We emailed 200 Cambridge students to find out their favourite moment from Michaelmas 2020

Throwing it back to a time when we complained about 10pm curfews and substantial meals

Michaelmas 2020 was a term like no other at Cambridge. Despite spending much of it in either lockdown or the comparative freedom of Tier 2, it was the last dose of normality that many of us will receive for some time.

We’ve now traded college sports matches for government-mandated daily exercise, sit – down Cindies for socialising via video call, and watching our Zoom 9am lectures in bed for …watching our Zoom 9am lectures in bed. With the confirmation that Lent term will take place entirely online, we thought it was a good opportunity to give you all a chance to reminisce on the Michaelmas we left behind in Cambridge.

With Covid restrictions preventing us from interviewing people the good-old fashion way (or indeed having 200 contacts!) we took advantage of all that technology has to offer us. We emailed 200 Cambridge students at random asking them to share their best memories with us. Here are some of our favourite responses:

Picknicking in Grantchester

Basking in the sun at Grantchester | Picture Credit: Theo Brook

The concept of sunshine may seem foreign to us these days but remember the start of term when it was so hot that Jack’s gelato was a daily necessity? Some Selwyn third years took full advantage of the warm weather at the start of Michaelmas with a trip to the meadows at Grantchester.

Theo told us how the sunny skies (and the ability to meet more than one person outdoors) now seemed like “a lifetime ago” He told us that he and his friends had a lovely afternoon with drinks and food by the river, although they resisted entering the murky waters of the Cam!

Wholesome board games with the household

Olivia, a student at Trinity, told us her favourite moment of the term was celebrating her birthday with her household whilst playing the board game ‘Sagrada’. Olivia said that this evening allowed her to “forget all about the pandemic and just have fun” – a real mood for Michaelmas.

The fact that Olivia won the board game was, of course, “entirely unconnected” to her choosing it as her favourite moment of the term.

Halloween fun

Halloween might be spooky but a second lockdown is spookier | Picture Credit: Thomas McCarter

Although there were reports before Michaelmas about a ghost at Emma, we still think the scariest thing about Halloween this year was probably the impending doom of the second lockdown that came into force just a few days after.

However, some of you still managed to make the most of the day! Thomas told us that to celebrate Halloween his college had a marquee and food trucks, which was a great way to celebrate the last days of freedom we could enjoy.

Post-isolation relief

We all know the feeling. The first breath of fresh air after finally completing 14 days of self-isolation. The possibilities that come with your newfound freedom are suddenly endless.

Issy, a fresher at Pembroke, took a moment to tell us about the night her household was finally set free. They “played Articulate, had pancakes and drinks, and then ran around Cambridge at midnight to celebrate (their) freedom after two weeks of staying inside.” Sounds like the ideal night to us!

Staying fit with friends

Even looking at this makes us tired | Picture Credit: Finn Heraghty

Whilst some of us may have spent Michaelmas mostly in bed (we all did that…right?), others have been finding ways to stay fit and healthy despite the restrictions.

In classic Cambridge style, Finn told us his favourite Michaelmas memory was the “50k bike ride I did with all my housemates at the end of term”, followed, of course, by a “big meal to share!”

He also adds that he “can’t wait to see everyone again as soon as we safely can” – which we hope won’t be too long now.

A Covid Christmas formal

With limited opportunities for large events this Michaelmas, college formals were few and far between. Props to the Corpus JCR for managing to organise a Christmas formal around the restrictions. Toby, a fresher at Corpus, told us that this event was a great opportunity to celebrate the end of an undoubtedly “unique” first term at Cambridge with his friends.

He said that the formal provided everyone with a “glimpse into what second year hopefully has in store”, reminding us all that more normal times in Cambridge are ahead (whenever you’re ready Boris…)

All we can say is it’s been lovely reading through your responses. Michaelmas was certainly a trying time for the best of us, but looking back on these moments of joy only makes us look forward to Easter term more.

Related articles recommended by these writers:

• I’m a fresher, and I don’t regret starting Cambridge in the middle of a pandemic 

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 12 memes about safety nets that almost make up for Cambridge not actually having a safety net

Feature image credit: Katie Thacker