It’s good to see some constant sources of joy over the last four years which seemed like they had been defined by lockdowns, a war that ended my year abroad and an almost comically limited number of in-person teaching hours Maia Wyn Davies with permission for Varsity

In the most outrageous display of navel-gazing of my life, I recently re-read the pieces which I wrote for Varsity when I was a fresher. If that level of self-indulgence wasn’t enough to make your stomach turn, I have deemed my retrospective commentary perhaps worthy of the interest of current freshers seeking advice and potentially capable of entertaining those approaching the end of our time at Cambridge, as we reflect on how much/little we have learned.


As a wizened fourth-year, I am not in a position to make dramatic declarations about Cambridge’s clubbing “scene”; I found myself in MASH-Fez for the first time last Saturday (blame the odd choice of day on a Varsity win over Oxf*rd), so my knowledge is seriously limited. Disclaimer made.

Depressingly, though, in my 2019 seminal work on the clubs of Cambridge, I frequently refer to “Cindies”. If you know, you know. And if you know, you were born before 2001. Even more gut-wrenching are my laments at having to pay £6 for a gin and tonic. Just wait for the cozzie livs, babes.


Mountain View

In Defence of Cambridge’s Clubbing Scene: A Fresher’s Perspective

But what has remained consistent is the bizarre combination of chaos and friendliness that seems to define my nights out. This is evident from my touching tale of yore about someone popping me and a vomiting pal (now a grown-up with a job – terrifying) into a taxi after spending the night “dancing” to 30-second bursts of Abba – any longer and the club’s lack of a music licence would be an issue. Walking home from the station at 10.30pm last night I passed Gardies, warmed as I saw three girls in cowboy hats – one emptying her insides, one holding her hair, the other propping her up while in conversation with some other revellers.

We may get full songs now, and I’m pretty sure the kindness remains.


Perhaps if the good members of the Cambridge University Women’s Lacrosse Club had read about my 18-year-old fears over paying my college bill that it was “not beyond the realm of possibility that I will pay the wrong college, pay twice, or sign up to a pension scheme”, they would not have elected me to the position of treasurer this year. Although my professed hatred for card readers will outlast my degree, my past self would be proud to learn I have actually learned how to use one now – so I do have something to show for 4 years and £27k.


A high point of my first-year (and my life) was my article on stash being shared over 150 times. Shame that CV point hasn’t got me a job yet. However, it did give me (undeserved) reassurance that I should continue writing passionate laments and odes about entirely inconsequential things – see my recent work on concrete.

Anyway, re-reading this painfully fan-fic-esque description of receiving my blues fleece made me want to move off the grid (to Girton), perhaps because my unbridled love for stash is just as passionate today.

“I giggled manically, ripping the envelope to finally reveal the contents.”

I’m not sure I’ve ever giggled manically, but if I have, it would probably have been provoked by stash.


Unfortunately, the mortification of a stranger seeing my “WW2 bombsite bedroom” remains. But I am pleased to inform my anxious 19-year-old self that I have had close relationships with all my bedders – even the poor lady who had to contend with my friends’ and my locked-down antics.

On an entirely personal level, it was beautifully comforting that “Bio-Hazard Boy” and “Curtains” are still my closest friends.

I described the latter – my college husband – as a “beacon of consideration” which symbolises a level of sentimentality which he would still find repulsive.

And invested will be pleased to learn that “Bio-Hazard Boy” has significantly improved his hygiene.


Eight-year-olds no longer smirk at me as I wobble down King’s Parade but I still categorically DETEST cycling. The “cocktail of pure panic and adrenaline” of 2020 still courses through my veins (although this is now so permanent I wonder if the cycling isn’t behind it).

I haven’t been called a **** or a ******* ***** since that one time in first year and my “manic arrogance” that I gained from my newly acquired cycling skills receded into irritation at losing the feeling in my fingers. Sorry, Sof, your honeymoon with Brenda the bike will be brief. Also, she’ll get chucked out by the porters on an unspecified date in 2021.

Freshers' flu


Mountain View

The perils of freshers’ flu

Strepsils are still my ambrosia, but I’ve also added decongestant and Olbas into the mix because I can no longer “power through” owing to my advanced years.

Concluding remarks

I can’t be nostalgic just yet. Not because I’m in denial about leaving, I just haven’t passed my finals yet.

But it’s good to see some constant sources of joy over the last four years which seemed like they had been defined by lockdowns, a war that ended my year abroad and an almost comically limited number of in-person teaching hours.

I may not be fluent in Russian or Spanish, but there are enough other things I’ve gained to make my degree worth it. Including the ability to use a card reader.