Freshers 2014: Lucy Cavendish, Month One

by Tanya Brown on 31 October 2014

I guess a good place to start this blog is to say what I was expecting before arriving at Lucy. Having attended the Mature Students open day at Lucy I knew how pretty the college was, but it was harder to get a grasp of the culture of everyday life here. I guess I anticipated a slightly older student body which was isolated from socialising with other colleges, and in particular men. Well I can say I was wrong on both accounts; most of my new friends are between twenty one and twenty seven – but really no one knows how old anyone is because there is so much more interesting stuff to know about a person, so everyone chats about that instead!

During Freshers Week the Ents team here did a great job and we had social events with other colleges (the Cambridge language for which are Bops and Swaps). Also St Edmund's is a stone's throw away from Lucy and I made friends with Eddie’s students very quickly. I have also joined a dining club at Lucy which enables me to meet a wide variety of people from other colleges over dinner…so far I have met some amazingly interesting people doing all sorts of subjects from Maths to Medicine.

Freshers Week was excellent generally with so much to get on with…sadly I was set my first essay half way through the week which was a bit of shock to my relaxed system. The difference that I have noticed with mature colleges is that because we have had life experiences we are generally better able to manage the transition to the challenges of Cambridge; all my friends are here because they love their subject, myself included. The lectures we attend are often by professors who are leaders in their field and already on two occasions I have found myself referencing books by my lecturers in my essays. I have found a particular passion for Biological Anthropology, and I had the opportunity to attend a talk by Dr Walsh on Ebola, which has so far been the highlight of my course. Naturally, when my subject supervisor set us a self-selected essay title I chose to do mine on the effect Ebola has had on primates and humans alike; I think this really exemplifies how Cambridge lets you shape your educational experience (to an extent).

One of the most enjoyable aspects of a Cambridge education is the supervisions, which are attended by one or two other people taking the same subject as you. Really they are an opportunity to widen and deepen your understanding in a subject and are generally in line with your lectures. All my supervisors are active researchers and love being able to talk about and share their knowledge with you, sometimes reading their credentials you could become daunted, but really they are all very friendly.

This week, college is full of talk of Halloween and fancy dress. There is a formal at Lucy with no gowns which means one thing – dress up time, paper maché is GO. I have two guests from Eddie’s coming to formal with me followed by a bop at Lucy. The day after we have been invited to the Eddie’s bop, which again means more dress up… although this time I am making slightly less effort, I still have essays to write after all!!