Into the blue: from the countryside to Cambridge

Meggie Fairclough 1 September 2014

I discovered my A-level results in a white cloud; literally. Metaphorically, I’m still up there. I had just begun the morning feed and was trudging up a hill in my Hunters, in search of our sheep that had miraculously disappeared overnight. It was cold, quiet and the field was littered with daisies and buttercups, yet all I could focus on the screen of my I-phone. Frost’s ‘Yellow Wood’ briefly came to mind; my paths were diverging before me, and oddly enough one of them seemed to take me away from the green grass and into Cambridge blue.

I have been living in a bubble for the majority of my school life; content in thinking that wind farms and badger culls are of the upmost importance in terms of news. Private schools in the country aren’t so much different in quality or standard to any other school, but may instead provide a smokescreen of mowed lawns and identical trees away from the outside world. University I know will pop this bubble and undoubtedly it will be a shock. My safe cellophane skies will cloud, but at the end of the day I am ready to face the real student world head-on, from the blurry nights at Cindies, to tackling a hangover whilst trying to look remotely intelligent at an early lecture.

I will miss the early morning dew and the grisly chuckle of the tractor, the families armoured in tweed and enamelling of mud, but most of all the cows (they, like me, can spend hours ruminating and staring off into the distance with their own thoughts). But missing something does not mean it’s gone, but simply adapted or refined. The cheesy oatcakes and Marston’s Pedigree of Derbyshire will give way to famous fish finger sandwiches and my cows will be replaced with the Murray Edward’s cat or occasional lost pigeon. It’s not so much a change of colour but simply a different shade of grey; a different, not necessarily bad, way of life.

My Grandad always told me ‘Cambridge is not a place for country girls’ (saying that, he still thinks that making bacon butties and babies are the sign of a fulfilled life for a woman). Country girls still wear flowers in their hair, dance with no shoes on and wear pigtails, and at first, the world away from this life scared me. It still does honestly, but getting into Murray Edwards College at Cambridge now feels more blue than the black obtainable chasm I once thought it would be. My friends worry that I will become a stuck-up rowing boffin, but truth be told I don’t think I will change much at all. I still plan to walk the empty streets at 6am wearing no make up, and, humiliating as it is to admit, I still plan to listen to The Archers on the radio. Though this may be a naïve thought that I will have the strength to do this after tequila nights, I hope to stick to my roots and be a country girl in the city.

My Grandad also thought that Murray Edwards as a girls’ college, was either a nunnery or a finishing school where I would be firstly refined in quick wit and rapid repartee, then quickly married off to a rich husband. I on the other hand thought that a girls’ college was full of people like Sue Perkins off the Great British Bake off (huge fan) and I would be going into a Barbie’s life of pink rather than blue. I was not expecting however, for Murray Edwards to be more like an extended group of the Spice Girls, with not only Sporty, Scary and Posh, but girls from every background, with every personality and of every type imaginable.  From what I can see, at Murray Edwards there is no ‘one cap fits all’ and I think that’s what drew me to applying in the first place; the thing commonly shared is that we are women who expect to lead the way.

Being a psychologist my preparation for leaving home will be more mental than that which you can cram into a suitcase, and this is by far more difficult. Unlike many others, I have so far a suitcase with enough red bull to fuel an army and a bike (equipped with bell, basket and a lock that could have come out of Fort Knox). The support prior to attending Murray Edwards has been so useful and welcoming that I now don’t really feel I am stepping into the unknown blue at all; I already have friends, ideas and options and feel more excited than scared. My future is not blue or grey or white. My future seems bright; my future’s orange.

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