Cantab12/ Wikimedia Commons

It's that time of year again. Hundreds of students don their gowns for perhaps the final time as they collect their degree certificates, pose for photos, and finally graduate. Faculties, societies, and colleges lose a whole cohort of vibrant individuals — and that includes us here at Varsity. This term's Vulture team spoke to a handful of talented and wonderful people that have now become Varsity alumni; they share with us their reflections on the year(s) they have spent in Cambridge and the paper.

Charmaine Au-Yeung (Lifestyle Editor)

Charmaine Au-Yeung with permission for Varsity

I'm writing this as I finish my dissertation. I'm getting a bit emotional - this is my last research project for a while. I'm taking time out before I decide on doing a PhD. I'm going to work in London, and I'll be doing cool theatre things in October.

Most master's students will lament that their time at Cambridge has ended as quickly as it has started, and I can only affirm that. The excitement I felt, knowing I had gotten in, meant that I didn't appreciate how taxing this would be. Nine months isn't enough to make a home, and I dreaded knowing that I'd have to move, eventually, that my place here was never permanent. That put strain on me, and on my personal relationships, which is my only regret. 

But I also met lots of wonderful people, some of whom are also headed to London, or who will be nearby. Cambridge taught me, the hard way, how to let go. Of being okay with uncertainty. And being okay with people touching your life, if only for a small moment. I don't regret coming here because it taught me important and difficult life lessons.

Katie Kasperson (Visual Editor)

Photography by Mark Box (Humans of Cambridge on FB and Instagram) with permission for use

As a postgraduate student, I initially worried about getting involved in extracurriculars whilst at Cambridge. Having been interested in writing and photography for years, I decided to pitch an article to the science section; then-editor Sneha Kumar was extremely receptive to my ideas and encouraged my contribution. Following this positive experience, I applied to Varsity’s editorial team and was accepted as Head of Photography & Video, a newly created position in Lent 2022. In Easter term, I served as the Visual Editor (previously filled by the lovely Ellie Austin).

Despite being a recent team addition and leaving at the end of an all-too-short one-year programme, Varsity has welcomed me as one of their own. I’ve met so many incredible, interesting people during the past two terms, and I’ve gained skills that will undoubtedly serve me in my transition to the workforce. More than that, Varsity has solidified both my passion for and trust in high-quality journalism, and I hope to work for a similar organisation in the future.

Julia Dabrowska (Science Editor)

Julia Dabrowska with permission for varsity

Having done science writing and editing at undergrad and thinking I missed my chance to apply come November, I was only too happy to find out Varsity was recruiting for new editors once I had gotten over the whirlwind that was Michaelmas. Being part of the Science team for the past 2 terms has been really lovely, not only getting to read interesting science articles but also meeting some great people at pub socials (a couple of whom enabled me to check off 2 colleges off my formal bucket list…). I also really enjoyed writing and editing for Varsity as procrastination for writing and editing my actual thesis (yet to be submitted - it’s frighteningly close).

Although my time at Cambridge as an MPhil student was short, I’ve had a great time, largely thanks to the amazing people I met and the willingness I had to really get the most out of it these 10.5 months - rowing, May Balls, formal hopping, staying at the library till 5am… Next up, I’ll be going to do a PhD at the other place from September, so wish me luck (and maybe check out Cherwell? who knows!)

Peter Mumford (Deputy News Editor)

Peter Mumford with permission for Varsity

I was involved with Varsity as a News Correspondent for a year during my undergraduate degree, but it was only after returning as a Deputy News Editor in my final term at Cambridge that I really felt that Varsity had been an important part of my experience. I’ve really enjoyed writing news articles this term, particularly pieces focusing on initiatives to support Ukrainian refugees by students, staff and the University as a whole. I also appreciated the camaraderie of the Varsity team this term. If you’re considering getting involved with Varsity, I highly recommend it; writing enhances your awareness of issues facing students and the wider Cambridge community, gives you experience, and most importantly is a lot of fun! 


Mountain View

Every mature student you’ll meet at Cambridge

I’ve also enjoyed being part of various different societies over the years, in particular CUUNA (Cambridge University United Nations Association). I’ve also been involved with rowing, lacrosse and theatre. The best part of my time at Cambridge, however, has been the amazing people I’ve met here and memories I’ve made. Leaving university – and my home for the last four years –  feels daunting, especially since I don’t have a definite idea in terms of career plans, but I’m looking forward to whatever comes next, and will always be grateful for my time here!