Into the Blue: Mr Darcy wouldn’t look out of place at Downing

Olivia Thomas 17 September 2014

Nearly every high school movie features an over-ambitious teen desperate to escape the confines of the white picket-fenced American Dream and move to the Big City, where they intend to “make it” (cue swelling orchestral music over tracking shot of Times Square). However, this coming-of-age tale sees an eighteen-year-old trade the bright lights and bus fumes of London for the cobbled streets of the Cantabrigian Dream.

I must admit that’s how it all feels at the moment – a dream. Three weeks since results day (August 14th, the date seared permanently into the collective brain of sixth formers across the country) and two until the day of the big move, I find myself drifting along in limbo, not yet entirely convinced that the Dream is finally becoming a reality. Being one of the last of my compatriots to fly the nest for their respective universities, every Freshers’ Instagram or Snapchat elicits the inevitable pangs of jealousy, quickly followed by trepidation. Each day I become slightly more aware of my impending fearful foray into the great unknown that is “Real Life”.

Naturally, it’s hard to know what to expect. I do know for certain though that my life is about to get a lot more… rural. London: 8 million inhabitants, Cambridge: 125,000. Cycling in London is not to be attempted by the faint of heart, whereas the two-wheeled appeal of Cambridge seems comparatively idyllic. My daily journey to and from school consisted of an hour-long commute into the City, where I spent my days in the literal concrete jungle of the Barbican; in contrast, my university ‘commute’ is a ten-minute walk from Pemberley-esque Downing College (seriously, Mr Darcy wouldn’t look out of place emerging wet-shirted from the Cam) to the Sidgwick Site, where my linguistics lectures will be held. Superficially, the two couldn’t be more dissimilar.

While I may be looking forward to a change of scenery, I don’t expect there to be a change of pace. London, metropolis that it is, is the other City That Never Sleeps, and Cambridge students must face this same insomnia. Presented with a multitude of opportunities, both academic and extra-curricular, and with only eight weeks per term to take advantage of them, living life in the slow lane at Cambridge just isn’t an option. And why would you want to? Attending the third-oldest university in the world and being surrounded by such a high concentration of great minds is an opportunity in itself, and one not to be taken for granted – I definitely won’t.

Is it naïve to assume I’ll be able to achieve everything I set out to? Undoubtedly. I foresee crises at 2am over unfinished essays, weekends locked in the library and teary phone calls about anything from the workload to homesickness. But I also anticipate taking up a sport I didn’t know existed, making life-long friends and marvelling at the chance to explore my subject in the company of some of the world’s most intelligent people. In short, I know that I’m about to embark on the first three years of the rest of my life; three years of the Dream.

Don't forget, you can read more of our 'Into the Blue' articles at the links below and you can find more information about arriving in Cambridge in our editorial here.
"Into the Blue: From the Countryside to Cambridge" by Meggie Fairclough
"Into the Blue: All aboard the Hogwarts Express?" by Amelia Oakley
"Into the Blue: from wide-angle to close-up" by Jacob Osborne