My worst week began as snow fell and blanketed every court in CambridgeCatherine Lally

In my first year at university, my worst week began as snow fell and blanketed every court in Cambridge. While it seemed like everyone else was making snow angels on the backs, I was mostly bed bound, elevating my leg.

My first-world problems spiralled as I attended a supervision empty-handed

It all started when I woke up at 5am to finish an essay I had sorely neglected, due for a supervision that afternoon. I then made it to a rare 9am lecture, only to realise that my laptop had failed to start. One tearful visit to the computer shop later, and I learnt that dregs from my coffee cup had ruined my computer irreparably.

Pembroke in the snowCatherine Lally

The worst had come to pass: I had lost my essay. (Always write on the Cloud, kids). My first-world problems spiralled as I attended a supervision empty-handed, and resigned myself to re-writing and reading in my college’s strobe-lit basement computer room.

The rest of the week was spent hiding under my duvet, trying to read Nietzsche I didn’t understand, and writing Varsity articles on my phone

Then, the morning after a visit from my mum and sister, I fell down the stairs on the way to my basement prison. This resulted in a painful ankle sprain, and hobbling along icy paths on crutches when I occasionally ventured from my room.

In my self-pitying state, I couldn’t even summon a half-laugh when a porter told me to “dilute the vodka next time”.

The rest of the week was spent hiding under my duvet, trying to read Nietzsche I didn’t understand, and writing Varsity articles on my phone. Typically, I hadn’t yet discovered that my accommodation literally had a lift at the end of my corridor, and so stairs proved an issue.


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Mountain View

The fairy tale of Cambridge

However, if there’s anything I took away from my tale of woe aside from a really nice compression sock and a really swollen ankle, it’s that I’m lucky enough to be surrounded by so many kind, supportive people to lean on.

My week would’ve been much more difficult without a little help from my friends: from my college husband, who came and rescued me when I first fell and was stuck lying on the stairs, to my fab friends, who supplied many cups of tea and laughs, and my lovely boyfriend, who hand-delivered all my meals and kept me company.

With the luxury of hindsight, if I could change anything about my first year, I would check up on my friends more often. Cambridge can be a lonely place, and it’s easy to be wrapped up in all of the demands placed upon you – but when the days grow shorter and the work piles up, it’s your pals who will see you through.

Paul McCartney & Ringo Starr perform 'With a Little Help From My Friends' live

Cambridge can also be difficult for a variety of reasons, but there’s nothing more important than the welfare of yourself and of others. Even if you don’t feel as if you have people you can turn to, Cambridge is filled with sources of support. From your college welfare officer to the Student Union Advice Service (SUAS), there should always be people on hand to provide a listening ear or a cup of tea, or more serious advice.

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