It’s a tiny box on the UCAS screen. Some have no trouble answering it at all. Others visit Cambridge almost every weekend before they finally feel confident enough to decide (…this was me). For the truly indecisive, there’s the ‘open option’.
The question is ‘which college?’
But the truth is, it doesn’t take long to become fiercely proud of your college, whichever it is. Within days you know the jokes, feel at home in formal hall and become a permanent attachment at sporting matches (my room rather strategically faces the rugby field, so I can at least attempt to be productive whilst watching the matches).
Earlier this week, the May Ball theme for my college was announced. Afterwards, there was a steady exodus of people to a local club, where we were greeted with a free glass of champagne. With nearly the entire college celebrating together in one place, it was impossible not to feel like part of an extended family.
A few days later, the snow came. For the first hours, Cambridge was flooded with students taking holiday pictures. I walked around the colleges with a group of similarly awed first years, thinking about all the other people who had enjoyed the snow over the centuries. These more sentimental thoughts were lost as we progressed into the main field, and began a furious snowball fight of around forty freshers against four defiant third years. And in a typical Cambridge juxtaposition, as I returned to my room caked in snow, I crossed paths with a group of students making their way to formal hall in their gowns. Their casual acceptance of my appearance only re-affirmed my college pride.
So, for any aspiring students, don’t worry too much about choosing your college. You’ll find a place which combine tradition and a great diversity of people. And if anyone else tells you it’s not, you would defend it to the end!