All entries for Tuesday 04 April 2006
April 04, 2006
Been six months now in Cambridge and while as a graduate I am somewhat out of the mainstream university life nevertheless have a bit of insight into what it is really like at Cambridge. Here are a few observations
1. The intellectual snobbery is seriously overbearing. Virtually everyone styles themselves as intellectuals and do not miss a single opportunity to display their "intelligence". A typical exchange I had recently:
Making small talk to a girl at a social dinner (the conversation moves onto literature)
Me; Yeah so what are you reading
Her: i'm reading the portrait of a lady by henry james… hardy said about james he has a "ponderously warm manner of saying nothing in infinite sentences" which is about right.
Me (thinking to myself…you and henry james have a lot in common…)
2. There is this odd obsession with rowing. I mean virtually everyone does it…why I have no iidea. Tried it for a term but gave up as getting up at 6am, breaking into a sweat and having dinner with girl rowers with bigger muscles than me is not my idea of fun
3. Cambridge students work far too hard the libraries are overpacked and the queues for vacation borrowing are a mile long
4. After a couple of weeks all the state school students and grammar school students have perfected a plummy accent and start wearing pashminas and leather brogues and rugby shirts with turned up collars and are virtually undistinguishable from ex public school boys
5. Virtually every student is bordering on alcoholiism. Formal halls and college bars are scary as the blood alcohol levels of the occupants are sky high.
On the insistance of Tommy I finally coughed up the necessary 20 pounds to join WGA and can now resume blogging. Looking back over my posts they seem as if by a completely different person. But then the halycon days of youthful irresponsibility must end and one must face up to the more serious issues such as getting a job, desperately trying to stop the inevitable and drifting away from your old uni friends, repaying your student loan and dating girls who are interested in your financial assets rather than your er other assets.
At the same time there is a lot more uncertainty about the future. At university you have a group of close friends you see all the time and even as someone who is introverted and quite shy, it is easy to meet people and make new friends. Although in theory you are away from home and have all this freedom you have the safety net of returning home at the end of term.
The Masters degree was in a sense partly to delay the job decision and also just because I was sore about not getting into Cambridge at undergraduate. These were in retrospect poor reasons, and the Masters is far from an easy option. Have never worked so hard in my life and have gone from sailing through my undergraduate degree to staring in blank uncomprehension at my course notes, wishing the lecturers would speak in English rather than academic double dutch and waking up at nights in a cold sweat after having nightmares of failing the finals.
There is also the scary thought of having to get a job and having one's social circle shrink to old university friends who are too busy with their own lives to meet up often and colleagues from work.
Just to bring everyone up to date on the happenings in my life….
Currently at Cambridge doing a Master degree which is incredibly difficult and involves long hours slaving in the library and constantly thinking they made a mistake in admitting me and having to get out a dictionary every second sentence when talking to the other students.
On the plus side lovely surroundings and it is nice being a short walk from the city centre rather than having to bus it to Coventry and praying that some hooded monster sitting on the other side of the bus will leave you alone, and bumping into hookers walking back from the Skydome after a late night film.