Five things you need to do before the end of Michaelmas term

The list to help you get through that last essay!

It’s the end of Week 7 and chances are you’re tired from the workload. If not, you’re superhuman: what is your secret?

I bet you can’t wait for term to end. Can you imagine spending an entire day doing nothing without feeling guilty about it? Me neither, and that tells me that it’s time for the holidays.

But even if you can no longer stand the sight of your lecturers, the truth is that you’ve still got another week to go – hate to break it to you! Here are a couple of things you should do this week to end Michaelmas on a high note.

1. Celebrate Bridgemas (duh!)

It’s not going to snow on Bridgemas Day – but let your heart be light anyway. Image credits: Richard Humphrey via the Creative Commons Licence

Yes, yes, I know. Some of you may be thinking Bridgemas isn’t a “real” holiday – and, a week ago, I’d have agreed with you. Now, my opinion has changed somewhat:

Bridgemas is as real a holiday as they get because we treat it as one.

Look, Cambridge students get zero breaks during full term. Is it really so wrong that some of us want to celebrate Christmas – but in November?

Christmas-themed formal halls at your college are worth checking out if they aren’t already booked out. You get a traditional Christmas dinner without having to worry about sourcing ingredients, preparing the turkey, and cleaning up afterwards – unless you’re the type of person that enjoys cooking, that is.

Personally, my plans for Bridgemas are to bake a batch of gingerbread men using this recipe. If gingerbread doesn’t take your fancy, you can hardly go wrong with choco-chip cookies. Maybe try something new – like this slightly unconventional vegan recipe.

2. Visit The North Pole

This does not involve going to the Arctic. In fact, The North Pole has come to Parker’s Piece. Head ice skating with a friend (a great way to bond via collective embarrassment) and grab hot chocolate, marshmallows, and mulled wine afterwards. There’s also a Ferris wheel you can unwind on afterwards as you sip on your beverage of choice.

The North Pole is open from 12:00pm to 8:45pm on weekdays and from 11:00am to 8:45pm on weekends. If you’re feeling spectacularly creative, you could always celebrate Bridgemas by going to The North Pole at Parker’s Piece. After all, they claim to have the longest real ice slide in the UK, which is a novelty, if nothing else.

3. Watch some student theatre

Cambridge at night: the ADC Theatre. Image credits: N Chadwick via the Creative Commons Licence

There’s always something on in either the ADC Theatre or the Corpus Playroom. Between now and the end of Michaelmas, the ADC Theatre is screening 11 unique productions.

One particular Christmassy highlight is the annual collaboration of CUADC and Footlights, who work together each year to produce the Pantomime. This year’s production is CUADS/Footlights Pantomime 2021: Rapunzel. Described as “a celebration of individuality and self-love,” Rapunzel marks a return to live pantomimes “with a queer and colourful bang.”

4. Visit the Cambridge Botanic Garden

The Cambridge Botanic Garden on a foggy winter day. Image credits: ilj via the Pixabay Licence

Wrap up warm and walk down to the Cambridge Botanic Garden. It’s a lovely way to spend a sunny afternoon, especially if you visit the Autumn Garden. If the oranges, clarets, and russets of deciduous foliage aren’t reason enough for you to drop by, go for “late flowers, seedheads, fruits and feathery grasses.”

While you’re there, you can always have a quick look at the Winter Garden. There, you’ll find quite a few plants gearing up to flower in the winter. The majestic Old Pinetum with its ancient, imposing pines and the tranquil Stream Garden were some of my favourite sections.

The bottom line: visiting the Botanic Garden is always a good time.

5. Give yourself time off

Magdalene Bridge in late October. Image credits: Scudamore’s Punting Cambridge via the Creative Commons Licence

You’ve worked pretty damn hard over the last 50 days. Take some time off to do something, whether it is or isn’t on this list. Order takeout instead of cooking for yourself. Spend some time with the people you value before everyone rushes off for the holidays. You deserve it.

After all, very soon, you’ll have completed one-third of this year at Cambridge. Doesn’t it feel like it’s all happened a bit too quickly for your liking?

Feature image credits: FreeSVG via the Creative Commons Licence (Public Domain) and Fractal Angel via the Creative Commons Licence (modified to include elves)

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