Secret Garden - An Inspiration

by Tianqi Dong on 14 July 2015


I enjoy visiting gardens, and every time I've explored fantastic gardens in either Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew, or the Eden Project in Cornwall, I feel very relaxed in the sacred silence of the plants. The garden at Lucy Cavendish College has its own beauty in the same way. Numerous plants and flowers decorate the college house and lakes, making it a perfect place to mature a dream. It represents a sweet dream in every student’s heart.

One day, I found a bunch of roses in a corner, bursting with passion and exuding a light fragrance. After that, I cannot help imagining that I am one of the roses blooming in our college. Oh, what a garden at Lucy Cavendish - it hides all our most cherished memories.

Quiet and silent, I have gone though my entire life. The most joyful moments to me are at night, holding a book under a bedside lamp, imaging splendid stories like castles in the sky. This is how I escape from stressful work and obtain creative thoughts. Inspiring thoughts on women’s lives come from female characters - from the innocent and strikingly attractive Tess of the D’Urbervilles, the confident and intelligent Elizabeth Bennet, to the knowledgeable idealist Dorothea Brooke. By comparing these romantic lives with complex reality, I've realised the mysteries of human nature and redemption. Life somehow becomes a self-redemption but I am still not sure how. This is what I'd like to find in this amazing land, Cambridge.

​Last year, I dragged my tired feet through London Heathrow and sat on the train to Cambridge, like a dead body without soul, floating from place to place. My mind walked a tightrope between outside sceneries and inner voices. I was seeking something. Watching outside the window, the countryside life seemed like fog in front of me, never coming close to see its real face, like a wispy dream. I was wondering, how I would spend my time in Cambridge. Would the time in Cambridge figure out my bewilderment and will Cambridge shape my future and let me dream a new dream?

The first book I read at Cambridge was a book on our College's starting point. Reading it was like reading my own mind. It is true that women were late to enter education. It was a tardy start, however, once started, it won’t stop. Our library is one of the best places in Cambridge to clear our minds, with a nice view of our secret garden. Every Saturday, after a delicious brunch, I prefer to spend some time at the top floor of the library. The library owns two large and cozy sofas, surrounded with numerous books and French windows. On a sunny day, I watch and catch the sunlight leaking on other roofs, drawing a harmonious and sweet picture. Sometimes when I feel tired, I lie down on the sofa and look at the shelves, imaging the stories inside and the author’s thoughts are with me. I listen to some jazz music, or do nothing, feeling the time flip my finger, I celebrate a refreshing moment in the week. Hidden in a quiet location in Cambridge, Lucy Cavendish is a place for meditation.

Being an observer at our College, I am impressed by the courage of women members who reconstruct the view of the status of women, the nature of marriage and highly mixed idealism, self-interest, and religion. Just like the various flowers in our gardens, words cannot express its beauty and charm. Giving students an opportunity to discover their inner selves, is always encouraged by our College. The diversity in the College makes the world a much more interesting place to live in. Now, I understand feminine a little bit more. It is not a state of fighting or working as a man, it is changed in to a balance of feminine features and working passion. I believe this is one of the most significant things I have leant from our College.

Stepping into my second year, the outline of my dream is becoming clearer. I do dream new dreams and from time to time, I feel that these dreams are not only dreams but a picture of a possible future. During this past year, I have learnt so much from friends and fellows, even had a chance to chat with our President about women's education and literature. I understand sometimes there is still a long way to go to realise our dreams. But who knows what will happen in the next 50 years? I hope at that time I can return to our college and sleep on the sofa in the library again, dreaming another luminous dream.