An ode to living in college for finals

Joanna Taylor 17 May 2016

It's balloting season, and the desperate struggle for the nicest rooms has begun.

Like many students, I am caught in the clutches of uncertainty, desperately dangling in hesitation before what feels like the most important decision I have ever had to make: where to live for final year. As a year-abroad student who has met a significant other during this time away (and has somehow inspired them to contemplate emigration to the strange confines of Cambridge) this decision weighs even more heavily. 

Since college does not have accommodation for couples, I'm faced with a choice between resting within its cosy confines as a self-sufficient individual, or venturing out into a house for unlimited cuddles in prolongation of the Parisian dream. There are all sorts of considerations to take into account when choosing: the price of accommodation is only the starting point. The idea of slipping from the security of the porters, whose souls were placed upon this beautiful earth for the sole purpose of solving any student problem, is actually quite scary. My trust in them was sealed when I was stranded without a single friend back in freshers' week after the pub crawl had left without me: one of the porters actually insisted on driving me to the door of Revs to join the party. This trust has been reinforced through their genuine care and concern in response to a wasp infestation, punctured bike tyres, exam stress, jammed cupboards and indecision over which Chinese takeaway to choose. 

The first and foremost concern, though, is where friends are living. In all honesty, I doubt I could have survived Cambridge without my college next-door neighbour, who has become my very best friend. We have scraped through supervisions together – those awkward silences when neither of us know how to answer – hungover, and hurridly helping each other finish supervision work. We supply each other with a shoulder to cry on in the sweaty depths of Cindies, and someone to share a tin of baked beans with when the pressure gets too much. I fear that final year will chisel us down even further, and we'll regress to a child-like state with the mental capacity to contemplate one consideration only: finals. 

Because of this, I can't help but admit that a college room is the most appealing option for me: surely the college system was invented for a reason. The promise of a healthy plate of hot food prepared in the great hall, a clean, hoovered bedroom with bins changed and crumbs swept from sight (especially from the cookies in my pigeonhole when stress really mounts) is too much to refuse.