From January blues to January joy

Jane Elinor O Connor 20 January 2018

New Year celebrations are long gone; Christmas Day is a mere distant memory. You pack your suitcases for that familiar journey back to Cambridge, and stumble groggily into your room wondering where – just where – did those six weeks go? The start of Lent term is hardly a time for champagne and party poppers, is it?

Yet, despite the January gloom gripping the nation, this new term can be a cause for celebration; there are plenty of reasons for post-Christmas cheer as the first week of Lent term gets underway – I promise!

Whether you are a first, second or oh-so-old third year, Lent 2018 is an occasion for joy and jollity. For all the freshers out there, you can look forward to what will most likely be the finest out of all of your Cambridge terms. Beginner’s nerves and introductions are a thing of the past – no more ‘what’s your name and college?’ malarkey – while those dreaded exams remain a safe distance away. This term, therefore, is one to enjoy!

Nor is the outlook bleak for second-years. I count myself among this band of mid-way waverers, and am rather proud (and amazed) when I think that I am almost halfway through my Cambridge degree. I know it is not the same if your subject runs a four-year course, or if you are one of those crazy medics who have signed up for a six-year stint, but at least we can all look forward to a free, fancy dinner at Halfway Hall!

I expect things are a little more nerve-wracking for those in their third and fourth years, as the prospect of life post-Cam becomes a reality. You might be planning an American road trip or an African adventure, or applying for high-flying internships and jobs. Or, you might, (as I know I will) be ready for a good rest and recharge before embracing life beyond The Bubble. Apprehension is probable as you look ahead towards the future, but excitement and anticipation are definite!

There are plenty of other reasons to say goodbye to gloom as this term gets underway. If your New Year’s resolution failed to last beyond the 4th January, the start of Lent term provides the perfect opportunity for Resolutions #2. Plus, with the number of daylight hours increasing each week, the Christmas sale clutter cleared from shop floors, and the chance to buy a new diary (something I get unashamedly excited about), the atmosphere mid-January is perfect for blowing away all mental cobwebs and preparing for a fresh new year. Lent 2018 brings with it a blank slate, a clean page (and maybe a new supervisor?), perfect if Michaelmas 2017 came with more essay crises than you care to remember!

And, to top it all off, 27th January brings National Chocolate Cake Day; if that’s not a cause for celebration, I don’t know what is!