Student Blog

My first term at Cambridge

The first few weeks of term are all about finding your feet. Through all the meetings and activities fairs and receptions, there was definitely a lot to take in, plus you are really thrown into the deep end with lectures starting four days after you arrive!

Not a bad place to live...
Not a bad place to live…

But there are many people around to help you, and it is pretty exciting to see all of the things you can try during your time in Cambridge. During the first week, there are also plenty of events for you to get to know the other students in college, which were really helpful in making new friends. One of the best tips I received was to buy a door stop – simple but effective! It is a lot easier to get to know others in your accommodation when you are able to leave your door open and people can just pop their heads in for a chat. Food is also a great way to people’s hearts and cake parties are still a regular occurrence in my corridor!

Academically, I have really enjoyed the Economics course. We do not choose any modules in the first year, so I have been able to study a diverse range of topics. I’ve found the areas that I did not learn about in school interesting, such as the Industrial Revolution and economic development, and I feel like I have a better awareness of some of the broader issues in the subject instead of focusing purely on theory.

I studied Economics at A-Level, and there has certainly been a jump up to the university course as one would expect. As not everyone has studied economics before, we start from scratch and go over the core ideas, but with more detail and a more mathematical emphasis in certain areas. I have actually found this quite useful, as it is easier to grasp the logic of some of the concepts, but often it does require more time to get a full understanding of the theories.

The Hall at Christmas!
The Hall at Christmas!

Settling into the ways of university life outside of academics has been a good experience, and I have definitely gained a greater sense of independence. Having to plan meals for each day and be in charge of all my finances has been an exciting challenge and I have loved getting involved in all of the extracurricular activities that are offered here. It really is true that you can give anything a go!

I’ve tried activities from yoga to football to knitting, and have also enjoyed attending the Union society, where speakers such as Robert Downey Jr. and Ed Byrne have visited in the first term. Within college, there has also been many themed events, including a Halloween party where everyone came in costume – I was a pumpkin – and a three-course Christmas dinner, ending in a sing-a-long to the ‘Twelve Days of Christmas’.

The most common question I receive from friends and family back home is whether Cambridge was what I expected it to be like. In all honesty, I still don’t have a good answer! There are definitely areas that seem pretty normal and typical of all university of life: you get into a routine with lectures and work, and learn to balance your working and social lives, but there are some Cambridge quirks that I have grown to love! I have developed a sixth sense for bicycles when crossing roads, and having a gown does indeed make you feel like you are an extra in a Harry Potter movie.

I can’t imagine myself anywhere else, and hope my next 8 terms are just as magical as the first.

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Mary

I’m Mary! I’m originally from St. Albans, Hertfordshire and I now study Economics having completed A-Levels in Maths, Further Maths, Economics and Geography. In my spare time I enjoy volunteering, travelling, tennis, hanging out with friends and listening to cheesy pop music!