Varsity: The paper of our dreams

Anon 1 April 2020

In their Love Letter to Cambridge, Anon reflects on how much their Cambridge life has been impacted by the genius of the Varsity editorial team.

It is an extraordinary time in history. Whilst a global pandemic rages around me, whilst a nation finds itself locked down, whilst the rest of Cambridge frets about examinations, my focus slips, my concentration fades and I drift. And I find myself always coming back to the same thought.

During my time at Cambridge I have thought almost exclusively about Varsity. As often as I could spare them, hours would be devoted to reading and re-reading the termly print issues. For me Varsity is Cambridge; the towers and turrets, the courts and backs, the chapels and churches of this town whisper one word to me, eternally: Varsity.

In some ways, I think it’s easier to be in Cambridge if you’re not a dreamer. Whenever I felt the pressure of my degree or of life in general, Varsity was my escape. Reading through the Varsity opinion section let me abandon the constraints of reality. For a few sweet seconds, I’d be transported to a magical place where the impossible could become possible. When I didn’t know what to think Varsity was there for me; from my first week until my last, my thoughts have been inspired by what I’ve read on those pages.

So yes, I cried when I got the email telling me to leave. I will miss my friends, I will miss my lovers, I will miss those I cried over and those I laughed for, I will miss those with whom I sat on Grantchester meadows as the sun soaked us and the punts drifted past, I will miss those who stuck by me on my darkest days and those I knew for only a fleeting moment: in short, I will miss all the Varsity columnists.

You may think, then, that on leaving Cambridge for the last time two weeks ago, there would have been a big newspaper shaped hole in my heart. But I’m an optimist. I know that I will always have the memories and I need only open my phone to bring the good times flooding back. But more than this, I carry within me a flame of hope, tiny but strong, and it tells me that when I move on from Cambridge into a life outside the fairy tale of my university years, maybe, just maybe, I’ll find something like Varsity again.