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Overrated: The Cambridge experience

Status: hungover. Workload: too much. Feeling: burnt out.


After studying at Cambridge for any amount of time, it doesn’t take a genius to figure out that the workload and social scene at this university can get quite intense. What used to be a bit of reading is now a LOT of reading and what used to be a casual get-together is now an opportunity for networking.

As homesickness sets in and academic faculties are facing strain, it can be difficult to strike the correct balance between work, hobbies, and strategically drinking wine at formal with your supervisors.

Parental advice to make the most of the opportunity to study at Cambridge may be fresh in your ears, but here’s a new titbit: just don’t.

Skip the committee

I know it can often feel like you’re the only person who isn’t president of your college JCR or founding a new society every two weeks, but more important than appearances is taking the opportunity to explore different things you’re passionate about.

Whilst it can show employers that you are organised and able to work with others, running a society is not the be-all and end-all of the Cambridge experience. After all, a degree from Cambridge itself isn’t exactly chopped liver.

So, stop stalking your college siblings on Linkedin to see how much tutoring they’ve done and let your hair down a bit.

I still don’t know what all-star means (Image credit: author’s own screenshot).

Clubbing? Cancelled!

Although I am personally partial to a Rumboogie, this is by no means the only way to relax in Cambridge. Considering there are only two big club nights here, there can often be a lot of pressure to attend at least one of these every week.

Unless you’re truly a club rat at heart (with lots of disposable income), your bank account and your liver will definitely thank you for taking it at your own pace.

I’ll admit, nothing beats the walk back to Homerton (Image credit: Caitlin Bentley).

All about academics

It’s probably safe to assume that most people here are at least a little bit academically minded. It is Cambridge, after all.

Even though reading definitely can be interesting, there is no need to prioritise supervisions over sanity. Just because we go to Cambridge doesn’t mean we’re robots, so skip those last few readings and binge-watch Gilmore Girls instead.

When the leaves start to fall, stick on your favourite fall show (Image credit: Leah Whiting)

Whilst it’s certainly admirable to throw yourself into the Cambridge University experience, it can sometimes be helpful to focus less on the ‘Cambridge’ and more on the ‘university’ side of things.

After all, these three years are an opportunity to discover things about ourselves and our future career goals, not just lock down that internship at Goldman Sachs.