forget nights out and society meetings, hall was the bastillion of all social activity and I often found myself spending more time in hall than the college library. With few contact hours, days were structured around hall opening hours and oh how I miss regular meal times. The buzz when your phone would receive the long-awaited message “lunch at 12?” The eternal moral dilemma between chips or broccoli (I remain convinced Churchill has the best chips in the entirety of Cambridge). Spending hours at hall because new people kept coming in. The rush of love when someone would pour you a glass of water. Unfortunately, Mum’s stew and the same three topics of conversation at home just don’t hit the same. 

Communal cooking in tiny oven-less gyps

We weren’t smiling this much when we saw the piles of washing up | Photo credits: Katie Thacker

After you’ve spent two weeks in blissful happiness, swipe-swiping your camcard every time you’re at hall and making the expensive decision to opt for chips *and* broccoli, the bill comes through. Churchill is kind enough to send this at about 23:00 on a Sunday evening, so it’s often read on a hungover Monday morning after Sunday Life. You regroup with your friends, agree these spendthrift habits can’t continue and resolve to start cooking for yourself.

This involves a mass trip to Mainsbury’s to stock up on the essentials, six of you squeezing into the gyp with a “maximum four people” sign on the door, and invariably spending about two hours cooking pasta. You’ll inevitably cook too much or too little, eat it all cramped on the floor of someone’s room and spend ages washing up. Despite the best intentions you soon slip into your old habits and communal cooking is swiftly forgotten, until the next bill comes around.

The endlessly hyped up, but inevitably tragic bops

Don’t let this photo fool you: our bops are not nearly this busy normally | Photo credits: Jimmy Shixin Yu

Yes, about 10 people went to them, and yes, they once got portered at 11pm, but there was something uniting about bitching about how bad they were, and they could occasionally make half-decent pres. 

Squeezing 20+ people in a room for pres 

Is it even pres without LED lights? | Photo credits: Tom Booth

Better than half-decent, makeshift bop pres were actual pres. Begging your friend with LED lighting and a speaker to host. Arriving at nine with various assortments of alcohol and cramping 20 people in a tiny room to listen to ‘Supersonic’ as many times as possible before being portered by your neighbour. Immaculately measuring the exact time to leave college to get to the club and leaving en masse in your college puffers, journey juice in hand. Making it past the porters without being told off for noise was mission impossible, and everyone at pres making it out without someone passing out, falling over or checking their pidge was even harder.

The porters’ undying sarcasm when you lose your Camcard

Sadly this was an all too regular occurrence

Awkwardly visiting the porters’ lodge and having to admit yes, you’ve got locked out of your room for the third time this week, yes your Camcard isn’t much use to you there, and yes, you’ll return the replacement straight away. Jokes aside, the staff were the true heroes of college: from the lovely bedders who’d always ask you how you are, to the barman who called everyone “sir”. I even miss the maintenance guy who got to see me at varying levels of hungover/ essay crisis/ still asleep. 

The peculiarities of your uni room

Yes I miss my friends, but I miss my window seat more | Photo credits Raman Newton and Sophie Adams

From the huge desk where you could spread out your life’s work, to the kettle in your room which meant you were never 10 steps away from a cuppa. Not mention the heated window seat which gave you bragging rights to anyone from a different college. Whilst I’m grateful for my double bed at home, and not having a room which is permanently freezing, I would swap this in a nano-second for my precariously wobbly uni bed that made a sound every time I shifted my body weight, if I could be back in my uni room. We really took it for granted being in a room which wasn’t last redecorated when you were thirteen. 

The one seat in the college library which you’ve claimed as your own

Yes we were definitely always 110 per cent productive in the library | Photo credits Katie Thacker

Oh how I miss that one spot in the library where I could actually get work done. The right-hand seat of the second communal table on the first floor, facing the window, was my go-to-seat and the key to any productivity, resulting in feelings of panic if anyone was sat there. You miss this seat more than your friends, and blame the fact you spent all day on tiktok, rather than revising, on the loss of this seat. 

Getting ready to claim your Blue every time you participated in college sport

W2 how I miss you | Photo credits: Katie Thacker

Whether it was setting your heart on winning the prestigious mixed college netball match against the college 80 per cent of you were pooled from, or shouting “YEAH Churchill” on the Cam (or anytime you ever saw anyone from your crew), there’s a lot to miss about college sport. I miss being able to take hour long breaks from work to play netball atrociously, carb-loading on crew pasta nights and getting told off by yoga instructors for giggling with friends. We may still be allowed our daily state-mandated exercise, but it’s never quite the same as cycling back along jesus green in the afternoon sun with your friends.

Being constantly surrounded by people 24/7

Even starting to miss the stickiness of Fez at this point | Photo credits: Jed Asemota

There were just always people. Whether you fancied an early dinner, a coffee in the buttery, a trip to Mainsbury’s or a game of table tennis – there were always people around. I miss not being able to walk past my friend’s room without popping in for a chat, spending the entire wash cycle gossiping in the laundry room or scheduling extra time to get to lectures so I could talk to whoever was in the buttery. Whether you wanted an impromptu night out, or a late-night trip to the library, there were always people to join you, and a weekly zoom quiz just doesn’t hit the same. 

From bops to the buttery, college really was the centre of university life and I can’t wait to see it in the flesh, not just over a Minecraft sever, as soon as it is safe to do so.