Freshers 2014: The Joy of ‘Bridgemas’

by Cherish Watton on 15 December 2014

I’m writing this blog whilst enjoying a cup of tea and shortcake in the comfort of Fitzbillies, in the great joy of having submitted my last essay of the term, this week on the reign of Frederick Barbarossa. We’re coming to the end of the Bridgemas period at Cambridge, the final week of term before the Christmas break, where all college festivities take place. You can tell it’s Bridgemas, certainly by the healthy number of rather wonderful Christmas jumpers adorning those at the Sidgwick Site. 
It’s odd to think that I’ve come to the end of my first term at Cambridge, ‘surviving the Michaelmas term’ in the words of my Director of Studies! It’s amazing to think of all manner of things which have taken place in the short period of 8 weeks as a Fresher; matriculation, writing essays on a completely new period of history (the Central Middle Ages), attending individual and group supervisions, lectures, Formal Halls, debates and societies – all part of what was the elusive ‘Cambridge bubble’.
The last few weeks have certainly been as busy at the first few, but one of the valuable things has been settling into a routine for the week, fitting in reading for the essays around lectures and other commitments, culminating in the writing of the essay ahead of supervision. I continue to thoroughly enjoy my lectures, it is really quite astounding how your way of thinking about a certain topic or subject can change so quickly by looking at things from a new perspective. Only yesterday we had a lecture exploring the period from the end of World War One to World War Two; the ‘post-war years’. My perception of how I would approach a topic I had studied a huge amount before, had instantly changed and challenged my way of thinking. This is not unusual, there are a number of times when you go away with your whole perception of a topic or period of history completely transformed; it’s truly fascinating...
I remember quite vividly this time a few years ago when I came up to Cambridge in December...nervously sipping tea in Fitzbillies before attending the interviews, which actually turned out to be much better than I had expected! It still at times feels quite surreal that I am here, especially when walking through the beautiful grounds of King’s College as a ‘shortcut’ into town. I am honestly over the moon that I am here following my passion, submerging myself in the study of History every week, having my way of thinking challenged, being able to learn from experts in the field in a multiplicity of areas.
As part of this blog, I was asked to look at what advice I might give to Fresher’s who would be in the same position this time next year. It’s hard to give advice for a period when things are so very different from certainly anything that I had been accustomed to before. I honestly don’t think there is anything that can fully prepare you for the mixture of experiences you have in your first term, and these of course vary for each individual. Nevertheless, my one piece of advice would be to embrace it – things are busy, you seem to have too much to do in such a short amount of time, but without being clichéd ‘go with flow’, make the most of the plethora of both intellectual and social opportunities which you have at your fingertips....
On that note, I shall conclude my final blog of the term. I’m very much looking forward to further enjoying the festivities of Bridgemas, including Christmas Formal Hall tomorrow, followed by performing as part of the Cavendish Chorale in the college Christmas Carol Concert on Saturday – maybe see some of you there...
To this term I bid adieu...
Wishing all readers of this blog a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!

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