SteamboatMickey
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Hey, this is my first Ask Me Anything thread. Well, like a fair few people on this site I'm a first year at Cambridge and I'm studying History.

A few things about me: I'm a massive (massive) Coldplay fan, I was top poster for my applicants round (2017) here on TSR, and my friend gave me a whole box of crackers on Friday. 10/10 would recommend for snacking, with or without cheese.

Ask away!

Note: Responses may be delayed as I've just been invited to dinner with my college family like the cool person I am.
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laurawatt
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How have you been finding it? Is it easy to make friends at such a competitive university?
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SteamboatMickey
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(Original post by laurawatt)
How have you been finding it? Is it easy to make friends at such a competitive university?
I absolutely love it! In all honesty I've never been in such a place where I can instantly connect with people and not feel too 'geeky' or whatever. Despite any stereotypes it's a really welcoming environment and I have found making friends quite easy. Most people go out on nights out at least once a week (Wednesday Cindies or Sunday Life being the most popular), and at my college we have a group of us who like to go to the theatre (usually on Fridays). Plus, there's always college brunch to mingle and mix. People tend to be really nice, especially as everyone is a bit scared at first. Before arriving I was worried about 'not fitting in' but my fears couldn't have been more squashed!

Of course, it is competitive, but at least from the experiences I have we tend to help each other out. If someone is having issues with an essay, missed a lecture or class, etc etc people are quick to supply notes or help in whatever way they can. Plus, there is a great solidarity among students, so all in all I have found making friends very easy (perhaps easier than I have ever found making friends before).
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JoeHill00
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What's the actual course like so far? I'm kinda struggling to get my head round how much work/tutorial/everything else time you get. Also, what drew you to Cambridge's history course above Oxford or others?
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have
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(Original post by SteamboatMickey)
Hey, this is my first Ask Me Anything thread. Well, like a fair few people on this site I'm a first year at Cambridge and I'm studying History.

A few things about me: I'm a massive (massive) Coldplay fan, I was top poster for my applicants round (2017) here on TSR, and my friend gave me a whole box of crackers on Friday. 10/10 would recommend for snacking, with or without cheese.

Ask away!

Note: Responses may be delayed as I've just been invited to dinner with my college family like the cool person I am.
How are the chicken shops in cambridge?
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it's a shame useful AMAs like this barely get any replies, but *****y ones get 100. That's TSR for you.
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mah1000000
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Hi, awesome that you are doing this so thanks!

So, what college are you at and how did you choose it?
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Mesopotamian.
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I love history, it's my absolute favourite subject! What module/topic of history have you studied and are currently studying?
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CompSciCat
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What is it like being at Murray Edwards? (if I remember your college correctly)
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raskolnikova
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Hey, I have an unconditional offer for Law at Cambridge, so thank you for doing this!

1. Is social life primarily based around the college you are at, or do people tend to cultivate more friendships within their course?

2. I've heard that the first term of first year is one of the most academically challenging - did you find this to be the case?

3. Is there anything a state school student should be aware of?

4. Outside of studying, what do you enjoy doing within Cambridge?
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SteamboatMickey
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(Original post by JoeHill00)
What's the actual course like so far? I'm kinda struggling to get my head round how much work/tutorial/everything else time you get. Also, what drew you to Cambridge's history course above Oxford or others?
The course is pretty great, I really enjoy it. If you want me to go into more detail I will but I chose Cambridge primarily because I liked the city, my cousin went to Cambridge and loved it, and I liked the tripos system and the way it worked. I didn't do a great deal of research because I knew if I was going to aim for Oxbridge it was going to be Cambridge rather than Oxford, though. The course is heavier than other universities but never for one moment have I struggled to cope with the pace or anything.

P.S. I wrote up a really long answer and lost it. If you want more detail I will happily attempt to retype some of what I wrote though.



(Original post by StayWoke)
How are the chicken shops in cambridge?
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it's a shame useful AMAs like this barely get any replies, but *****y ones get 100. That's TSR for you.

You know I have yet to go to a chicken shop here, and I do love me some good chicken. :holmes:

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hey, i know right? but i wanted to do one anyway so hopefully there'll be some slow and steady traffic right :huff:
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SteamboatMickey
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(Original post by mah1000000)
Hi, awesome that you are doing this so thanks!

So, what college are you at and how did you choose it?
I'm at Clare College, but I didn't pick it. In fact, here is a very long and unhelpful story:

I stayed overnight at Kings College, and like everyone who gets to stay overnight at Kings College, I had my heart set on applying. However, my sixth form college wouldn't let me apply (they play the stats game heavily which is something I disagree with) and forced me to apply to Selwyn. Now, I liked Selwyn enough to apply. I am a disabled student so I could manage it, but I never thought I'd even get an interview so I didn't really put much thought into it. Anyway, I got interviewed at Selwyn and pooled. I got fished by Murray Edwards but it wasn't suited to my requirements due to my disability (which wavers from VERY mild to VERY severe). Due to this during Freshers Week, seeing I was really struggling and personally was steadily more unhappy and I made them aware of this, the college contacted the central university and I got offered a place and, what is even more rare, a full membership to Clare College (i.e. I'm a member of Clare, I graduate with Clare, and I even got a new CamCard and gown etc) instead of the college I was originally at. I am in a very funny position of being part of two colleges. Legally and officially (and mentally), I am a member of Clare College, and 100% Clare, but I know the staff and students at Medwards well enough to feel just as comfortable there too. This is a very, very unique situation though.

Long story short - I didn't put much thought into colleges and after a very weird, long, and EXTREMELY rare process I ended up at Clare College and I am very very happy here.

(Original post by CompSciCat)
What is it like being at Murray Edwards? (if I remember your college correctly)
Medwards was awesome. It's such an underrated gem of the college, and I think the community among the women there is second to none.... but I'm not there anymore (see above) and I love my actual/new college just as much.
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SteamboatMickey
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(Original post by Mesopotamian.)
I love history, it's my absolute favourite subject! What module/topic of history have you studied and are currently studying?
Woo history is the best :five: I'm currently doing five papers (which, I promise, is not as scary as it sounds).

1. Social and economic history of the late middle ages (1066-1500)
2. Medieval political history (1066-1509)
3. European history, 1715-1890
4. Historical Argument and Practise (a compulsory paper; basically just a lot of historiography)
5. Themes & Sources: The history of collecting
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SteamboatMickey
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(Original post by raskolnikova)
Hey, I have an unconditional offer for Law at Cambridge, so thank you for doing this!

1. Is social life primarily based around the college you are at, or do people tend to cultivate more friendships within their course?

2. I've heard that the first term of first year is one of the most academically challenging - did you find this to be the case?

3. Is there anything a state school student should be aware of?

4. Outside of studying, what do you enjoy doing within Cambridge?
Congratulations on your offer!

Here are my thoughts:


1. Is social life primarily based around the college you are at, or do people tend to cultivate more friendships within their course?

A: Social life is primarily based around the college, but that is not always the case and there are many, many exceptions. For example, I have many friends at my college but I also have a pretty good 'group' of friends in my lectures. We tend to sit together, laugh together, and are trying to arrange a formal soon so we can see one another outside of lectures. I also have friends who only really have close friends outside of college.

2. I've heard that the first term of first year is one of the most academically challenging - did you find this to be the case?

A: Yes, it was difficult. You get freshers flu, you might be doing topics you've never done before, you're getting used to a brand new style of teaching, trying to balance all of these new found responsibilites, and you are still trying to find your friends and just paddle through. It was a very difficult term (more so for me due to some rocky issues at the start) and even though it is barely Week 3 I am already finding this term far better. Further, I think getting used to the pace of lectures was hard. Though I understood the content, my notes from first term and my essays and all such things are horrendous, especially during the first five weeks. After the infamous week five, I found myself starting to find my feet and navigate Cambridge much better. Of course, I'm still a long way off, but I think the first term is the hardest and I know this was also the case for my friends.

3. Is there anything a state school student should be aware of?

A: I'm a state school student, and once you get past the 'omg everyone from west London private schools knows each other!!' everything is pretty relaxed, nobody worth their salt really cares about whether you were state or private, and I don't feel at a grave disadvantage because I went to a state school either. Don't worry about fitting in or 'trying to be someone else', as long as you have a friendly or at least non-threatening disposition the right people will come along.

4. Outside of studying, what do you enjoy doing within Cambridge?

A: I'm probably a very boring person especially compared to some of my friends but I love walking through the town. It's so pretty, and I can't help snapping photos (partly just to show off how pretty my uni is). I also love the wealth of societies, the ability to spontaneously head down to a pub on a Sunday night at 10:30pm, and the opportunities which are second to none.
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Mesopotamian.
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(Original post by SteamboatMickey)
Woo history is the best :five: I'm currently doing five papers (which, I promise, is not as scary as it sounds).

1. Social and economic history of the late middle ages (1066-1500)
2. Medieval political history (1066-1509)
3. European history, 1715-1890
4. Historical Argument and Practise (a compulsory paper; basically just a lot of historiography)
5. Themes & Sources: The history of collecting
Ahh, it must be nice to have 5 set and solid papers to do - and they sound quite decent too (especially the top 3 looking especially interesting).

Is there a specific era of history that interests you? I'm quite interested in ancient history myself with anything before the 1900s coming a close second 🤓 (okay and after writing that, I've just realised that I basically just listed history in its entirety 😂)
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SteamboatMickey
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(Original post by Mesopotamian.)
Ahh, it must be nice to have 5 set and solid papers to do - and they sound quite decent too (especially the top 3 looking especially interesting).

Is there a specific era of history that interests you? I'm quite interested in ancient history myself with anything before the 1900s coming a close second 🤓 (okay and after writing that, I've just realised that I basically just listed history in its entirety 😂)
SO MUCH! I find my interests constantly shifting which is so frustrating. I love political history, and I tend to absolutely love anything from the 1300s to pretty much the present day fascinating. I do love ancient history and earlier periods, but in different ways. I also love religous history (the Protestant reformation being my absolute favourite) and the Tudor period. The only part of history I don't tend to like as much is the 1600s-1700s. I don't know why though. I'm starting to find myself drifting more and more to political history in the 1800s-1900s, but I am also fascinated gernally in the evolution of political systems from the late middle ages to present. Damn I just love history!!
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Mesopotamian.
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(Original post by SteamboatMickey)
SO MUCH! I find my interests constantly shifting which is so frustrating. I love political history, and I tend to absolutely love anything from the 1300s to pretty much the present day fascinating. I do love ancient history and earlier periods, but in different ways. I also love religous history (the Protestant reformation being my absolute favourite) and the Tudor period. The only part of history I don't tend to like as much is the 1600s-1700s. I don't know why though. I'm starting to find myself drifting more and more to political history in the 1800s-1900s, but I am also fascinated gernally in the evolution of political systems from the late middle ages to present. Damn I just love history!!
Same here! I used to love watching Horrible Histories as a child because it just showed so much more to history than what we learned at school (which was pretty much just repetition of WWII - not to say this isn't interesting, but learning the same thing gets a bit dull after a while).

I've seen how they reformed GCSE history and I almost wish I could do the new spec 😂

Its nice to see someone as enthusiastic about history as I am! I'm thinking of doing a degree in history later on in life (I'm currently on a scientific path) just for the sake of enjoyment 😅
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Helenia
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Would you rather go to Oxford or St John's?

[offtopic] I remember you from lurking on last years' applicant threads, didn't realise what had happened with your change of college! I'm glad Clare is suiting you, I'm an alumna and loved it there![/offtopic]
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SteamboatMickey
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(Original post by Helenia)
Would you rather go to Oxford or St John's?

[offtopic] I remember you from lurking on last years' applicant threads, didn't realise what had happened with your change of college! I'm glad Clare is suiting you, I'm an alumna and loved it there![/offtopic]
Oxford, obviously!

In all seriousness Johns isn't too bad *cough* they actually let you into their college unlike their neighbour *cough* trinity *coughs again*

Thanks so much!! Yeah it was a decision taken (not lightly) during very early Michealmas but because of the paperwork it's only been an official switch (as in everything has cleared and the records both online and on paper have been changed) in the last few weeks. I love Clare though, and give it two years and I will be joining you as alumna. .
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Helenia
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(Original post by SteamboatMickey)
Oxford, obviously!

In all seriousness Johns isn't too bad *cough* they actually let you into their college unlike their neighbour *cough* trinity *coughs again*

Thanks so much!! Yeah it was a decision taken (not lightly) during very early Michealmas but because of the paperwork it's only been an official switch (as in everything has cleared and the records both online and on paper have been changed) in the last few weeks. I love Clare though, and give it two years and I will be joining you as alumna. .
Just wait till May Week and the ball, it's amazing!
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yusyus
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(Original post by SteamboatMickey)
Hey, this is my first Ask Me Anything thread. Well, like a fair few people on this site I'm a first year at Cambridge and I'm studying History.

A few things about me: I'm a massive (massive) Coldplay fan, I was top poster for my applicants round (2017) here on TSR, and my friend gave me a whole box of crackers on Friday. 10/10 would recommend for snacking, with or without cheese.

Ask away!

Note: Responses may be delayed as I've just been invited to dinner with my college family like the cool person I am.
having studied at cambridge, if, hypithetically you got rejected do you think it would be worth reapplying if you already had offers for imperial and Durham( I know you do history so maybe humanities equivalent to imperial)
Thanks
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