Freshers’ Bucket List: Part II

Freya Sanders 4 November 2014

After the success of the TCS Bucket List published last Easter Term, the team at The Cambridge Student has produced a bigger, better and more beautiful edition, especially for Freshers of 2014. Go forth, new Cantabs, and enjoy this city.

20. Read a book for fun
Sounds simple, doesn’t it? After all, we’re very good at reading here in Cambridge. But don’t be surprised if – after relentless supervision work, a brutal lecture schedule, several late night profound chats and one too many trips to Cindies – you can’t make it to the end of even the shortest of novels. Choose tactically: a brief, uncomplicated yarn that’ll grip you even when you’re clinically exhausted. The Scarlet Letter, The Moonstone, or anything by Faulkner might be a good place to start; or explore our Books section for inspiration.

There are a lot of books in Cambridge.

21. Join a protest
Last term student activism contributed to the success of the living wage campaign. The term before, protests against hosting David Willetts at the Union were less successful. Fundamentally, Cambridge is full of eloquent people who are unafraid of questioning the way of the world; it shouldn’t be hard to find a movement you feel passionate about. And if you need riling up, click here to explore TCS’s power protest playlist.

22. Mingle with townies at Midsummer Fireworks
Overcome the infamous town and gown divide by gandering down to Midsummer Common tomorrow evening, when Cambridge City Council lights up the sky with a fireworks display that's invariably fantastic – leave a donation if you want it to stay that way.

23. Spend 24 hours in a library
Not all college libraries open 24 hours a day, so you may need to do some research before choosing a suitable location for this challenge. John’s doors infamously opens its doors every hour of the day and night. The only way to make it bearable is to make a day of it (literally): take a group; get sponsored; liveblog it; braid one another’s hair. You can always spice things up by taking a leaf out of the books in Worcester College, Oxford’s library. Pack red bull for when the going gets tough, and maybe even a game of Monopoly. God forbid you should actually do any work.

24. Get deaned
Innocent and unsuspecting freshers confused by this term, take heed: getting deaned is the height of rebellion at Cambridge. It is where one commits a crime so heinous that one is sent to confess and pay penance to the college dean. If you're in need of inspiration, just watch St. Trinian's – after all, the novel was born in this fair city.

25. Marvel at medieval medals in the Fitzwilliam Museum
Or if that's not your cup of tea, there's always the impressive collection of Renaissance paintings or Oriental pottery to keep you entertained. The Fitzwilliam Museum is the pride and joy of Cambridge tourism: bizarrely resembling a mini Parthenon, it's stuffed full of everything that wasn't quite good enough for the British Museum – and copies of lots of things that were. Of course, no visit to the Fitzwilliam is complete if not succeeded by afternoon tea at Fitzbillies across the road.

26. Experience the economical bliss of Aldi
Aldi is the best kept secret of the thrifty students at hill colleges, but it's not quite as far from the centre of town as Girton, so no student has an excuse not to venture there at least once. Some call it a magical voyage of discovery – you never quite know what they'll be stocking – others call it a shoddy bargain bin. Such divided accounts only adds to the place's mystique.

27. Do a RAG raid
More than occasionally, you'll spy groups of terrifyingly keen students zealously shaking buckets at people in the Grand Arcade in aid of various worthy causes. This is RAG raiding, and it's one of the easier ways to get involved with philanthropy in Cambridge: you don't have to be a RAG member to take part, and you can do it for bitesize hour-long chunks, so it never becomes soul destroying. Some weekends, colleges compete to raise the most, so raiding is also a good option for those who wish to bring their college glory, but have no sporting prowess. RAG also does raids further afield – there are regular London trips, and they go on tour during some vacations; all raiders get travel paid for, so it's a pretty sweet deal for a bit of bucket shaking. Click here for more info.

28. Go to a Varsity Quidditch match
Over the summer it was announced that Cambridge had instated a Quidditch Team, which is apparently hoping to set up a Varsity match this term. If sprinting around a muddy field in your gown with a stick of wood between your legs seems like your cup of tea, keep on top of their info here.

29. Climb on the roof of King’s College Chapel
TCS undertook this perilous challenge in June and the results were spectacular. Less mainstream and more perilous than climbing Great St. Mary's, surmounting Cambridge's definitive landmark rewards the intrepid with pretty spectacular views. If the logistics defeat you, other college's roofs have their merits; read about the Cambridge night climbers for inspiration.

Inside King's College Chapel the beams are endless…

30. Get a blue
Unfortunately, at the moment of writing, you can't get a blue for RAG raiding, so if you want to fulfil this challenge, you're going to have to get creative. The phrase beg, borrow or steal springs to mind; but there are ways for the unfit and uncoordinated to earn sporting glory. Apparently tiddlywinks gets pretty serious in the upper echelons – to the extent that the most committed tiddlers can earn a quarter blue. So keep an eye out for them at the freshers' fair. 

31. Get with a blue
Significantly easier and less time-consuming than #Number28, unless you're aiming for a big name. If you head to Wednesday Cindies you should find plenty of Hawks and Ospreys (male and female blues respectively) floating around, identifiable by their modest and appropriate attire. 

32. Be in a survivors’ photo
If you're going to fork out on a ball ticket, it's worth staying to the end: it's part of the experience – and they sometimes unveil bacon butties and pastries at an ungodly hour. Those who do are dubbed 'survivors' and their achievement is immortalised through the traditional survivors photo – which usually takes place around 6:45am for May Balls, and 3:45am for other balls and June Events. 

33. Pretend to be an expert at something you’ve never done before
This is fairly imevitable if you want to succeed in supervisions and/or the Cambridge clubbing scene. If you need tips, look no further than TCS' guide to pretending you've read the books on your reading list that defeated you.

34. Pretend to know nothing about something you’re an expert at
There's a sadistic joy in watching the obnoxious rugby lad you're swapping with drunkenly spout nonsense about your specialism. Nod along for twenty minutes or so, snd then subtly destroy him with your knowledge and eloquence.

35. Punt to Granchester
Many students are under the impression that this village only exists in May Week – but it's actually available all year round, and hospitable for students hankering after a picnic or just missing the countryside. The punt journey is not to be underestimated, however, hence why most attempt it on a day when they have absolutely nothing planned. Rogue swans, accidental swims, general incompetence: many things can hinder progress down the Cam. Take a rower in case you have to resort to the spindly oars.

36. Steal an entire crockery set from various formals
Legend has it that if you get caught stealing a Trinity plate, the porters make you into plates. Nevertheless, stealing crockery from formals is far easier than it seems: I mean, what did you think gowns were for?

37. Buy a Big Issue
Cambridge has a special breed of Big Issue men: they may seem prickly, but most of the, are pretty witty salesmen and rather interesting people. So once you've bought your copy, stop for a chat, share your newly-purchased bag of Sainsbury's triple chocolate cookies, and learn a bit about street life in this town.

38. Appear on CamFM
The radio station shared between the Univeristy of Cambridge and Anglia Ruskin (Cambridge's other university) has some really good stuff on it, not least our very own TCS radio. We're always looking for interesting people to come and chat; so get in touch.

39. Spit in a jar
The Cambridge University Marrow Society is active and on the hunt for donors: all you have to do to find out if your eligible is spit in a jar: it's a quick and easy way to save someone's life.

40. Do an outrageous college marriage proposal
Proposals usually start around Week Two; tales of some of the more ridiculous ones circulate every year – they've involved everything from a reenactment of the wedding flashmob in Love Actually; walls of post-it notes; the words 'Will you marry me?' hung from the trees on the backs; and a punt full of roses. If you top any of these, we want to hear about it: tweet @TCSNewspaper #Number40 #TCSBucketList.


A full list of the essential Cambridge experiences will be printed in the paper shortly. Pin it to your wall and keep track of the mad times you have here.

If you do anything utterly outrageous in your quest for Bucket List completion – or have an awesome idea for experiences to add to the list – drop us a line #TCSBucketList.

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Photos: MonkeyMyshin; Google; Joe Whitwell; Gavin Bateman for Churchill Spring Ball; Google