I spent a week at Cambridge Uni, but how did it compare to Edinburgh?
It was a journey of self discovery
Recently I went to visit my boyfriend in Cambridge for the first time. He had told me a lot about "the Bridge," the myth of black squirrels (can confirm is true), and the Latin grace they say before dinner. I was excited to experience all of the quirks and to see how his uni life compared to that of mine here at Edinburgh. When I arrived, I was only concerned with seeing him, meeting all his new pals and exploring Cambridge town – but I had no idea that I would be returning back to Edinburgh a totally changed woman.
Unfortunately, I had stupidly booked my trip right in the middle of all my midterms, so I had what I thought was the most abhorrent number of essays to write looming over me that week. When my boyfriend asked me how many essays I had to write on my visit, I said: "I have two due in this week" – teamed with giant sighs for dramatic effect and for sympathy, which I felt I definitely deserved.
However, this didn't even come close to shocking him, and it was only when I saw how many deadlines were approaching for him that I quickly turned off the waterworks and pretended I had something in my eye.
Writing an essay
Next, I was introduced to his college library (a.k.a. the Holy Grail) and watched him write an essay in a couple of hours. There was no moaning, no Instagram phone breaks and no snack eating – just the odd swig from a water bottle, and BAM, the essay was done. A word count of 2,000 had been produced, referenced and printed out in under two hours.
This was my first moment of realisation at Cambridge. I could do that too, so why do I put myself through the pain of dragging out an essay for hours at a time at the expense of a few Instagram scrolls?
Going to a lecture
Next was lecture time – how would the lectures at the best academic institution in the world compare to those here at Edinburgh? In all honesty, there really wasn't that much of a difference. The pace wasn't any faster, and the material didn't appear any more advanced or difficult like I was expecting. The only notable difference was I couldn't spot one distracted student in the lectures I sat in on, and I was having a good look around the lecture halls.
I try my best to focus in my lectures, but I'm never totally impartial to the odd tab being open on my computer. Once again, I was sat there in some sort of weird out-of-body experience, regretting all the times I just had to check Facebook mid-lecture. The most hilarious part of the lecture was right at the very end when everyone applauded the lecturer – but then again, maybe if I focused as much as they did in lectures, I would stand up and applaud to celebrate making it through together.
A Cambridge night out
Aside from the studying, whilst I was in Cambridge I was keen to go out one night and embrace the full Cambridge student experience – I had heard many things about Cambridge nightlife. We ended up at a club called Vinyl, conveniently located right next to Waterstones. In the tipsy state I was in, I probably found this a little bit too funny – but then it hit me once again. I conspired that the position of this club was by no means an accident, but actually a long-standing arrangement between Cambridge University and the club owner, so that whilst students were queuing they would think about all the books they still need to read and subsequently leave the club a little earlier.
My boyfriend didn't seem too convinced with my conspiracies despite the fact that I was queuing mentally preparing my reading to-do list for the next day. Aside from this, I would like to set the record straight and say that clubbing in Cambridge was actually loads of fun and not as tragic as the legend suggests. The clubs shut earlier as well, but that just meant I woke up with a much tamer hangover – what's not to love?
Being an intruder at the University of Cambridge for one week actually gave me a lot to think about. I would 100 per cent recommend any students suffering from the condition of procrastination to take a day trip there to give them a little kick up the ole backside. However, in all seriousness, I have left feeling more determined. I've realised there aren't enough hours in the day to waste, and that I can help myself by not unnecessarily prolonging every assignment I get set. This doesn't mean I'm gonna now be worrying about all the books I still haven't read whilst in the club, because life is just too short for that – but I am going to start embracing my degree more pro-actively. So hello early morning library sessions- I hope we start to get on a bit better.