Can there ever be such a thing as an average day in Cambridge?

Maddy Airlie 22 August 2015

No two days in the life of an arts student will ever be identical. That’s our curse and our prize. Gone are the days of timetables (we both scorn and envy those NatSci's and their regimented hours of academia) and now are the days of peak self-organisation: we will eat healthily; exercise every day; look studious in the library; be a well-groomed social butterfly; sleep well; and always have neat, clean rooms like those artsy 35mm photos in the edgy quarterlies we all drool over… or so we like to think anyway. I still delude myself with that reverie. In reality, we often flounder in the sheer amount of time we have to ourselves.

This is the life…or is it?   Image: Mircea

Morning Sunshine!

As a fresher, and thereby actually a very keen and conscientious student, lectures will occupy an hour or two of your mornings, after which you will attempt to source some lunch with your ever so edgy and enviably clad friends. You will learn fairly rapidly that the Sidgewick buttery is not a viable option, and that Cantab Coffee should be reserved only for desperate measures, and Week Five.

The early bird catches the empty desk               Image: Andrew Dunn

Sometime after 1

You realise that you really ought to drag yourself from Facebook and re-engage with analog life. You might be adventurous, daring – you might explore the depths of the UL, clutching your phone lest you lose yourself, or trundle into town to discover a good reading spot that makes you feel like a proper ‘Cambridge student’ (admit it, we all like to indulge in just a little bit of ‘student’ posing) or reward yourself with a stroll through Heffers after your supervision. The inspired might establish their patch in the college library and settle down to their essays with real dedication, and after a few hours of work (or, ‘work’) some might wander to an audition here, a team trial there, or to the newspaper offices for sub-editing fun.

Escape from the library… to more books       Image: Sebastian Ballard

Cambridge evenings

Dinner in halls, or roasting a wild carrot you harpooned yourself from the deepest depths of Sainsburys. Maybe pre-drinks and Cindies, maybe a pact of two hours more work then tea in someone’s room, or perhaps a belly-aching late show. Warning: nighttime tea parties can spiral into almost anything, and are a classic work evasion tactic as the year rolls on. Expect mildly drunken Shakespeare recitals, massive feminist debates and probably a lot of chocolate. They can last well into the morning and the pedigree of this refined breed of procrastination can be found within the off-white walls of MEdwards.

Working on that night tea       Image: Eilidh B

Invariably bed will be after 12, and for a while you will miraculously survive on remarkably little sleep. Enjoy this while it lasts. Your days will always differ – even for the naturally organised – and so will your terms. But that’s healthy. That’s what keeps us creative, surely.