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The ultimate Cambridge Lent Term survival guide

Free unsolicited advice because your parents aren’t around to do it for you


Of all the Cambridge terms, Lent can feel like the biggest slog. Week five blues in week two. Blue Monday every week. Cold, tired and busy. The combination of bleak and rainy January months and the intensity of Cambridge can even get to the students who seem to be unstoppable. But, hope is not lost. You can and will survive Lent term! Here are some tips to help you stop wistfully thinking about your insurance choice and start making this term fun and manageable.

Pathetic fallacy or something

Camcomplain

Camfess is probably not what you expected when you clicked on this article, but here it is. Inescapable. In all seriousness, Camfess – like any anonymous confessions page – is mostly filled with complaints, negativity and people looking to vent their emotions. If you want a less miserable term, probably don’t spend all your time in a place where people out stuff they wouldn’t say out loud.

It’s your call as to whether these things impact you, but just a word of warning – it’s so easy to internalise the negativity and the ‘Cambridge sucks’ mentality.

Social animals

Humans are social animals, and you’re no exception. It’s tempting to lie in bed on a cold and dark morning, reading or writing your essay in your pyjamas. But often that can lead to you feeling isolated and unproductive (despite actually doing work…). Change your surroundings to a café or library or do a group study session with your friends.

This feels so much more rewarding and can help you to feel less alone. Isolation, especially in the evenings, can impact people more during Lent – the night creeps up on you and before you know it,  you’re homesick.

Just a little afternoon nap… It can’t hurt anyone…

Not to be your mum, but you’re not a magical exception to human biology – you need to sleep. And if you sleep during the day you probably aren’t going to sleep during the night.

Do your circadian rhythms a favour and take care of yourself. Looking like a hollow zombie probably isn’t going to help your grades or your mental health.

Yes, this is a coffee-free latte!

Caffeine independent

Okay, I can’t deny the mum allegations anymore. But please be aware of why you’re drinking coffee – getting through the term is hard enough without falling asleep when you don’t have a caffeinated beverage.

There’s a big culture of drinking caffeine at Cambridge, but just be mindful that it shouldn’t be the norm that we’re so reliant upon it that we’re falling asleep in the library or 9ams without it.

The SU says the workload is too high

Is Kings central? Is there ice cream at Jacks? Are the clubs playing fourteen-year-old boy music?

Though this isn’t exactly shocking news, don’t forget that you can ask for extensions and tell your supervisor you’re struggling. Remember, you’re not a machine – and most(!) fellows are aware of this.

TL;DR: Don’t sleep during the day (even if it’s dark…), surround yourself with people (even if you’re not actually socialising) and drink caffeine sparingly (even if it’s tempting to use it to stay awake).