"And to be denied Easter term seems light a nightmare, but when university feels so dreamlike, how can reality beyond its walls seem anything other than hellish?"Harriet Gilbert Savage

I won’t sit on Old Court eating my dinner while surrounded by giddy laughter and the comforting warmth of the early evening. I won’t edge ever-closer to the fringes of the lawn as the sun begins to set and its rays slide up the court’s walls, gilding the worn window frames. I won’t dash back to my room for a jumper to fend off the chill of twilight or feign ignorance in the face of the 7 o’clock bell which, as in the tale of Cinderella, signals the lawn’s return to its tantalisingly untouchable state.

Love Letters to Cambridge

These are tough and uncertain times for us all, and a lot of us are left with little closure. Varsity are launching this series to give a platform to students reflecting on the parts of Cambridge they'll miss the most, and to gain some closure through writing. Just email our Features team with a 150-word pitch with your idea!

I won’t navigate around the cows of Midsummer Common on my cycle to the boathouse, basking in the novelty of wearing only one layer of clothes. I won’t drink in the honey dew light as it dapples the water, the evening stillness punctuated only by the light splash of the crew’s oars. We won’t slow the boat, gently drifting round Grassy Corner so as to avoid harming the fuzzy signets, stealing a glance to ensure all the members of the swan family remain together.

I won’t dance down Trumpington Street with my shoes in one hand and my best friend’s hand in the other, starry-eyed from too much singing and too little sleep in the pleasant oniric afterglow of the May Ball. We won’t fracture the newly spun cobwebs of dew as we stumble through the gardens, jumping into the college pool in black tie, greeting the dawn with tuneless renditions of well-known classics.

"This year, the cobbled streets will not glisten with the spray of champagne showered over finalists, nor will the river’s edge be stripped of its greenery to make laurels for those successful in Bumps."Harriet Gilbert Savage

My visions of next term melt into daydreams, lingering in that hazy limbo between hopes and memories. I could howl and cry and bellow at the injustice of Easter term being ripped from beneath us. For weeks, my lecturer has spoken of an Arabian metaphor for Modernity, likening searching for its definition to ‘capturing the wind in a net’; it’s a description fitting for our fleeting time in Cambridge, where each moment must be both undividedly enjoyed and simultaneously savoured.  

Perhaps the blow wouldn’t feel so wounding if it was only that quaint town we would lust after. But the Cambridge university experience is composed of such a precarious balance of not only an idyllic setting, but also of wonderful people, of strange tradition, of hope, excitement, naïveté – of youth. These elements dance together in perfect harmony for three short years, and then disperse, each accepting that never again will they perform such a spectacle.

"We won’t fracture the newly spun cobwebs of dew as we stumble through the gardens, jumping into the college pool in black tie..."Harriet Gilbert Savage

And this Cambridge, my Cambridge, so special and so dear, shall soon cease to exist. It shall be captured in a snow globe in my nostalgic mind, its glittery shower stirred by a faint memory, briefly reawakening the scene of these glory days, only for the sediment to settle too soon.


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Mountain View

I will gain closure through my friends

This year, the cobbled streets will not glisten with the spray of champagne showered over finalists, nor will the river’s edge be stripped of its greenery to make laurels for those successful in Bumps. The grass of Jesus Green will not be speckled by the black patches left by not-quite-legal barbecues, hosted by those coaxed away from the library by the bliss summer’s eve, and Cambridge won’t be the same without us.

And to be denied Easter term seems light a nightmare, but when university feels so dreamlike, how can reality beyond its walls seem anything other than hellish? I shall mourn the Easter term that never was. And I shall cherish the Cambridge summer I lived. And I shall laugh, now holding the wisdom only retrospect can afford, as I reminisce of my younger self who ignored my Dad’s caution: “you don’t know how lucky you are”.

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