Lent term is online and Cambridge students are not happy

We compiled the best student reactions to the mess that is this term

CW: Mentions of mental health issues

So, we made it a whole four days into 2021 before entering *another* national lockdown – and honestly at this point we’re not even surprised. Whilst Boris oh-so-thoughtfully forgot to mention university students in his press conference, the worst soon became apparent: uni students were asked to remain where they are until at-least mid-February, with Toope later confirming the entirety of Lent term will be online.

Here at Cambridge, students responded the only way we know how: by rushing to the Camfess submission boxes. And let us tell you: Cambridge students had *thoughts*. On the off-chance that you, unlike us, are not permanently glued to your phone (in which case please teach us your ways!) we rounded up the best reactions to these announcements – from the stress, to the safety nets, to the sexually frustrated:

Remembering everything we left behind in Cambridge

Remember when we naively left Cambridge in December, believing we’d be back in a mere matter of weeks? If only we’d learnt our lesson from lockdown one and actually bought home the essentials…

I shed a tear every time I think of my plants slowly dying in my room (Photo credits: Camfess via Facebook)

Cambridge students were lamenting the loss of everything from their “coffee machine” and “so much alcohol” to “a bar of chocolate I hid under the sink as a surprise for when I got back” and their “work ethic.” Here’s to hoping for a speedy return – for the plants’ sake!

Hindsight is a beautiful thing (Photo credits: Camfess via Facebook)

Where did the Love go?

Talking of things we’ve left behind, the hopeless romantics of Cambridge are missing something which is a *tiny* bit harder for their college to post to them, as couples are resigned to months of zoom calls or walks at a two-metre distance, if they’re really lucky.

Knew there was a reason why I wasn’t in a relationship after all (Photo credits: Camfess via Facebook)

On the pains of long-distance relationships, one student said “there’s almost no positives to not being together in Cambridge, except maybe avoiding the very uncomfortable post-sex bike ride back to my college.” Every cloud has a single lining after all!

Meanwhile, for us singletons New year’s resolutions to *finally* find love have been foiled, and we find ourselves re-downloading tinder for the millionth time, as we shed a tear at the thought of lost opportunities to flirt in the Cindies smoking area/Pret queue/college library and claim ambiguous Crushbridges as our own. 

We feel you OP (Photo credits: Camfess via Facebook)

Whilst these issues are often sidelined, the lack of meaningful friendships and relationships can have a real impact on mental health and quality of life – sometimes you just want a hug (or something less PG-13…)

Whatever floats your boat! (Photo credits: Camfess via Facebook)

Freshers’ fears

Not to infantalise the freshers who are, after all, just a year (or less!) younger than us, but will someone please think of the children! Camfess has been flooded with the concerns of freshers who are facing the prospect of picking people to live with, based on just eight weeks of being in Cambridge.

And you thought last year’s room ballot was stressful! (Photo credits: Camfess via Facebook)

Even more concerningly, those who didn’t fall into a shot-gun engagement in fresher’s are having to prepare themselves to potentially raise children by themselves. How can they teach their children the woes of Cambridge clubbing when some of them haven’t even stepped foot into a club?

The stress of single parenthood has hit (Photo credits: Camfess via Facebook)

The continuation of Zoom university

Lockdown is to our degrees what the sun is to snow… in other words – not very conducive to success. Many students have voiced concerns about poor WIFI, a lack of access to resources such as books, libraries and quiet study spaces. Not to mention the fact that many of us will be sharing all this (if we even have it to start off with) with family who are also working and studying from home. I don’t know about you, but the Christmas family spirit has definitely worn off. 

I feel this spiritually (Photo credits: Camfess via Facebook)

These worries have been exacerbated for some students by their colleges allegedly preventing them from returning, despite feeling that they qualify to return to university under the government’s guidelines. The Tab Cambridge were told that allegedly “one student with an unsuitable work environment was told that college could buy him a desk to work on, despite the student having mentioned that there was not space for such equipment in his home”, instead of being allowed to return to Cambridge. 

Felt this one! (Photo credits: Camfess via Faceook)

Still, you’d think that if the university were forcing students to complete a term online, away from Cambridge without access to the resources they’d have here, they’d at least be understanding when it comes to exams, right? 

Wrong. The university confirmed last week that they would not be introducing a safety net policy, despite many students campaigning for one due to the difficult circumstances in which many of us are completing our degree. Students responded to this news in a number of ways: 

From the disappointment:

Apparently not OP x (Photo credits: Camfess via Facebook)

To the disbelief:

Honestly, at this point are we surprised Cambridge hasn’t given us a safety net? (Photo credits: Author’s own screenshot)

And the classic: *Using humour as a coping mechanism*:  


Maybe the music will drown out our tears (Photo credits: Camfess via Facebook)

Many students are worrying about the impact of another lockdown on their mental health

For many students, news of a third lockdown has bought a wide array of mental health concerns: from feelings of isolation and loneliness to concerns that studying in their out-of-term residence would be detrimental to their mental health. One student from Christ told The Tab Cambridge that the news they couldn’t return to Cambridge was “heartbreaking”  as they feel “isolated at home”.

For many students, these concerns have been exacerbated by a lack of support from their colleges. Students at Magdalene have been left “feeling like their mental health has just been tossed around from staff member to staff member.” Meanwhile, a Queens’ student who “asked my tutor if I could return to college” for both mental health reasons and not having a suitable place to study at home was advised to “intermit, instead of being allowed to return.”

Many students have felt unsupported by their college’s returns policy (Photo credits: Camfess via Facebook)

Since the start of the pandemic, many uni confessions pages are seeing a significant rise in posts concerning mental health, and Camfess is no different, with many students using it as a way to express their worries about the impact of lockdown.

Many students have been left feeling unsupported by their college (Photo credits: Camfess via Facebook)

Worries about loneliness and isolation are abundant both from students staying at home and returning to Cambridge, with many worrying that lockdown – wherever they may be living – will take a toll on their mental health.

Isolation is something many students are currently struggling with (Photo credits: Camfess via Facebook)

The university may not be able to change the government’s guidelines, but from the range of student responses, there is a clear need for the university to provide support to students in these – we hate to say it – unprecedented times.

Whatever your response to Toope’s exponentially pessimistic emails and online lent term, we hope you can see you’re not alone. Here’s to hoping for an avoidance of “global gloom” and a return to Cambridge sometime soon!

For students concerned about their mental health, support is available through University Counselling and Student Mind’s Cambridge

Feature Image: Authors’ own image and Camfess

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• Just a list of reasons why Cambridge should give us a safety net this year

• Student Minds Cambridge calls for ‘university-wide’ return policy for students with mental health concerns