Farewell Cruel Mistress – I will miss you

7 July 2011

I need a halfway house. I’m writing this after an epic battle that has taken the best part of a decade to achieve 12 poxy letters after my name. I feel a bit mental. Now, student no more, apparently I can finally leave Cambridge. I can be a grown up, have a life, my time is once again my own; I have missed my last Grand Prix! Studying will no longer be the only acceptable reply to ‘do you want to come to x’ (insert any activity between February-May).

So why do I feel like my heart has been ripped out? I’ve got this weird sense that upon finishing, handing in my dissertation and emptying my locker, suddenly I have lost some deep visceral part of myself. I’ve been a student so long that I think Stockholm syndrome has set in. Hurt me some more. Please. Just one more 3,000 word assignment.

In some desperate ‘procrastination-stats’ this April I calculated that I had already spent more hours in the library revising for finals than I had had hot meals, sex, or hours sleep in the last 5yrs. I may be exaggerating. But not by much.

I was so desperate to finish that at one stage I was literally close to tears, heart pounding, and panting, at 5am when I woke every single morning.

Admittedly my adrenalized state was not helped by the mental builders that turned up 7am outside my house, every day, including Sundays and Bank Holidays. The sound of a cement mixer blended artfully with Heart FM can now induce a rage so powerful that I could be used as an adrenaline fountain at a cash-strapped May Ball.

But somehow finals are finished, the results posted at Senate… it’s over. I have to let go of this place. Bosh.

So how do I say goodbye to these last 6 yrs of intense endeavour? How on earth do I move on from this historic place of captivating beauty with its sinister undertone of endless crippling demand, blended with a demonic thirst for so much more than just basic studying from you, it wants your actual soul. Jagerbombs. It’s probably the only way. I tried this method in Fez last week but ended up at 4am with my two I-love-you-like-a-brother friends feeding a Gardie’s kebab to a duck on the front lawn of Kings, whilst we stared at the chapel outlined against the dawning light saying things like ‘this is our last time ever we’ll see this view. I love you man,’ with ketchup smeared down my top.

So maybe I need a daytime sober ceremonial walk down the backs instead. Or a steady shop-fest culminating in a serious amount of time spent drinking coffee (well Heat won’t read itself you know). I will start taking pictures. I will start buying postcards. Almost definitely a bike mug from Heffers.

Cambridge has held me like a jailor. It has beat me like a bitch and now it discards me like a spurned lover. Man how it’s hurt. I’ve given up so much. But I do take those 12 letters with me. Better be worth it.

Cambridge: you’re a git. But I love you.

Libby Kemkaran-Thompson (MA VetMB MRCVS from 2nd July onwards and forever thereafter).