So I’d moved in, braved Freshers Week and managed to remember (most of the time) to take my keys with me before leaving my room. The next step was, of course, to do what I came here for: work.
But this seemed to pose even more challenges than anything I had done so far. For example, the lecture timetable would have required a degree to simply decipher (any ideas what 6L W.9 Lecture Room 10 means? Nope, me neither) and finding out where to go for these lectures was a minefield. I felt exhausted before I’d even done any actual work.
As a small consolation for my pains, I was told that all my lectures are optional! Initially, as you can imagine, I thought that meant I could laze about watching boxsets all day, but it quickly became clear to me that far from this being a gift, this was, in fact, another mental maze. Because how many lectures should I go to? All? None? Some obscure ones for fun? Ones after 11:00?
I am happy to say that now, at the end of my second week of work, I’ve managed to get to know (vaguely) what I’m doing. After trialling a fair few lectures, I’ve decided simply to go to the ones that interest me most. In terms of my other work, I’ve discovered that seminar reading takes a fairly long while and that there is no substitute for actually reading the book you’re supposed to be discussing. Or, to put it another way, read your summer reading list before actually arriving!
One of the unique (and quite terrifying) things about studying at Cambridge is the supervisions. You, your supervision partner and a tutor all in one room discussing the week’s topic, as well as your own essay. Unsurprisingly, everyone on the course was more than a little anxious about our first essays and the all-important first supervision. Frantic messages on the group chat about how to use semi-colons ensued.
Yet, like a lot of my experiences here, the supervision turned out to be a lot better than I was expecting. My supervisor is very nice and her comments weren’t harsh, but constructive, allowing me to see the poem I’d written about in a whole new way.
So yes, there has already been a lot of work, but it’s been ok so far. Getting the balance between fun and work is something I’m still working out, but I guess that’s all part of the adventure!