Cambridge - A Radically Different Student Life? Watch

Birdsnest
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For anyone with any experience of living in Cambridge, particularly as a student, I was wondering, with reference to the student life, how different is it to other universities, and how enjoyable is it?

Particularly with Fresher's Week and nights out, and also aspects such as the community you would have with your flatmates (not sure how much this exists within Cambridge's collegiate system), are any of these features lost to an extent when studying at Cambridge, as opposed to other universities?

Thought I might start this query as a new thread rather than merge into another large thread, as I would imagine this is a topic a lot of Cambridge offer holders/prospective students may be especially interested in.

Thanks :smile:
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Helenia
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(Original post by Birdsnest)
For anyone with any experience of living in Cambridge, particularly as a student, I was wondering, with reference to the student life, how different is it to other universities, and how enjoyable is it?

Particularly with Fresher's Week and nights out, and also aspects such as the community you would have with your flatmates (not sure how much this exists within Cambridge's collegiate system), are any of these features lost to an extent when studying at Cambridge, as opposed to other universities?

Thought I might start this query as a new thread rather than merge into another large thread, as I would imagine this is a topic a lot of Cambridge offer holders/prospective students may be especially interested in.

Thanks :smile:
I've never studied at another university, so I can't tell you how it compares, but I was very happy there.

If anything, the collegiate system is better for creating a community feeling - you socialise with the people in your flat/on your staircase, just as you would in halls elsewhere. In later years, being able to stay in college accommodation for the whole degree means that you can maintain those links easily with everyone, not just the people you would otherwise decide to share a house with at another university. For medics, who are known for being cliquey elsewhere, I think being in a college tends to make us less cliquey and more likely to make friends with people doing other subjects - although I have a group of good medic friends, I also have a very close group of friends who mostly did NatSci or Law.

I'm not really sure how different nights out are from other places, because I've only had a couple of student nights out elsewhere (and one of them was at Oxford!) The formal hall thing is fairly unique to Oxbridge, I think, and having a relatively small college bar is different from having an enormous university-wide union bar - though again, it allows you to get to know people really well, and I loved my college bar. Clubbing is relatively limited in Cambridge, compared with London or Birmingham, but in general the student nights out are fun (if you like cheese).

You do have to work hard, and sometimes miss out on a night out because of this, but it's not an enormous sacrifice. I would definitely choose it again.
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JamesMcAulay
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(Original post by Birdsnest)
For anyone with any experience of living in Cambridge, particularly as a student, I was wondering, with reference to the student life, how different is it to other universities, and how enjoyable is it?

Particularly with Fresher's Week and nights out, and also aspects such as the community you would have with your flatmates (not sure how much this exists within Cambridge's collegiate system), are any of these features lost to an extent when studying at Cambridge, as opposed to other universities?

Thought I might start this query as a new thread rather than merge into another large thread, as I would imagine this is a topic a lot of Cambridge offer holders/prospective students may be especially interested in.

Thanks :smile:
Hi,

For a start, I'd say that the Collegiate system is a fantastic way of meeting people from different subjects and yeargroups very quickly. My friends at other universities generally befriend people in their subject group and accommodation block, but don't tend to meet others in the upper years unless they're in the same societies. The community within every College is vibrant, open, and supportive, and your College quickly becomes your second home. I personally think this is better than simply living in a flat with a few random people in your first year.

A lot of Colleges run a "College Family" system where each Fresher is given two "parents" in the year above, one of whom studies the same subject, which provides a link to current Cambridge students, and means Freshers can ask questions they might deem too trivial or personal to ask the admissions office. As a son and now a father, I've gained a lot from the system, and hope my kids have too!

Nights out are generally pretty good, but also rather predictable. There are four main clubs, and two of them are renowned for cheesy tunes most days of the week. The other two are slightly more alternative, and provide some welcome relief when you've heard too much One Direction, Pitbull, and Gangnam Style. Having been out a few times in Glasgow, I can say that the Cambridge clubs are smaller than your average club in Glasgow, and the DJs don't have the same degree of skill when it comes to subtle transitions between tracks. (I went to a Music School, so these things annoy me :P ) However, because Cambridge is a small place and the clubs are small, you're guaranteed to meet loads of friends on nights out, and the atmosphere is usually really great.

Overall, being at Cambridge is quite different from being at any other University. (Apart from maybe Oxford, but that's just worse...) Though I haven't studied anywhere other than Cambridge, I've visited friends in Edinburgh, London, Nottingham and Glasgow, and I can honestly say that I can't imagine being anywhere but Cambridge.
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