The last days of Lent term are a trap!

These happy fools are being played…

Lent term is a malevolent force that works to knock us all off balance in its final days. Unsatisfied with causing enough sadness in week five to make even Mr Tumble upset, Lent term cunningly initiates one final, last-ditch attempt to kick us while we’re down before we can escape into the arms of Easter. The happy fools in the cover photo were unaware of this fact. Bless.

Then again, the seemingly endless wine that flows at a boat club dinner tends to make anyone docile, but that’s beside the point. They’d all been played by Lent term!

What is Lent term’s end goal then I hear you cry: to cause as much disorder and disarray in our lives as possible before it comes to an end. The process by which this happens can be broken down into three distinct stages: “yay!”, “why not?”, and “sod it.” My job is to explain this process, which for many has already taken place.


Fitz’s M2 celebrating catching Christ’s on day two of Lent Bumps 2023 (Image Credits: Tony Moule)

The “yay!” stage is a wonderful time – that’s how Lent gets you. Picture me, the most adorable cox you ever did see, going into full Boudicca mode at the prospect of smashing into Christ’s M2…which we did. All was well, everyone was euphoric, the birds were chirping, and even my flatmates were happy to see me…I should’ve known then that something was up.

The “yay” stage is all about having something fun to do, with people whose company you enjoy, while in the background your deadlines pile up faster than you can say “Wolfson is a chronically underrated college.” But Lent term likes to keep its hosts warm and happy and distracted, while it burrows under the surface of their academic pursuits. Cheery thought isn’t it?

“Why not?”

Me posing with two up-and-coming musicians, Raymond and Ollie (Image Credits: Will Lee)

“Why not?” gets me every time. I like to be distracted, what can I say? This annoying trait of mine meant that, at some point during the end of Lent, I blinked and suddenly found myself at a Churchill open mic night listening to, admittedly soothing, music performed by two of my fellow Fitz comrades.

Now, don’t get me wrong, I was there to support my friends however the “why not?” stage goes hand in hand with procrastination. This stage is Lent term giving you yet more to do at a time when you’re already planning your evacuation from this odd environment, but it knows full well that you’re not out of the woods yet.

That’s when the final phase comes into play, that’s when Lent Term subsumes your very essence. You see, you’re at a crossroads at the “why not?” point. You can continue down the path of saying yes to this new opportunity, or yes to that new experience – which I have to add is something that I love about this university. Conversely, you can stick to a rigid academic structure as the final days of Lent term play out. But most of us, nearly all of us, succumb to the “sod it!” stage.

“Sod it!”

Me and some lovely Natscis sharing quality time together (Image Credits: Anish Maheshkumar)

This stage takes most of us. This is the stage that ensures we remain forever defeated. The “sod it!” stage means we’ve essentially given up on salvaging Lent term. This is what this term has wanted all along and this is what Lent term, at least for me, accomplished. The timing of my article is a testament to this fact.

I have been meaning to write for The Tab for some time; I really should have written one article by now since we’ve actually come to the end of term. “Sod it” got me. “Sod it” made me think the excitement that sprung up at the end of term and the entertaining events that followed were my only priority. Fun though they were, there were commitments that required my immediate attention…namely the writing of at least one Tab article during this infernal term.

Ultimately, the “sod it!” phase took me because Lent was coming to an end and so was my patience for it. With the prospect of Lent term drawing to a close, who can blame any of us for packing in our usual schedules to call it a day and spend some time with our friends? Admittedly, the above photo was taken before my “yay!” phase but my true “sod it” phase is too melancholy to document.

I mean I say it was too melancholy…I was just hungover, to be honest (Image Credits: Eilish Turner-Frick)

There you have it then. No thrills, no real shockers, no revelations…I’m just tired. Despite this whining, I’m a history student at the end of the day…I weep for everyone else.

The answer to all your queries – why was the end of Lent term just too good to be true? Because it was a trap. I was a trap laid by a sentient academic term that is simply jealous of its predecessor. Put it this way – if Michaelmas is Casino Royale, then Lent is Quantum of Solace. It must be said that some of you are stronger than I was, but I hope that this strange little article explains why some of you feel so drained.

Nothing really to sugar-coat about this process I’m afraid. It will forever be the case that Lent term is summed up by the concept of managed decline.

If I’m being entirely honest though, it’s not all doom and gloom. There is one beacon of hope that we can cling to each year. Lent term does end…eventually.

Feature image credits: Shannon White

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