Jasmine Hearn with permission for Varsity

Introducing: the cast of characters to populate the term to come...

1. The College Spouses You’ve just arrived in Cambridge, had some nice conversations with friendly people, and maybe even scouted out some potential friends. All in all, you’re feeling pretty hopeful about the year. Then, at your first formal someone asks you if you’ve decided who your college spouse will be and proceeds to outline their engagement plans. This is the strange Cambridge equivalent of immediately choosing your next year housemates, but thankfully for us it’s closer to playing house than renting one. It is here you will realise different people will happen to find friends on different timelines to you. But do not fret! If you’re not booking your matching tattoo session after five days, you’re probably not in the minority you think you are.

If you’re not booking your matching tattoo session after five days, you’re probably not in the minority you think you are

2. Someone you have an amazing conversation with, but never cross paths with again Perhaps it’s in the buttery or on someone’s kitchen floor during pres. You meet an amazing person and the two of you chat for the whole time you’re there, whether it’s about your favourite series, your shared passionate views on social issues or your joint sense of increasing desperation. Bizarrely, you never have contact with them again. In six months, you’ll see them in Costa frantically typing an essay, and feel oddly reassured they’re still alive.

3. Someone you talk to once and then awkwardly say hi to for several weeks The apparent opposite of the person above. You swap stats — name, college, subject, accommodation. They seem nice but you awkwardly realise you have nothing more to say. Still, you seem to bump into them approximately seven hundred times in the next two weeks. Eventually your “Hello!” turns into a smile and after six weeks of still not having one conversation you develop an unspoken shared agreement to stop.

4. The one person who’s finished the reading list After receiving a reading list later in the summer than you would have liked, you make peace with the fact that you physically cannot finish these books. You will have to read them as you write your essays. At least we’re all in the same boat, you’ll mistakenly think to yourself, it’s not like anyone else here will be well versed in Medieval literature.

5. Someone you convince yourself you will marry, then immediately get the ick over There you are on your first week, with stories about people finding the love of their life immediately at uni fresh in your mind. Far away from the same old faces at your hometown, here every interesting person you see could be The One. For me, I was convinced I might fall in love someone I very briefly spoke to at a CU picnic, and then someone at the Tolkien Society. Tragically, I never went to either of these societies again, nor, for that matter, had a conversation with any more men for the entire rest of the year.

6. The worst “never have I ever” player This person has never been drunk, never been clubbing, never had more than two glasses of wine at home. For full disclosure, this person was completely me. In Freshers’ Week I literally had someone kindly point out to me that it was odd I called drinks “alcohol.” (E.g “Oh, are we going to Mainsburys to get alcohol?”) It’s okay — people go to uni with a wide range of experiences and boundaries, but you really don’t have to nervously state it over and over again.



Mountain View

Photographing the humans of Cambridge: Mark Box on connection, chow mein, and Cambridge clubs

7. The comfort friend While it’s completely normal not to have met all your best friends in Freshers’ Week, in all probability, whether it’s in your subject or the people you live beside, you will meet at least one good friend. In the chaos of Freshers’ Week, this is the person you feel comfortable around. This is the person you feel you don’t have to perform for and the person you know will leave an event with you if you’re tired. If you find a friend like this — hold on to them!