We asked Cambridge students for Freshers’ advice

The students of Cambridge are here to offer their wisdom…

Post-results day, the reality of going to Cambridge starts to bite. Suddenly all you can think about is the horror stories of workloads, the slightly odd people on your college group-chat, and the fear of an endless packing list. But no fear, current Cambridge students are here to offer (occasionally) wise words and reassurance.

You’re at Cambridge for a reason

You’ve worked hard to be here, you’ve been through a rigorous, frustrating and difficult process and been chosen as a result. There is no need to compare yourself to other people on group chats, Instagram profiles or message boards. Most people during Freshers will be as nervous and insecure as you are but in moments of imposter syndrome take a deep breath and remember that you’re here for a reason.

We all remember those matriculation nerves (Image credit: Emily Giles)

The College group chat does not represent reality

Some of my now best friends were people I panicked about meeting over the summer because of how smart, or weird they seemed, or because they already seemed to have found their best friends in the group chat. WhatsApp brings out the worst in all of us. It is not a good measure of personality. Don’t panic, everyone is actually normal in real life.

Friends I made outside of the group-chat! (Image credit: Georgia Burr)

Know how you’re going to organise yourself

A lot of the answers were along these lines: plan for how you’re going to take notes before you arrive and stick to that system once you get here. Through your Cambridge email account you have access to Notion, OneNote, Google Docs and probably a million other organisation systems that I’ve never even heard of. Try them out over the summer, find what works for you and then you won’t be sat down to revise in Easter term panicking about where all your Michaelmas lecture notes are.

Notion is a godsend for some (Image Credit: Vedika Mandapati)

Remind yourself why you love your course

Instagram had differing opinions on the importance of summer preparation, with some replies urging you to wing it and others suggesting in-depth reading. Really, the amount of summer preparation you do should be guided by your subject and be aimed towards finding things that excite you: do the reading or work that interests you, not the work you think you should be doing. The best way to prepare for Cambridge is to be excited and enthusiastic about your course when you arrive.

I spent my first day in Cambridge taking photos of interesting historical features I noticed, on the advice of my DoS. It actually helped remind me I’m a massive nerd and in the right place. (Image credit: Ella Sheddick)

Be confident!

Most answers can be grouped under this heading. Ask questions to your DoS and your supervisors, most of them won’t be quite as scary as you might think. Reach out to potential friends, don’t be scared to do a DM slide if you think you’d get on. Talk to second years and get their advice, they’ve been through it and can help you. Apply for roles and sign up for societies that you don’t think you have enough experience for: being a fresher is your chance to try something new (like writing for the Tab xoxo)!

Be open to trying a new sport, like rowing! (Image Credit: Anna Feest)

Enjoy yourself

Don’t spend all term working. If you need convincing that the cambridge workload is perhaps not quite as mammoth as everyone makes out check out the Tab Tiktok Interviews with Cambridge students. Be ready to be social, have fun and break the student bubble once in a while!

Post-results day nerves are normal but you will definitely find your place.

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(Feature Image Credit: Ella Sheddick)