The End of the First Year

by Cherish Watton on 1 July 2015

It is a beautiful summer’s morning back in Norfolk from where I am writing this blog post. Since coming home, most of my time has been occupied with unpacking and generally settling back in. It is a wonder how you can accumulate so much in just 9 months?! I think I probably mention how quickly time flies in most blog posts, but it is surreal that one year at Cambridge has already passed by. The amount I have ‘learnt’ both academically, culturally and personally in three terms has been immense.

The two months since my last blog post have been slightly different from my previous two terms at Cambridge. The advantage of exams in Week 0 is that the rest of the Easter Term, in comparison, is relatively more relaxed. Our lectures finished at the end of the Lent Term, which meant suddenly there was just that little bit more time for the weekly essay and seeing more of Cambridge! With friends and family coming to stay, it has been fun exploring different parts of the city, including the beautiful Botanical Gardens.

I moved onto studying British Economic and Social History from 1880 onwards which has been fascinating. After studying political history for the same period last term, the two papers really complemented each other, and enriched my understanding of such an interesting period. I particularly enjoyed writing on the impact of the two world wars on the position of women, and reached some surprising conclusions. I have also enjoyed getting to grips with some of the challenges of economic history, exploring the real reasons behind Britain’s relative decline at various times, as opposed to the ones commonly cited by the press and politicians at the time.

The Easter Term has also played host to three performances by the Cavendish Chorale; our concert at the start of term in St Edmund’s Chapel, followed by two performances at the college’s 50th Anniversary Super Garden Party. It was brilliant that we were able to put on our own concert, singing a variety of pieces from Mozart’s ‘Ave Verum Corpus’ to Bob Dylan’s ‘To Make You Feel My Love’. We performed to our biggest audience at the Garden Party, a wonderful event bringing people together across the ages and the wider college community, to celebrate an important milestone in the history of the college. Keeping in line with the 60s theme, we sang a number of pieces from the era, including one of my favourites – Simon and Garfunkel’s ‘A Bridge Over Troubled Water’, with some beautiful 3-part harmonies, arranged by our director Susie Self.

This brings to a close my final blog for this academic year. But before finishing, one little anecdote … I was recently in the University Library, where an elderly man started talking to me about his time in the navy during the Second World War. He had been linked with the University for some time, and upon telling him I was at Lucy Cavendish, he commented enthusiastically, ‘well that’s a special college’. That is certainly very true. This first year has been special both personally, and historically for the college, and I look forward to seeing what the second year will hold …