There are lots of exciting things that happen in Cambridge on a Thursday. Lola Lo’s nightclub has a student night, you can go to ballroom dance classes, and a quick google search tells me that there’s also a Thursday bridge club. But for me, Thursdays mean one thing: Betty’s.
Betty’s is actually short for ‘Betty Stubben’s Musical Entertainment Group’, an amateur singing group founded by (you’ve guessed it) Betty Stubbens in 1970, that travels to a different elderly people’s home in Cambridge each week and provides entertainment in the form of group sing-alongs, piano playing and even the odd poetry reading. I won’t lie, the main thing that appealed to me about this was that it was the only choir I could find that didn’t require an audition. Aside from that though, the great thing about being involved in Betty’s, or in fact any society, is that it really broadens your horizons. By trying something new you meet people from different years, different colleges or who aren’t affiliated with the university at all, and can try something completely out of your comfort zone.
Betty’s is a project run by Student Community Action (SCA), an organisation that provides volunteering opportunities for students of Cambridge and Anglia Ruskin Universities. Getting involved with SCA has probably been the best thing I’ve done at Cambridge – I’ve met so many new people, grown so much in terms of my self-confidence and had loads of fun! This year I’ve also been the secretary for the SCA student body, which makes it even more cv-friendly.
I’m now looking for ways to spend Summer and applying for a position to teach English abroad in Korea, which is something I know I would never have done before coming to Cambridge. I would thoroughly recommend seizing any opportunities that come your way at university – three years will go by in a flash, and it’s unlikely that there’ll ever be an easier time to pick up a new sport, write for a newspaper or learn a foreign language- you might even discover a passion that will stay with you for the rest of your life.
I can’t quite believe that I’m home for Christmas already. Michaelmas term has whizzed by, and with its end comes one of the highlights of the Cambridge calendar (with stiff competition from May week): Bridgemas! The odd thing about Cambridge is that term is over by early December (I came home yesterday, this time last year I’d already been home for a week), so Christmas celebrations are brought forward. It’s perfectly acceptable, nay encouraged, to decorate your room with reams of tinsel as soon as Bonfire Night is over and done with. Round about the end of November Christmas trees are erected in College, the city centre is beautifully lit up and you can barely move for shoppers in market square.
Bridgemas is about more than getting excited for the festive season: it marks a considerable achievement to have completed first term, especially as a fresher, so it’s really about letting your hair down and spending time with friends before the long (and well-deserved) six week break. Festive events not to be missed include Christmas formal, where we enjoy a turkey dinner in all our finery (crackers and paper hats included), the College Christmas party (fancy dress is a must) and the unmissable Footlights pantomime. If it’s something that interests you, there’s scope to attend a carol service pretty much every day in the last week of term, and (I’m being biased now) the candlelit service at Corpus Christi is really beautiful. Other services at other Colleges are available.
It’s inevitable that during the eight weeks of Michaelmas you have to put studying before socializing sometimes, so however you choose to spend your time, it’s great to wind down towards the end of term with friends that you probably won’t see until mid-January. Having left Cambridge on an all-time high of seasonal merriment, now all I have to worry about is keeping the festive momentum going for another fortnight, until everyone else is ready to celebrate!
Hi everyone! As interviews are swiftly approaching, I thought I’d start with something nice and generic before the inevitable descent into all that is weird and wonderful about Cambridge in future posts. I’ve noticed that Matt has also written some interview advice, but I feel it’s something you can never have too many perspectives on, so here are my three top tips for surviving the interview process:
1. Know your Personal Statement
The interview is likely to cover some of your statement and the SAQ. It’s not meant to be a test, rather to give you the opportunity to talk about what really interests you in your subject.
2. Know your Interviewer
You aren’t expected to read up on your interviewer before you meet them, but doing a little research can be useful. Mine happened to be an avid Chaucer enthusiast, which I was studying at the time for my English A level. We ended up discussing The Wife of Bath, which fortunately I’d revised.
3. Know why you’re here
With all my research it had never occurred to me to think of a response to the most obvious question: ‘Why do you want to come to Cambridge?’ Reminding yourself why you’re going through all this process can motivate you to do your absolute best in the interview, which, as I’m sure wise teachers have told you, is all anyone can ask of you.
So good luck to everyone that will be coming up/down over the next few weeks! I hope this helps with any last minute preparation, and, as you can see from my experience, a less-than-perfect interview won’t be held against you, I made it here after all!