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Blog by: Caitlin

Ballymoney, Northern Ireland. Studying Human, Social, and Political Sciences. Read more

Happy New Year!

It’s exactly a year since I received my offer to study at Cambridge, although I can still remember the exact feeling of opening that letter. Twelve months later and here I am, getting ready to go back to college, sorting through clothes and panicking about holiday work I haven’t quite got round to finishing/starting yet.

I’m incredibly excited about going back. Even though I loved seeing my family and friends from home at Christmas, after only a few days ‘outside the bubble’, you begin to miss the weird and wacky traditions that make Cambridge what it really is. Trying to explain to your friends from school about supervisions, the College system and why you have a bedder who cleans your room makes you realise that actually, Cambridge isn’t like any other uni. But that’s what makes it so special. A degree from Cambridge gives you access to some of the best teaching and facilities in the world, but it also makes you part of a grand history stretching back hundreds and hundreds of years, and connects you to some of the greatest minds the world has ever seen. No pressure huh!

Last weekend, across the country and the world, hundreds of hopeful applicants will have found out that they have been offered a place to study here. Many of these offers will be conditional on receiving exam results at the end of the year, but for me, the thought of studying at Cambridge was the best motivation to work hard for my A levels. If you are an offer holder, feel free to ask any questions you have about life at Cambridge using the comments section.

I’d better get back to packing!

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First term

Well, it’s been a mental eight weeks, but I have reached the last few days of my first term at Cambridge. It seems bizarre to think that it has only been a year since I visited my College for interviews, but since I arrived at the beginning of October time has absolutely flown past. My aim for this term was just to settle in and find my feet, and I already feel like I have made some friends for life.

Freshers’ Week and the rest of first term has passed by in a blur of swaps, supervisions and everyone’s highlight of the week – brunch! I have to say, I’ve been surprised at how quickly and easily I’ve settled in here, thanks to the help of a number of people. The College family system, where each fresher is assigned a 2nd/3rd year ‘mum and dad’ (or two dads, or two mums, or three mums!), as well as other fresher siblings, really helped me get to know people in older years as well as those in my own. I even have aunts, uncles, cousins and grandparents! On the first night, before Freshers’ Formal, I met up with my College family who answered any questions I had about Cam life so far, as well as teaching me some of the traditions of formals. Your College mum and dad can be really helpful for providing information, but also can help you form friendship groups across the years, something I really like about Cambridge.

The College students’ union has also been great, organising lots of events in the first week and throughout the rest of term, and the Week 5 Welfare chocolate was definitely appreciated! The really nice thing about the College system is that it really helps you feel like part of a community – especially when everyone is in the bar watching the College team on Uni Challenge! I’ve made loads of friends by playing College sports like netball and hockey (watch out for my debut on the ladies’ football team next term, it’s gonna be impressive) and sport is a great way to keep healthy, especially after one too many late night chippies from the Van of Life!

Cambridge has definitely been a welcoming place, and the college systems makes making friends very easy. Of course, there have been downs as well as ups, and the work is certainly intense. However, I am genuinely sad to leave the bubble, which I think says it all.

Merry Bridgemas!

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