How to DIY a Cambridge term from the comfort of your home

Stick a picture of your DoS on your bedroom wall…

As term starts, we’re all beginning to realise not having the hustle and bustle, and general madness of Cambridge is really starting to impact on our work, as well as making us miss our friends and the weird traditions we’ve become accustomed to.

Here are some methods to generate that classic Cambridge experience – both the fun and the pain – from the comfort of your own home, to try to get back into the swing of working (and stop you getting all emotional every time you have an online supervision).

Ring up a Natsci

A good method to psych yourself up to working as you lie there in your pyjamas watching Peep Show for the fifth time, over eating Creme Eggs and wondering when the last time you had a shower was, is to ring up a Natsci friend and ask them how their week has been. Soon you will find that they are actually keeping up quite a high level of motivation that you are not, causing a cloud of shame to force you back to your desk, just like in normal Cambridge.

Create a Zoom Ballot

Missing social drama causing so much stress that you find yourself burying your head in your workload? A way to simulate this in self-isolation would be to gather your friendship group, and pick your top five to call regularly on Zoom and exclude all the others, causing as much social disturbance as the room ballot. Fretting over it will definitely inspire you to return to work.

You can’t Skype with us

Eat microwave meals in your gown

Want to taste something expensive and vaguely disappointing while feeling fancy? Microwave meals are most definitely the answer. Would recommend sitting at your kitchen table in your pyjamas eating it while repeatedly staring at your phone under the table (it always feels more exciting to do this in formal hall). You will become gradually so bored and disappointed by the end of the meal you’ll want to get straight back to working just to feel like you’ve not wasted your day!

Stick a picture of your DoS on your bedroom wall

Just like when you see them walking around college, seeing your DoS unexpectedly will lead to feelings of sudden motivation, so as not to let them down, or more importantly, be told off in that end-of-term meeting again…

Stand outside at 1am and eat chips

We all know that feeling we get at 1am. Eating chips from the Van of Life as the alcohol is wearing off, we remember that supervision we have in less than 12 hours that we’re yet to do the work for. We become filled with a sense of dread and regret, causing ourselves to slump back to our rooms and vow this will never happen again. You will be responsible now. You are an adult. Soon you find yourself completing assignments with a fuel of determination, sending things off in time, and feeling proud. That is, until the next Wednesday Cindies comes along…

Only sort of freezing…

Turn your Wi-Fi on and off 

I always find it’s when I want to work that Eduroam decides to abandon me – although since this causes me to work on paper with no distractions from the internet, it can occasionally be a good thing. I’m so in the zone once it comes back again, I fly through that essay. In a weird way, the system kinda works (although maybe not when the deadline is five minutes away and you can’t send it).

Get creative with language

Just like in term time, put the affix “Cam” or “Bridge” every few words or so, feeling a little pretentious but still enjoying every time you say it. “Mum, turn on the Camkettle, I want some teabridge”. Soon you will have so many out-of-body moments asking if these words are actually coming out of your mouth that you get a strange impostor syndrome over whether you’re worthy of doing this. Do I actually deserve to remind myself I go to Cambridge? Am I meant to be there in the first place? Why is everyone so annoyed I keep saying “Cambridge” over and over? Hopefully, if you generate this thought process whenever you speak, the impostor syndrome will drive you back to working on that essay you still don’t understand.

Stop sleeping well

All I’m saying is, if you only sleep two hours a night, you’ll start drinking a lot of coffee and energy drinks. This is admittedly an unhealthy but somewhat effective way to get through your workload on time. I should probably disclaim the work will probably be of poor quality, but at least you’ll have got it all done.

Lectures are naps, right?

Remember you have to keep up your extra-curricular responsibilities

Speaking as someone who has been very bad at sticking to their extra-curricular activities as well as their actual degree, maybe doing the job you said you’d do will remind you of a crushing feeling of responsibility to others (yes, I’ll run Femsoc, no I haven’t done anything for a while), a feeling that will leave you so ashamed you’ll force yourself to make timetables and plans, and somehow manage the sort of structure that will allow you to complete your workload!

Ask a boatie about how they’re doing in self-isolation

As soon as you’ve discovered how ripped they’ve become in self-isolation, while you’ve sat there rediscovering the joy that is your 2009 DS (God I love Nintendogs), you’ll soon become panicked again about how much time you’ve wasted. This will culminate in you working instead of exercising because, c’mon, who has time for exercise?

Hopefully, these will all give you some ideas on how to get back in the mindset and become motivated again to face the joy that is a Cambridge term!