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A Week in the Life: Cambridge edition

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Interview Discussion 30-01-2014
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    Ah ok - i understand now - lectures are a good thing
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    (Original post by Apagg)
    Spreadsheet attached
    You have two showers a week? cool
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    Ew, sweaty bastard...
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    (Original post by Poops)
    You have two showers a week? cool
    das jus nasty
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    I'm somewhat of an old timer I'm afraid, but I also think having been left a year (doing an MSc at Newcastle, in-fact), I'd like to think I can give a fairly objective overview of what a week in Cambridge used to be like.

    Subject: Geography, College: Selwyn

    In geography, like most arts subjects, you seem to get 8-12 supervisions a term (pretty constant over the 3 years for me at least). The workload picked up in 2nd/3rd year as there was coursework and dissertation to consider as well. I found myself spending 4/4.5 days a week on 1 supervision essay for sure. Then either: 2.5 days coursework/diss, 2.5-3 days for the other supervision or on blissful weeks, had a weekend (or mid-week) off. This framework was pretty set, and seems pretty standard for many 'Arts' subjects.

    Typical Week:

    Monday - 10am - 2hrs lectures. Lunch. 1pm-ish Go to library, start main weekly essay reading. 6pm - College, Hall, waste about 2 hours after dinner. 9pm-1am, reading, bed.

    Tuesday - Day off lectures. All day library, hardcore reading for said essay. 4pm Insert one of my society/committee meetings here (I didn't do too much, but had a couple of commitments each week, the Staff/Student committee, for example). 7pm - Usually go to formal, bottle of wine, Cindies or hours of drunken JCR fun.

    Weds - Lectures [hungover], very rarely missed. Lunch. 1pm - Library until hall, possible afternoon lull if hangover returns. 8pm-1am - read again, probably bored with the subject by now

    Thursday - probably no lectures, start planning and writing essay. Afternoon: may have computer class/supervision/practical etc. 6pm - Hall. Evening: This will either be a steady essay finish and a film, or an essay crisis until 3am. You can never really tell.

    Friday - Hopefully have essay finished. Print off. Hand in, Go to maybe just 1 morning lecture. Go and pick up some reading for the next supervision, or do some work for a practical bit of coursework/dissertation etc. I usually tried to squeeze in some afternoon sport if possible on a Friday, then maybe a bit more work in the evening, but more likely lazing around and going out/bop if enough people were keen.

    Saturday - Continue with the work as of yesterday. However, on quiet weeks a lot of Saturday was wasted through turning out for the college 2nd XI football/hockey teams and finding general reasons to waste time. In really busy weeks though, these fell by the way-side to an extent. Spent Sturday evening in the bar/out for dinner most weekends, but again, not always.

    Sunday - Had a bit of a mantra I would never work Sunday mornings, which I think is a good idea. I recall working about 2 sunday mornings my whole 3 years. Usually, this was a lie-in til 10am, then play Mixed LAX, then brunch. Uber lie-in if no LAX. Sunday afternoon usually quiet too, possibly finishing reading or c/wk type stuff, could be more sport though.
    One thing I would say is that Sunday evenings on busy weeks (especially with 2 supervision deadlines) could be fantastic essay crises, and you have to be prepared to stay up most of the night a few times. Other nights though, bar and bed by 1am.

    I would like to think that is a pretty honest Artists week. As for Scientists, their added structure and number of deadlines means they did seem to have *more* work, although with the Artist workload you could always do more, even when you'd read enough, and some people did.

    Anyway, from my experience, that weekly routine is not just enough to pass (far from it...) and led to a pretty good balance. I couldn't have done much more extra-curricular, but some people can so fair play if so. Don't expect much more than 6hrs sleep a night (my ideal...), but you're probably over-doing it if you get less than that regularly. As for supervision work, the Cambridge Wiki is really rational; don't exaggerate it, treat it as learning for good, punchy exam answers.

    Oh, and you do more work at Cambridge than for a Newcastle MSc, but not by as much as some people would guess (though the fact it's a Masters probably makes the comparison less extreme). Cambridge is managable, just be realistic between the two extremes.

    (P.S) apologies if the tense in the above is confusing as hell...
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    (Original post by Vazzyb)
    lol .... i was thinking more like 75% but .... 30% ok lol - i suppose you do have saturday lectures!? wait ur an engineer lol hmm
    Nope, I'm a physicist, and don't have saturday lectures. With the exception of maths lectures, there were no notes to make in lectures this year, so I could just read through the notes at a later date.
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    would be cool to hear an Architecture student's account
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    Just a touch off topic, how much work is done off Wikipedia? Or what is the other favored source?
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    The other favoured source is ACTUAL TEXTS.
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    I haven't found myself using Wikipedia much, simply because it's generally easier to find the information as it's arranged in books for essays, and because the lecture notes cover everything for the problem sheet type subjects.
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    (Original post by Scipio90)
    I haven't found myself using Wikipedia much, simply because it's generally easier to find the information as it's arranged in books for essays, and because the lecture notes cover everything for the problem sheet type subjects.
    You don't count: you're not an Arts student :p: Although I do know some science students who find it useful.

    wikipedia is pretty useful for working out which books to bother reading or not bother reading, and to find out who originated certain theories or terms that are being used frequently in a text (when you can't be bothered to read through the notes) And also for defining terms when you're trying to write an accessible introduction before drawing in all of your text based sources into an argument.
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    (Original post by Craghyrax)
    You don't count: you're not an Arts student :p:
    Surely it's us scientists who do all the counting? *puns*
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    Wikipedia is highly useful if you can't for the life of you remember what the equation for current density is, can't find the databook and have a supervision in 10 minutes.
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    (Original post by Scipio90)
    Surely it's us scientists who do all the counting? *puns*
    Lol no. The Psychologists and Sociologists go overboard with counting/quantitative research and statistics in their exuberance to assert their 'Social Science' credibility
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    I might post one of these up next week. Show you all just how much time I do waste on TSR
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    (Original post by Craghyrax)
    Lol no. The Psychologists and Sociologists go overboard with counting/quantitative research and statistics in their exuberance to assert their 'Social Science' credibility
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wX5II-BJ8hI
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    (Original post by jismith1989)
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wX5II-BJ8hI
    It's a cute song, but totally inaccurate :p:
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    I love Tom Lehrer.
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    (Original post by The West Wing)
    It's a cute song, but totally inaccurate :p:
    Of course it is! Sociology is definitely a worthwhile subject. I don't know about the extent that it may have been 'mathematicised' though.

    But Ukebert's right -- Tom Lehrer is very cool! :cool:

    Anyway, don't mind me, on with the thread...

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Updated: September 7, 2013
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