I know it’s a heresy, but when the week five blues have set in, it’s surely not too much to ask: is it really worth it? You work a seven day week. Your DoS openly describes the workload as “horrific”. You spend most of every day pouring over books. A reading week sounds like the sort of bliss only found in heaven and by week five, everyone is stressed, or depressed or studying Geography.
If we address the question objectively, we have to say that the answer is Yes. Cambridge’s performance in league tables, both national and international, is consistently excellent and we are (fingers crossed) those future graduates. But it’s about this time in term that the reality of life in Cambridge really starts to bite. Tiredness is a constant burden. The work is never done, never nearly done. The price to be paid for the privilege of a Cambridge education is great indeed.
Perhaps though, spending too much time obsessing about work can lead to us to develop ‘bubble-vision’. Life, I seem to remember, doesn’t only revolve around the next supervision. The whole concept of a work/life balance takes on a far greater potency when you realise that here at least, the former will willingly engulf the latter. And that’s not a good thing. Cambridge gives you almost everything you could ever need for the work, so you spend a little time on the life and we’ll all work out the balance together.
So is it worth it? I won’t lie to you. That’s a personal question and one which it would only ever be right for you to answer yourself. But the fact that you’re here at all hints at what you once thought the answer was. Have things really changed that much?
A little perspective and a little time will hopefully tell you all that you need to now. Until then, in the words of someone very, very wise/ a cartoon fish: “Just keep swimming”