(Original post by sprazcrumbler)
Sup. I went to a pretty average state school where all of my friends were the smartest kids there. I came to assume that this would hold true wherever I went, and that I would easily bond with other intelligent people
at uni. I had done pretty well at school, all high A*'s and whatever, and thought that I could manage pretty well wherever I ended up.
So I went to Cam this year not really knowing much about it, I applied to Trinity to do phys natsci and got in. At the time I had no idea about Trinity's reputation, but since arriving I've discovered that it is hard working (top of the Tompkins table), full of geniuses
(5 of 6 British Fields medals, 32 Nobel prizes), formal, conservative, and filled with private school kids (These last 3 points I think are related, Trinity has the highest private school percentage of any oxbridge college). And I happen to be lazy, untalented, not comfortable with formality, generally liberal, and state schooled.
My subject is possibly one of the unfriendliest at the college, Natscis are naturally unsociable, and Trinity natscis more so. The sciences are overwhelmingly populated with private schoolers, as years of high quality teaching is pretty much needed to get in, and private school is where you get that, and I feel that i can't really relate to them that well, they have grown up in some entirely different universe to me and we generally don't have a lot in common. Also a lot of fellow natscis have come from places like eastern europe, russia, china, etc, and while that isn't an issue in itself, these kids frequently hang out in their own country specific groups, and lack the level of fluent english needed for a chat type conversation, rather than a scientific discussion. Both of these factors make me feel pretty lonely within my subject, and I have no one to turn to when I need help with my work.
Needing help with my work happens frequently, I cannot keep up with lectures, cannot understand problem sheets, and barely know what is going on in my supervisions. I think that the education I received at school was inferior to that of pretty much everyone I meet, I think that somehow everyone else is both naturally smarter than me and more motivated than me (I sat next to some natsics at lunch one day and they were discussing whether there was a concise geometrical proof for divergence. I did not know what was going on). I feel like I lost a part of my personality when I went from "smartest kid at school" to "dumbest Natsci at Cambridge"
I think I get on better with people outside of my subject. But when I socialise with these people I still have problems:
1. A lot are posh, don't care about money. Think £10 for a meal is "cheap", have never had to deal with the violence and drugs and anti intellectual sentiment so rife at state schools, don't realise how different the real world is to their comfortable "prep school to public school to Cambridge" life. They don't know either, how hard it was for normal people to get to Cambridge.
2. My subject still gets in the way. I have lectures at 9.00 six days a week, I don't really get a weekend, my longest day stretches from 9.00 AM to 9.00 PM, and then on top of this, I have questions sheets to do which take me twice as long as others because of my stupidity. Due to these factors, I never really get to stay up late and hang out, never get to drink too much, Never get to do anything during the day.
3. I don't fit in. The people here are nothing like my friends back at school.
I think I am going to see how the exams go this year, and if I do too badly I will drop out and reapply for somewhere else. I visit my friends at Bristol when my term ends and it just seems so much more friendly there than here.
All in all, I am alone. I am failing. I am unhappy.