My trip to Cambridge Watch

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Richard Magrath
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Editor's Note - This post was originally posted to the newsgroup alt.uk.a-levels.

I returned home today from a week in Cambridgeshire, the intention of which was to visit Cambridge,
look round the colleges and attend an open day at Emmanuel. Having thought it over thoroughly, I've
finally whittled down my shortlist of colleges to two, though not the two I had in mind when I first
arrived in Cam. Well, one of them is the same. But I digress: as quite a few people here seem to go
to Cambridge, or are applying, or have some interest in it, I thought that this newsgroup would be
as good a place as any to post some of my musings on the town and its colleges. Heaven knows, my
parents are fed up of hearing them by now.

EMMANUEL: Where I had my open day. In hindsight the people there (teachers, students, other
sixth-formers at the open day) were as exactly as nice as I'd hoped, though going on my own when it
seemed everyone else was part of a large group was never going to be the most fun thing I'd ever
done. I appreciated all the greenery, and the fact that YOU COULD WALK ON THE GRASS at some points
(wow!), and some of the architecture was rather delightful - the chapel, for example, was almost as
beautiful in its minimalist, Protestant-y way as King's chapel was magnificent. In the end I didn't
decide to apply here as we were told by the ATs that it was the most popular and over-subscribed
college, and the entrance also seemed opposite a rather busy road that I didn't fancy having to
cross regularly. I have to say though, that the presence of the ducks will be my greatest memory of
Emmanuel! Especially when a troop of ducklings ascended the raised front lawn, and found they
couldn't get down again, looking forlornly over the edge and tweeting sadly (aaaaaaah!).

TRINITY: I wasn't really impressed by Trinity that much. The roses around the fountain were a quite
delightful touch, but the architecture didn't interest me, nor the supposed grandeur of it all. Also
I only managed to get to Trinity at 12:05pm, and though I don't suppose they would have let me try
and run around the perimeter of the courtyard, still...

TRINITY HALL: Odd one this. I went on the Tuesday and wasn't particularly impressed by this one
either. It had a nice, cottage-y sense to it but little else. Then, after my open day ended on
Thursday I decided to revisit Trinity Hall and was very impressed indeed. I don't really know what
made the difference. It could have been that my sinuses had cleared and I could smell the flowers.
It could be that, having now seen so much more of the city and realised how big it is, Trinity Hall
didn't seem in the middle of nowhere as it had first done, but rather perfectly situated. It could
have been because the second time around I was allowed to go through onto the back part of the
college, the bit that faces the river. I don't really know at all, it's just that the first time I
went there it didn't seem 'Cambridge' at all, and the second time it did. The grounds seemed a bit
limited, but that was more than made up for. If anyone here goes there - are you allowed to walk on
the grass at the back (the bit with the big tree)?

PEMBROKE: Described on Tuesday by my mother as "the grotty college". Having an hour to kill on
Thursday lunchtime, and being on my own, I decided to pop in and have a look at Pembroke, having
read part of a biography of Ted Hughes before I left for Cam. Wow. Is Pembroke one of the largest
colleges? Lots of huge, impressive buildings surrounded by lovely parkland. Not my cup of tea, for
some indefinable reason, but rather excellent all the same. Unfortunately a black mark was struck
against it as, upon leaving the grounds through the entrance facing Mill Lane, I tripped over one of
those canal-things between the road and the pavement, scraped my left hand and bloodied my right
knee. It later occured to me that if completely sober I couldn't manage to get out of Pembroke
without falling over and hurting myself, I had little chance of surviving after a few drinks in the
college bar.

JESUS: One of my shortlisted colleges based on what I'd read alone, I decided Jesus wasn't the place
for me after walking around the grounds. It just seemed, in my opinion, quite grim.

KINGS: It was only really a passing fancy to look round Kings, but it was the best decision I made
in that week. I never really liked the very large colleges, but I really liked Kings. The chapel
must be one of the most beautiful buildings I have ever been in, but the whole college just radiated
a sense of dignified scholasticism. Perhaps that was because at the moment I'm reading the book
Wittgenstein's Poker, which concerns events that took place in the Gibb's building at King's (room
H3, if anyone is fortunate enough to have access).

CLARE: Clare was alright. I only just popped in, but it didn't jump out at me, so I wandered around
a bit, regretted not having my camera with me upon seeing the view from the bridge, and wandered
out again.

PETERHOUSE: Nice, but a bit enclosed - no wide, sweeping vistas of dreaming spires, Cambridgeshire
landscape and drunken students in punts.

Hmm... where else... no, I think that was it. Overall, I thought Cambridge was fantastic. Much more
a city than I thought it would be, but with the wonderful ability (that Oxford sorely lacks, as far
as I can remember) to pass through a college's gates and suddenly find yourself in the countryside.
The architecture is wonderful, it's easy to find your way around and there were some rather good
bookshops indeed. I was tempted for a while to put down Anglia Poly on my UCAS list so I'd get to
live there regardless of how well I did in the Cambridge interview/A-levels...

So in conclusion, my trip to Cambridge was a total success and not in the slightest bit
disappointing. Before I was worried about having to go from living near a large city like Manchester
(not that I regularly go clubbing or anything!) to living in the countryside, but not anymore. Now I
only need to decide between Trinity Hall and Kings, impress the interviewer with my charm and
knowledge of Terrence Dicks' Doctor Who novelisations and get straight As at A-level and I can rest
secure in the knowledge that the next three years might not be so bad after all.

Rich
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Katy
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You investigated things far more thoroughly than I did - although I know what you mean about being
the only one there on an open day when everyone else is in groups. As far as I can remember, the 24
hours or so I spent in Cambridge mostly consisted of being late to various interviews/meetings
because I'd been shopping - I managed to do that at my Liverpool interview too; not a good move.

My choice of college was mainly based on how far I had to walk to get places and whether there was
anyone I disliked either at the college or applying to
it.

Katy www.geocities.com/kath783
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Chris Share
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On 5 Jul 2002 16:03:22 -0700s, Richard Magrath([email protected]) said...
[q1]>TRINITY: I wasn't really impressed by Trinity that much. The roses around the fountain were a quite[/q1]
[q1]>delightful touch, but the architecture didn't interest me, nor the supposed grandeur of it all.[/q1]
[q1]>Also I only managed to get to Trinity at 12:05pm, and though I don't suppose they would have let me[/q1]
[q1]>try and run around the perimeter of the courtyard, still...[/q1]

Good, someone else with taste Plus of course Trinity College is the source of all evil...

[q1]>TRINITY HALL: Odd one this. I went on the Tuesday and wasn't particularly impressed by this one[/q1]
[q1]>either. It had a nice, cottage-y sense to it but little else. Then, after my open day ended on[/q1]
[q1]>Thursday I decided to revisit Trinity Hall and was very impressed indeed. I don't really know what[/q1]
[q1]>made the difference. It could have been that my sinuses had cleared and I could smell the flowers.[/q1]
[q1]>It could be that, having now seen so much more of the city and realised how big it is, Trinity Hall[/q1]
[q1]>didn't seem in the middle of nowhere as it had first done, but rather perfectly situated. It could[/q1]
[q1]>have been because the second time around I was allowed to go through onto the back part of the[/q1]
[q1]>college, the bit that faces the river. I don't really know at all, it's just that the first time I[/q1]
[q1]>went there it didn't seem 'Cambridge' at all, and the second time it did. The grounds seemed a bit[/q1]
[q1]>limited, but that was more than made up for. If anyone here goes there - are you allowed to walk on[/q1]
[q1]>the grass at the back (the bit with the big tree)?[/q1]

Officially the laziest college in cambridge!

It's a really nice college, splat in the middle - less than 5 mins from gardies, also v. close to
Sainsburys etc. It's not as anal as certain colleges *coff*Trinity*coff* about walking on the grass
- you are allowed on the grass at the back, and in exam term you'll see lots of people eating their
meals on there even. The grounds in college are a bit limited, but we've also got some accomodation
on Thompsons's Lane (by Johns and Magdalene), and yet more up at Wychfield, past Fitz, but this is a
sports field as well as more living space.

[q1]>PEMBROKE: Described on Tuesday by my mother as "the grotty college". Having an hour to kill on[/q1]
[q1]>Thursday lunchtime, and being on my own, I decided to pop in and have a look at Pembroke, having[/q1]
[q1]>read part of a biography of Ted Hughes before I left for Cam. Wow. Is Pembroke one of the largest[/q1]
[q1]>colleges? Lots of huge, impressive buildings surrounded by lovely parkland. Not my cup of tea, for[/q1]
[q1]>some indefinable reason, but rather excellent all the same. Unfortunately a black mark was struck[/q1]
[q1]>against it as, upon leaving the grounds through the entrance facing Mill Lane, I tripped over one[/q1]
[q1]>of those canal-things between the road and the pavement, scraped my left hand and bloodied my right[/q1]
[q1]>knee. It later occured to me that if completely sober I couldn't manage to get out of Pembroke[/q1]
[q1]>without falling over and hurting myself, I had little chance of surviving after a few drinks in the[/q1]
[q1]>college bar.[/q1]

Grotty? Nah, I can think of worse. Quite a nice bar, and it's very convenient for lectures on
Downing or New Musems sites, and some other depts. Pembroke is on tha larger side true, but not as
much as Trinity, Johns, Girton.

[q1]>JESUS: One of my shortlisted colleges based on what I'd read alone, I decided Jesus wasn't the[/q1]
[q1]>place for me after walking around the grounds. It just seemed, in my opinion, quite grim.[/q1]

Dunno, never been there. A bit far out tho, it's half way out to the Grafton centre.

[q1]>KINGS: It was only really a passing fancy to look round Kings, but it was the best decision I made[/q1]
[q1]>in that week. I never really liked the very large colleges, but I really liked Kings. The chapel[/q1]
[q1]>must be one of the most beautiful buildings I have ever been in, but the whole college just[/q1]
[q1]>radiated a sense of dignified scholasticism. Perhaps that was because at the moment I'm reading the[/q1]
[q1]>book Wittgenstein's Poker, which concerns events that took place in the Gibb's building at King's[/q1]
[q1]>(room H3, if anyone is fortunate enough to have access).[/q1]

Kings is just huge, but not particularly rich - went overboard with the building a few centuries
ago, and hasn't made up yet. Used to be old Etonians over, now gone to the other extreme, one of the
highest state school proportions iirc. Oh, and you can still see the hammer & sickle on the wall in
the bar, at least you could a few months ago.

[q1]>CLARE: Clare was alright. I only just popped in, but it didn't jump out at me, so I wandered around[/q1]
[q1]>a bit, regretted not having my camera with me upon seeing the view from the bridge, and wandered[/q1]
[q1]>out again.[/q1]

Clare isn't bad, being next to the best college in camb They had a very nice ball this year, and
ther bridge isn't quite finished, nor will it ever be. That's about all I can remember about
it.

[q1]>PETERHOUSE: Nice, but a bit enclosed - no wide, sweeping vistas of dreaming spires, Cambridgeshire[/q1]
[q1]>landscape and drunken students in punts.[/q1]

Oldest college in cambridge... dunno anything else at all.

[q1]>Hmm... where else... no, I think that was it. Overall, I thought Cambridge was fantastic. Much more[/q1]
[q1]>a city than I thought it would be, but with the wonderful ability (that Oxford sorely lacks, as far[/q1]
[q1]>as I can remember) to pass through a college's gates and suddenly find yourself in the countryside.[/q1]
[q1]>The architecture is wonderful, it's easy to find your way around and there were some rather good[/q1]
[q1]>bookshops indeed. I was tempted for a while to put down Anglia Poly on my UCAS list so I'd get to[/q1]
[q1]>live there regardless of how well I did in the Cambridge interview/A-levels...[/q1]

Cambridge is indeed fantastic, and much better than Oxford. Much less of a big city feel I think,
and tis good for books - 3 big shops in the centre (Heffers, Waterstones, Borders) and several 2nd
hand places too. Most of the reason why my room's overflowing with the things really

[q1]>So in conclusion, my trip to Cambridge was a total success and not in the slightest bit[/q1]
[q1]>disappointing. Before I was worried about having to go from living near a large city like[/q1]
[q1]>Manchester (not that I regularly go clubbing or anything!) to living in the countryside, but not[/q1]
[q1]>anymore. Now I only need to decide between Trinity Hall and Kings, impress the interviewer with my[/q1]
[q1]>charm and knowledge of Terrence Dicks' Doctor Who novelisations and get straight As at A-level and[/q1]
[q1]>I can rest secure in the knowledge that the next three years might not be so bad after all.[/q1]
[q1]>[/q1]
[q1]>Rich[/q1]

Go to tit hall We're not the best academically, so the competition won't be as bad, and the
fellows are nice, unlike some of the other colleges...

IIRC there's a few reports from tit hall on http://www.oxbridge- info.org.uk/

chris
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Pete Bartlett
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"Richard Magrath" <[email protected]> wrote in message <snip>
[q1]> Rich[/q1]

There is more to choosing a college than the architecture . What subject is it for again? There
are big differences between Kings and TH for some subjects. E.g. King's doesn't offer medicine IIRC.

PEte
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Danny
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On Sat, 6 Jul 2002 01:40:52 +0100, Chris Share <[email protected] > wrote:

[q1]>Go to tit hall We're not the best academically, so the competition won't be as bad, and the[/q1]
[q1]>fellows are nice, unlike some of the other colleges...[/q1]

Sound like a good one to me.

Dan
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Martina
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Rich,

[q1]> There is more to choosing a college than the architecture . What subject is it for again? There[/q1]
[q1]> are big differences between Kings and[/q1]
TH
[q1]> for some subjects. E.g. King's doesn't offer medicine IIRC.[/q1]
[q1]>[/q1]
[q1]> PEte[/q1]

I think it might be a good idea to look at the admissions procedures (i.e. the number and type of
interviews, any written tests at the interview, school essays you need to submit beforehand,
preparatory reading before the interview etc.) of the colleges you´re interested in.

For Trinity physical nat-sci I only had one long (40 minute) interview (with a chemist and a
physicist) - no tests, no essay submissions. With hindsight that was really best for me, as I
didn´t have much suitable work I could submit. I also felt I did relatively well in the interview,
and I would have been scared of mucking it up in another one. I just wanted to go home and forget
about it all.

On the other hand, I know someone who would have preferred more interviews. She blacked out during
hers, and thought she would have been able to redeem herself if she had had the chance. She was
still pooled and fished out of the pool though.

Someone I know did English at Trinity, and he had to do a group discussion as part of the
admissions procedure. He wasn´t very happy about it afterwards, because he thought that some of the
other participants were a bit pushy and domineering and he didn´t have the chance to do justice to
his abilities.

M.
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Martina
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[q2]> >TRINITY: I wasn't really impressed by Trinity that much. The roses around the fountain were a[/q2]
[q2]> >quite delightful touch, but the architecture didn't interest me, nor the supposed grandeur of it[/q2]
[q2]> >all. Also I only managed to get to Trinity at 12:05pm, and though I don't suppose they would have[/q2]
[q2]> >let me try and run around the perimeter of the courtyard, still...[/q2]
[q1]>[/q1]
[q1]> Good, someone else with taste Plus of course Trinity College is the source of all evil...[/q1]
[q1]>[/q1]

OI!!! Why don´t you just honourably admit you´re envious of the best college in the world. :-P Don´t
let Chris indoctrinate you, Rich. My friend visited Trinity and she immediately said that that´s
where she´ll apply to do her Masters. Her difficult-to-please mum was also very impressed.

[q2]> >TRINITY HALL: Odd one this. I went on the Tuesday and wasn't particularly impressed by this one[/q2]
[q2]> >either. It had a nice, cottage-y sense to it but little else. Then, after my open day ended on[/q2]
[q2]> >Thursday I decided to revisit Trinity Hall and was very impressed indeed. I don't really know[/q2]
[q2]> >what made the difference. It could have been that my sinuses had cleared and I could smell the[/q2]
[q2]> >flowers. It could be that, having now seen so much more of the city and realised how big it is,[/q2]
[q2]> >Trinity Hall didn't seem in the middle of nowhere as it had first done, but rather perfectly[/q2]
[q2]> >situated. It could have been because the second time around I was allowed to go through onto the[/q2]
[q2]> >back part of the college, the bit that faces the river. I don't really know at all, it's just[/q2]
[q2]> >that the first time I went there it didn't seem 'Cambridge' at all, and the second time it did.[/q2]
[q2]> >The grounds seemed a bit limited, but that was more than made up for. If anyone here goes there -[/q2]
[q2]> >are you allowed to walk on the grass at the back (the bit with the big tree)?[/q2]
[q1]>[/q1]
[q1]> Officially the laziest college in cambridge! [/q1]
[q1]>[/q1]
[q1]> It's a really nice college, splat in the middle - less than 5 mins from gardies, also v. close to[/q1]
[q1]> Sainsburys etc. It's not as anal as certain colleges *coff*Trinity*coff* about walking on the[/q1]
[q1]> grass - you are allowed on the grass at the back, and in exam term you'll see lots of people[/q1]
[q1]> eating their meals on there even. The grounds in college are a bit limited, but we've also got[/q1]
[q1]> some accomodation on Thompsons's Lane (by Johns and Magdalene), and yet more up at Wychfield, past[/q1]
[q1]> Fitz, but this is a sports field as well as more living space.[/q1]
[q1]>[/q1]

Well, if you are seized with an irresistible urge to walk on grass, Parker´s piece is nearby. And
anyway, would you like to go somewhere called ´Tit Hall´?

[q2]> >CLARE: Clare was alright. I only just popped in, but it didn't jump out at me, so I wandered[/q2]
[q2]> >around a bit, regretted not having my camera with me upon seeing the view from the bridge, and[/q2]
[q2]> >wandered out again.[/q2]
[q1]>[/q1]
[q1]> Clare isn't bad, being next to the best college in camb They had a very nice ball this year,[/q1]
[q1]> and ther bridge isn't quite finished, nor will it ever be. That's about all I can remember about[/q1]
[q1]> it.[/q1]
[q1]>[/q1]

Someone told me this is the friendliest college in Cambridge (and he studied at a different one).

[q2]> >Hmm... where else... no, I think that was it. Overall, I thought Cambridge was fantastic. Much[/q2]
[q2]> >more a city than I thought it would be, but with the wonderful ability (that Oxford sorely lacks,[/q2]
[q2]> >as far as I can remember) to pass through a college's gates and suddenly find yourself in the[/q2]
[q2]> >countryside. The architecture is wonderful, it's easy to find your way around and there were some[/q2]
[q2]> >rather good bookshops indeed. I was tempted for a while to put down Anglia Poly on my UCAS list[/q2]
[q2]> >so I'd get to live there regardless of how well I did in the Cambridge interview/A-levels...[/q2]
[q1]>[/q1]
[q1]> Cambridge is indeed fantastic, and much better than Oxford. Much less of a big city feel I think,[/q1]
[q1]> and tis good for books - 3 big shops in the centre (Heffers, Waterstones, Borders) and several 2nd[/q1]
[q1]> hand places too.[/q1]

Definitely. Only evil people go to Oxford. As a punishment for their sins.

M.
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Pete Bartlett
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"martina" <[email protected]> wrote in message

[q3]> > >CLARE[/q3]

[q1]> Someone told me this is the friendliest college in Cambridge (and he[/q1]
studied
[q1]> at a different one).[/q1]

If I had penny for each of the college's that has been described as the friendliest in
Cambridge..... I'd have... ooh.. 31p!

Pete
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Pete Bartlett
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"martina" <[email protected]> wrote in message

[q1]> I think it might be a good idea to look at the admissions procedures[/q1]

Very true. In addition to your comments other admissions issues you can consider are :
Apps-to-places ratio, college's attitude to positive discrimination (ranging from does more-or-less
none to quite-a-lot)

BUT it is important to look beyond the (admittedly very daunting) admissions procedure and consider
the actual going to the university and where would be suitable for three years, not just interview
day! In my experience there is always a big disparity between what the college open day people (e.g.
students/tutors) want to talk about (e.g. how close college is Sainsbury's / late night drinking
arrangements / late night library arrangements) and what the open day attendees want to hear (e.g.
/exactly/ what should I wear on interview day?? )
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Martina
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Pete Bartlett <[email protected]> wrote in message news:[email protected]...
[q1]>[/q1]
[q1]> "martina" <[email protected]> wrote in message[/q1]
[q1]>[/q1]
[q3]> > > >CLARE[/q3]
[q1]>[/q1]
[q2]> > Someone told me this is the friendliest college in Cambridge (and he[/q2]
[q1]> studied[/q1]
[q2]> > at a different one).[/q2]
[q1]>[/q1]
[q1]> If I had penny for each of the college's that has been described as the friendliest in[/q1]
[q1]> Cambridge..... I'd have... ooh.. 31p![/q1]

LOL you´d be rich. I think Marcus said that it was the nicest college because his girlfriend goes
there and she was listening.

M.
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Martina
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Pete Bartlett <[email protected]> wrote in message news:[email protected]...
[q1]> "martina" <[email protected]> wrote in message[/q1]
[q1]>[/q1]
[q2]> > I think it might be a good idea to look at the admissions procedures[/q2]
[q1]>[/q1]
[q1]> Very true. In addition to your comments other admissions issues you can consider are[/q1]
[q1]:[/q1]
[q1]> Apps-to-places ratio, college's attitude to positive discrimination[/q1]
(ranging
[q1]> from does more-or-less none to quite-a-lot)[/q1]
[q1]>[/q1]
[q1]> BUT it is important to look beyond the (admittedly very daunting)[/q1]
admissions
[q1]> procedure and consider the actual going to the university and where would[/q1]
be
[q1]> suitable for three years, not just interview day! In my experience there[/q1]
is
[q1]> always a big disparity between what the college open day people (e.g. students/tutors) want to[/q1]
[q1]> talk about (e.g. how close college is Sainsbury's[/q1]
/
[q1]> late night drinking arrangements / late night library arrangements) and[/q1]
what
[q1]> the open day attendees want to hear (e.g. /exactly/ what should I wear on interview day?? )[/q1]

I think it´s wise to check out things such as accommodation. You could take issues like cost, size
of rooms, facilities etc. into account. Maybe it´s just my impression but the newer colleges seem to
have more modern accommodation (more en-suite rooms for instance) than the older ones. I wouldn´t
worry about the architecture. If you want to admire impressive buildings, you can always visit other
colleges if your own doesn´t satisfy you aesthetically! There´s also the Alternative Prospectus that
has entries about all the colleges and courses that might help Rich to decide. And wasn´t there a
poll taken among current students asking them which college they´d apply to if they had the chance
to apply again? I think Emma, Clare and Trinity did quite well (that might be just a figment of my
imagination).

M.
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Peter Windridge
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"Richard Magrath" <[email protected]> wrote in message
news:[email protected]... ...
[q1]> TRINITY: I wasn't really impressed by Trinity that much. The roses[/q1]
... Trinity ownz j00! how dare you not be impressed!
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Chris Share
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On Sat, 6 Jul 2002 19:00:54 +0100s, Peter Windridge(pjw62 @pleasedontspam.yahoo.com) said...
[q1]>[/q1]
[q1]>"Richard Magrath" <[email protected]> wrote in message[/q1]
[q1]>news:[email protected]... ...[/q1]
[q2]>> TRINITY: I wasn't really impressed by Trinity that much. The roses[/q2]
[q1]>... Trinity ownz j00! how dare you not be impressed![/q1]

Trinity only ownz j00 in the way that say Microsoft or the Borg do...

chris
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Richard Magrath
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"martina" <[email protected]> wrote in message news:<[email protected]>...
[q1]> Rich,[/q1]
[q1]>[/q1]
[q2]> > There is more to choosing a college than the architecture . What subject is it for again?[/q2]
[q2]> > There are big differences between Kings and[/q2]
[q1]> TH[/q1]
[q2]> > for some subjects. E.g. King's doesn't offer medicine IIRC.[/q2]
[q2]> >[/q2]
[q2]> > PEte[/q2]

I'm planning to read English. Someone once said that if you want to read Theology you must be able
to put up with people asking you over and over again if you want to be a priest. My observation
would be that if you tell people that you plan to read English, you must be able to put up with them
replying in a jokey voice "oh, that's easy, you already know how to speak it". Over and over again.
Ad nauseum. Alternatively, and more scarily, they'll ask whom your favourite author is, which is
something I find incredibly hard to decide upon. I *must* decide on a favourite author by the time
of the interview!

[q1]>[/q1]
[q1]>[/q1]
[q1]> I think it might be a good idea to look at the admissions procedures (i.e. the number and type of[/q1]
[q1]> interviews, any written tests at the interview, school essays you need to submit beforehand,[/q1]
[q1]> preparatory reading before the interview etc.) of the colleges you´re interested in.[/q1]
[q1]>[/q1]

That's how I formed my shortlist, though originally I used the possibility of a written test at
interview for a certain college (as there is a list at the back of the 2003 prospectus) as a 'black
mark' of sorts. Then it occured to me that, as I'm going to have to discuss literature anyway, for
me at least it would be far, far easier to have at least part of that done in writing. One lad in
the interviews discussion excercise we took part in (partially sitting on the grass by the duck
pond) said that he hoped there wouldn't be a written test "because if there is, then my response
will be just pure bull****". I think that in my case the opposite is more true.

The last thing I did on the Emmanuel open day was sit in on a discussion with the DoS for English.
Unfortunately it was useless as a chance to meet our would-be interviewer, as he told us he was
leaving in October to work in Oxford (poor man!). There were eight of us present, but most of the
questions were asked by myself and a chap sitting to my right (as we arrived there about 12 seconds
late - luckily the DoS arrived far later than that - we had to sit right at the front). The last
question I asked (I hadn't intended to ask it, but he misread my expression to think I had one, so I
had to think one up quickly) was "what three books should we read before the interview?" and,
interestingly enough, two of his three recommendations weren't even fiction. I say interestingly
enough, because I've noticed that in choosing books to read in preparation for the interview, I've
been reading very little actual fiction - instead philosophy, physics, sociology, even literary
criticism itself.

The fellow next to me (that's "fellow" as in "man", not "fellow" as in "associate of the college")
then asked what sort of questions we'd be asked. The DoS thought for a while, and said something
like "you'll be asked, say if you're doing Middlemarch for example, whether there really are
characters in a novel, or whether they are just ciphers for the author's views of human society".
He seemed a bit obsessed by Middlemarch. I spent that evening trying to come up with an answer to
his sort-of-question (I have one now, bringing in divine Providence and that sort of thing), and I
began wondering whether part of the interview might be about confronting the interviewee with
unusual and challenging ideas about the nature of the subject (as in the example given by the
Emmanuel DoS) and seeing how they respond - taking it on board, thinking about it and responding
intelligently, or finding it difficult to break away from their current A-level ideas about the
subject. This would also correspond with the description of the interview given at the Oxford
Target Schools open day in Sheffield I went to earlier this year, where we were told that the
interview was really a mock tutorial.

Actually, come to think of it, that can go on my list of reasons why studying physics at A-level is
beneficial to the study of English lit
- in physics you can never be complacent about your perception of and ideas about the world, as some
theoretical physicist is working right now to destroy them, not to mention the fact that what you
learn at A-level destroys what you learn at GCSE (i.e. potential wells replacing the Rutherford
theory of the structure of the atom, electrons as quantum objects replacing electrons as
particles, and the four (three?) forces replacing the traditional ideas of solidity and so forth).
Additionally, one of my physics teachers (who is sadly leaving later this month) is one of those
great teachers who meander completely off topic (in a good way!) to go into stuff beyond the
A-level syllabus that we're interested in, mostly quantum theory, rather than sticking rigidly to
the often simplified syllabus. This usually happens when he's drawing out some diagram for the
book, and remarks "well, this is simplified, it's not *really* like this...", where I jump in and
ask him what it's really like, and we spend the next hour talking about relativity.

If anyone has any thoughts on the interview system, and whether my thoughts about the nature of the
interview(s) has any weight, I would be very interested to hear it.

Rich
0
Richard Magrath
Badges:
#15
Report 17 years ago
#15
"martina" <[email protected]> wrote in message news:<[email protected]>...
[q3]> > >TRINITY: I wasn't really impressed by Trinity that much. The roses around the fountain were a[/q3]
[q3]> > >quite delightful touch, but the architecture didn't interest me, nor the supposed grandeur of[/q3]
[q3]> > >it all. Also I only managed to get to Trinity at 12:05pm, and though I don't suppose they would[/q3]
[q3]> > >have let me try and run around the perimeter of the courtyard, still...[/q3]
[q2]> >[/q2]
[q2]> > Good, someone else with taste Plus of course Trinity College is the source of all evil...[/q2]
[q2]> >[/q2]
[q1]>[/q1]
[q1]> OI!!! Why don´t you just honourably admit you´re envious of the best college in the world. :-P[/q1]
[q1]> Don´t let Chris indoctrinate you, Rich. My friend visited Trinity and she immediately said that[/q1]
[q1]> that´s where she´ll apply to do her Masters. Her difficult-to-please mum was also very[/q1]
[q1]> impressed. [/q1]

Ah, but I've already visited Trinity and remained unimpressed. Gotten my photos back today as well,
though only the colour ones (I usually shoot in black and white to disguise my lack of talent as a
photographer). Yes, for two days I was one of those annoying tourists who were wandering around
making too much noise, taking pictures of the most uninteresting things, and shouting "wow, Mum,
Dad, look at *this* building, it has spires"!

As for why you like Trinity, well, we all like different things. Since my own house and its
extensive grounds look not too dissimilar to Trinity, I thought I'd choose somewhere slightly
different. ;-)

[q1]>[/q1]
[q1]>[/q1]
[q3]> > >TRINITY HALL: Odd one this. I went on the Tuesday and wasn't particularly impressed by this one[/q3]
[q3]> > >either. It had a nice, cottage-y sense to it but little else. Then, after my open day ended on[/q3]
[q3]> > >Thursday I decided to revisit Trinity Hall and was very impressed indeed. I don't really know[/q3]
[q3]> > >what made the difference. It could have been that my sinuses had cleared and I could smell the[/q3]
[q3]> > >flowers. It could be that, having now seen so much more of the city and realised how big it is,[/q3]
[q3]> > >Trinity Hall didn't seem in the middle of nowhere as it had first done, but rather perfectly[/q3]
[q3]> > >situated. It could have been because the second time around I was allowed to go through onto[/q3]
[q3]> > >the back part of the college, the bit that faces the river. I don't really know at all, it's[/q3]
[q3]> > >just that the first time I went there it didn't seem 'Cambridge' at all, and the second time it[/q3]
[q3]> > >did. The grounds seemed a bit limited, but that was more than made up for. If anyone here goes[/q3]
[q3]> > >there - are you allowed to walk on the grass at the back (the bit with the big tree)?[/q3]
[q2]> >[/q2]
[q2]> > Officially the laziest college in cambridge! [/q2]
[q2]> >[/q2]
[q2]> > It's a really nice college, splat in the middle - less than 5 mins from gardies, also v. close[/q2]
[q2]> > to Sainsburys etc. It's not as anal as certain colleges *coff*Trinity*coff* about walking on the[/q2]
[q2]> > grass - you are allowed on the grass at the back, and in exam term you'll see lots of people[/q2]
[q2]> > eating their meals on there even. The grounds in college are a bit limited, but we've also got[/q2]
[q2]> > some accomodation on Thompsons's Lane (by Johns and Magdalene), and yet more up at Wychfield,[/q2]
[q2]> > past Fitz, but this is a sports field as well as more living space.[/q2]

The grass was a major issue. Sometimes you have an overriding urge to put heel on turf... Kings
swayed me because it has those massive lawns, though of course that's only an illusion (an illusion
that you can walk on them, I mean, not like that they're just painted on or anything). The only
downside to Trinity Hall IMO was the tiny lawn at the back - it was all rather nice, especially with
your back to the wall, but turn around and the idea of a big open space was gone. Of course, I am
being *really* picky and anal here. My sixth form college (attached to my former high school) has a
small concrete yard in lieu of a lawn, and is closer in feel to Strangeways than to a Cambridge
College. Not that I've been in Strangeways of course!

[q2]> >[/q2]
[q1]>[/q1]
[q1]>[/q1]
[q1]> Well, if you are seized with an irresistible urge to walk on grass, Parker´s piece is nearby. And[/q1]
[q1]> anyway, would you like to go somewhere called ´Tit Hall´?[/q1]

Shows a self-deprecating sense of humour. It also sounds like what they'd nickname a college like
that in, say, Liverpool. If they built a college named "Trinity" up there it would probably be
burned down within a week.

[q1]>[/q1]
[q1]>[/q1]
[q3]> > >CLARE: Clare was alright. I only just popped in, but it didn't jump out at me, so I wandered[/q3]
[q3]> > >around a bit, regretted not having my camera with me upon seeing the view from the bridge, and[/q3]
[q3]> > >wandered out again.[/q3]
[q2]> >[/q2]
[q2]> > Clare isn't bad, being next to the best college in camb They had a very nice ball this year,[/q2]
[q2]> > and ther bridge isn't quite finished, nor will it ever be. That's about all I can remember about[/q2]
[q2]> > it.[/q2]
[q2]> >[/q2]
[q1]>[/q1]
[q1]> Someone told me this is the friendliest college in Cambridge (and he studied at a different one).[/q1]

Pah, I don't want to be around *friendly* people. I want to be around a load of *******s. More
anecdotes to tell my friends back home that way. :-)

[q1]>[/q1]
[q3]> > >Hmm... where else... no, I think that was it. Overall, I thought Cambridge was fantastic. Much[/q3]
[q3]> > >more a city than I thought it would be, but with the wonderful ability (that Oxford sorely[/q3]
[q3]> > >lacks, as far as I can remember) to pass through a college's gates and suddenly find yourself[/q3]
[q3]> > >in the countryside. The architecture is wonderful, it's easy to find your way around and there[/q3]
[q3]> > >were some rather good bookshops indeed. I was tempted for a while to put down Anglia Poly on my[/q3]
[q3]> > >UCAS list so I'd get to live there regardless of how well I did in the Cambridge[/q3]
[q3]> > >interview/A-levels...[/q3]
[q2]> >[/q2]
[q2]> > Cambridge is indeed fantastic, and much better than Oxford. Much less of a big city feel I[/q2]
[q2]> > think, and tis good for books - 3 big shops in the centre (Heffers, Waterstones, Borders) and[/q2]
[q2]> > several 2nd hand places too.[/q2]
[q1]>[/q1]
[q1]>[/q1]
[q1]> Definitely. Only evil people go to Oxford. As a punishment for their sins.[/q1]
[q1]>[/q1]
[q1]> M.[/q1]

I'm sure Oxford has its benefits, things it's better for than Cambridge. If you want to buy drugs,
for example. ;-) Just kidding, of course, and I won't bore you with my tired list of Regional Jokes
Usually Said About Wigan or Liverpool.

What do you call a Scouser in a suit?

Oh, and to see whether or not MMH has read this post I've included a special grammatical error in it
somewhere. Find it and win a prize!
[q1]:-)[/q1]

Rich
0
Chris Share
Badges:
#16
Report 17 years ago
#16
On Sat, 6 Jul 2002 11:28:14 +0100s, martina([email protected]) said...
[q1]>OI!!! Why don´t you just honourably admit you´re envious of the best college in the world. :-P[/q1]

Why would I be envious of my own college?

[q1]>Don´t let Chris indoctrinate you, Rich. My friend visited Trinity and she immediately said that[/q1]
[q1]>that´s where she´ll apply to do her Masters. Her difficult-to-please mum was also very[/q1]
[q1]>impressed. [/q1]

No, you're being brainwashed... how else does Cthulhu get fresh victims?

[q1]>Well, if you are seized with an irresistible urge to walk on grass, Parker´s piece is nearby.[/q1]

Parkers piece? That'd miles away, down by the chem dept. Jesus green is a bit closer though.

[q1]>And anyway, would you like to go somewhere called ´Tit Hall´?[/q1]

You really need to ask?

[q1]>Someone told me this is the friendliest college in Cambridge (and he studied at a different one).[/q1]

Most of them have been described as that, really. Just avoid the ones that haven't

[q1]>Definitely. Only evil people go to Oxford. As a punishment for their sins.[/q1]
[q1]>[/q1]
[q1]>M.[/q1]

Yup, most evil place in the world bar one

chris
0
Richard Magrath
Badges:
#17
Report 17 years ago
#17
"Pete Bartlett" <[email protected]> wrote in message news:<[email protected]>...
[q1]> "martina" <[email protected]> wrote in message[/q1]
[q1]>[/q1]
[q2]> > I think it might be a good idea to look at the admissions procedures[/q2]
[q1]>[/q1]
[q1]> Very true. In addition to your comments other admissions issues you can consider are :[/q1]
[q1]> Apps-to-places ratio, college's attitude to positive discrimination (ranging from does[/q1]
[q1]> more-or-less none to quite-a-lot)[/q1]
[q1]>[/q1]
[q1]> BUT it is important to look beyond the (admittedly very daunting) admissions procedure and[/q1]
[q1]> consider the actual going to the university and where would be suitable for three years, not just[/q1]
[q1]> interview day![/q1]

Rest assured, I have done a lot (a ludicrous amount really) of research - reading the alternative
prospectus online, getting college-specific prospectuses, meticulously examining the little map of
Cambridge in the back of the uni prospectus, checking out figures, etc. My copy of the Cam
prospectus is covered in notes I've made.

On the other hand, one could argue that whichever college you end up at you'll be at Cambridge at
least, and will be taking the same degree course, which was why you wanted to go to Cam in the
first place.

BTW, if you're put in the pool, can you gurantee ending up (if you're not a girl) at either
Fitzwilliam or Robinson?

In my experience there is
[q1]> always a big disparity between what the college open day people (e.g. students/tutors) want to[/q1]
[q1]> talk about (e.g. how close college is Sainsbury's / late night drinking arrangements / late night[/q1]
[q1]> library arrangements) and what the open day attendees want to hear (e.g. /exactly/ what should I[/q1]
[q1]> wear on interview day?? )[/q1]

Yes, that does actually sound quite like my open day. :-)

Rich
0
Ginnie Redston
Badges:
#18
Report 17 years ago
#18
"Richard Magrath" <[email protected]> wrote in message
news:[email protected]...
[q1]> "martina" <[email protected]> wrote in message[/q1]
news:<[email protected]>...
[q2]> > Rich,[/q2]
[q2]> >[/q2]
[q3]> > > There is more to choosing a college than the architecture . What subject is it for again?[/q3]
[q3]> > > There are big differences between Kings[/q3]
and
[q2]> > TH[/q2]
[q3]> > > for some subjects. E.g. King's doesn't offer medicine IIRC.[/q3]
[q3]> > >[/q3]
[q3]> > > PEte[/q3]
[q1]>[/q1]
[q1]> I'm planning to read English. Someone once said that if you want to read Theology you must be able[/q1]
[q1]> to put up with people asking you over and over again if you want to be a priest. My observation[/q1]
[q1]> would be that if you tell people that you plan to read English, you must be able to put up with[/q1]
[q1]> them replying in a jokey voice "oh, that's easy, you already know how to speak it". Over and over[/q1]
[q1]> again. Ad nauseum.[/q1]

(Sympathies. Be prepared. That joke *never* dies.)

[q1]> Alternatively, and more scarily, they'll ask whom your favourite author is, which is something I[/q1]
[q1]> find incredibly hard to decide upon. I *must* decide on a favourite author by the time of the[/q1]
[q1]> interview![/q1]
[q1]>[/q1]

No, just have a varied short list of favourite texts with some decent reasons for your choice.
[q2]> >[/q2]
[q2]> >[/q2]
[q2]> > I think it might be a good idea to look at the admissions procedures[/q2]
(i.e.
[q2]> > the number and type of interviews, any written tests at the interview, school essays you need to[/q2]
[q2]> > submit beforehand, preparatory reading before[/q2]
the
[q2]> > interview etc.) of the colleges you´re interested in.[/q2]
[q2]> >[/q2]
[q1]>[/q1]
[q1]> That's how I formed my shortlist, though originally I used the possibility of a written test at[/q1]
[q1]> interview for a certain college (as there is a list at the back of the 2003 prospectus) as a[/q1]
[q1]> 'black mark' of sorts. Then it occured to me that, as I'm going to have to discuss literature[/q1]
[q1]> anyway, for me at least it would be far, far easier to have at least part of that done in writing.[/q1]
[q1]> One lad in the interviews discussion excercise we took part in (partially sitting on the grass by[/q1]
[q1]> the duck pond) said that he hoped there wouldn't be a written test "because if there is, then my[/q1]
[q1]> response will be just pure bull****". I think that in my case the opposite is more true.[/q1]
[q1]>[/q1]

Practice looking at and commenting on "unseen" poems or short prose extracts. Whether you have a
written or oral test, some discussion of an unseen piece is likely. Read David Lodge: The Art of
Fiction, if you haven't already done so. Don't worry about the jargon, just look at the way he
really focuses on what the writers are up to!

[q1]> The last thing I did on the Emmanuel open day was sit in on a discussion with the DoS for English.[/q1]
[q1]> Unfortunately it was useless as a chance to meet our would-be interviewer, as he told us he was[/q1]
[q1]> leaving in October to work in Oxford (poor man!). There were eight of us present, but most of the[/q1]
[q1]> questions were asked by myself and a chap sitting to my right (as we arrived there about 12[/q1]
[q1]> seconds late - luckily the DoS arrived far later than that - we had to sit right at the front).[/q1]
[q1]> The last question I asked (I hadn't intended to ask it, but he misread my expression to think I[/q1]
[q1]> had one, so I had to think one up quickly) was "what three books should we read before the[/q1]
[q1]> interview?" and, interestingly enough, two of his three recommendations weren't even fiction. I[/q1]
[q1]> say interestingly enough, because I've noticed that in choosing books to read in preparation for[/q1]
[q1]> the interview, I've been reading very little actual fiction - instead philosophy, physics,[/q1]
[q1]> sociology, even literary criticism itself.[/q1]
[q1]>[/q1]
[q1]> The fellow next to me (that's "fellow" as in "man", not "fellow" as in "associate of the college")[/q1]
[q1]> then asked what sort of questions we'd be asked. The DoS thought for a while, and said something[/q1]
[q1]> like "you'll be asked, say if you're doing Middlemarch for example, whether there really are[/q1]
[q1]> characters in a novel, or whether they are just ciphers for the author's views of human society".[/q1]
[q1]> He seemed a bit obsessed by Middlemarch. I spent that evening trying to come up with an answer to[/q1]
[q1]> his sort-of-question (I have one now, bringing in divine Providence and that sort of thing), and I[/q1]
[q1]> began wondering whether part of the interview might be about confronting the interviewee with[/q1]
[q1]> unusual and challenging ideas about the nature of the subject (as in the example given by the[/q1]
[q1]> Emmanuel DoS) and seeing how they respond - taking it on board, thinking about it and responding[/q1]
[q1]> intelligently,[/q1]

Yes, absolutely. As I say in Scintillae, they won't necessarily expect you to have an answer, but
they will expect you to be able to break the question down and discuss (aspects of) it
intelligently. Show flexibility of mind and the ability to engage with the text in a way you hadn't
necessarily thought of before!

or finding it
[q1]> difficult to break away from their current A-level ideas about the subject. This would also[/q1]
[q1]> correspond with the description of the interview given at the Oxford Target Schools open day in[/q1]
[q1]> Sheffield I went to earlier this year, where we were told that the interview was really a mock[/q1]
[q1]> tutorial.[/q1]
[q1]>[/q1]
[q1]> Actually, come to think of it, that can go on my list of reasons why studying physics at A-level[/q1]
[q1]> is beneficial to the study of English lit[/q1]
[q1]> - in physics you can never be complacent about your perception of and ideas about the world, as[/q1]
[q1]> some theoretical physicist is working right now to destroy them, not to mention the fact that[/q1]
[q1]> what you learn at A-level destroys what you learn at GCSE (i.e. potential wells replacing the[/q1]
[q1]> Rutherford theory of the structure of the atom, electrons as quantum objects replacing electrons[/q1]
[q1]> as particles, and the four (three?) forces replacing the traditional ideas of solidity and so[/q1]
[q1]> forth). Additionally, one of my physics teachers (who is sadly leaving later this month) is one[/q1]
[q1]> of those great teachers who meander completely off topic (in a good way!) to go into stuff[/q1]
[q1]> beyond the A-level syllabus that we're interested in, mostly quantum theory, rather than[/q1]
[q1]> sticking rigidly to the often simplified syllabus. This usually happens when he's drawing out[/q1]
[q1]> some diagram for the book, and remarks "well, this is simplified, it's not *really* like[/q1]
[q1]> this...", where I jump in and ask him what it's really like, and we spend the next hour talking[/q1]
[q1]> about relativity.[/q1]
[q1]>[/q1]
[q1]> If anyone has any thoughts on the interview system, and whether my thoughts about the nature of[/q1]
[q1]> the interview(s) has any weight, I would be very interested to hear it.[/q1]
[q1]>[/q1]
[q1]> Rich[/q1]

See above. Sorry it took so long to get back to you!

Ginnie www.scintillae.org.uk
0
Martina
Badges:
#19
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#19
[q2]> > Ah, but I've already visited Trinity and remained unimpressed. Gotten[/q2]
[q1]> my photos back today as well, though only the colour ones (I usually shoot in black and white to[/q1]
[q1]> disguise my lack of talent as a photographer). Yes, for two days I was one of those annoying[/q1]
[q1]> tourists who were wandering around making too much noise, taking pictures of the most[/q1]
[q1]> uninteresting things, and shouting "wow, Mum, Dad, look at *this* building, it has spires"![/q1]
[q1]>[/q1]

LOL. As I said you can visit other places if you wish. Btw a minor linguistic point: Is it right to
use ´gotten´ in British English? I thought it was an Americanism (I´m not criticising you. I´m not a
native speaker of English, so I´m just interested).

[q1]> The grass was a major issue. Sometimes you have an overriding urge to put heel on turf...[/q1]

Maybe you need therapy Anyway, I know some Cambridge townies, so I can go capering on their grass
if the burning desire to do so suffuses my mind <g> (and provided I end up in Cambridge).

[q1]> Shows a self-deprecating sense of humour. It also sounds like what they'd nickname a college like[/q1]
[q1]> that in, say, Liverpool. If they built a college named "Trinity" up there it would probably be[/q1]
[q1]> burned down within a week.[/q1]

Fair enough.

[q1]> Pah, I don't want to be around *friendly* people. I want to be around a load of *******s. More[/q1]
[q1]> anecdotes to tell my friends back home that way. :-)[/q1]

Are you sure Cambridge is the right place for that?

[q1]> Oh, and to see whether or not MMH has read this post I've included a special grammatical error in[/q1]
[q1]> it somewhere. Find it and win a prize![/q1]
[q1]> :-)[/q1]

What will we get?

M.
0
Martina
Badges:
#20
Report 17 years ago
#20
[q1]> Why would I be envious of my own college?[/q1]
[q1]>[/q1]

Ok, it was very late at night when you wrote this, so I´ll forgive you your lack of insight.

[q2]> >Don´t let Chris indoctrinate you, Rich. My friend visited Trinity and she immediately said that[/q2]
[q2]> >that´s where she´ll apply to do her Masters. Her difficult-to-please mum was also very[/q2]
[q2]> >impressed. [/q2]
[q1]>[/q1]
[q1]> No, you're being brainwashed... how else does Cthulhu get fresh victims? [/q1]

Eh? You ok?

[q2]> >Well, if you are seized with an irresistible urge to walk on grass,[/q2]
Parker´s
[q2]> >piece is nearby.[/q2]
[q1]>[/q1]
[q1]> Parkers piece? That'd miles away, down by the chem dept. Jesus green is a bit closer though.[/q1]

Which one´s Jesus Green? The one near the Grafton Centre?

[q2]> >Definitely. Only evil people go to Oxford. As a punishment for their[/q2]
sins.
[q1]> Yup, most evil place in the world bar one [/q1]

Oh, All Bar One? (do you know the place? a pub/bar near the Arts Picturehouse). Yes, Rich, Tit Hall
is the only place worse than Oxf*rd.

M.
0
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