Is the grass green on the other side at Sidgwick?MIRANDA EVANS WITH PERMISSION FOR VARSITY

I’m a big fan of a good lawn — it’s a revoltingly sexy patch of grass. “Take a seat! The water is warm,” I blurt as a Missoni-clad snob passes me by. It’s seven degrees outside; the ground beneath me is slightly damp. I can feel the moisture, the grass stains tarnishing my jeans. But I care not. What better way to spend a productive day than to do nothing (productive) at all.

“The complexity of the Cambridge population never ceases to amaze”

Yes, I know what you are thinking, “why not go to Grantchester? Soak up the rays if you think you’re so clever.” Answer: there are no rays. It’s overcast, and I can’t be arsed to find my bike key. But even if the sun was out, my guns would remain firmly gripping the Sidgwick Site soil. “Why”, you ask? Answer: you, my fellow reader, you!

Here is my case for getting up and sitting back down in a quiet spot to watch the people go by. Long, short, wide, or waifish, clever, silly, barking-mad, or banal: the complexity of the Cambridge population never ceases to amaze me. I have probably seen you twice or thrice — given you the once over and cast my judgement. I suggest you do the same to me. Behold, my top five reasons why people-watching is a superior pass time over studying.

Pinterest fashion board – but live!

Why look for divine inspiration when you could look for Calvin Klein inspiration! Notice each individual garment and add them to your imaginary basket. Trench coats, denim skirts, skinny scarfs, and slick shades. Exuberance in all its self-indulgent righteousness. Alternatively, you could just turn a blind eye, dress normally and feed your attention craving elsewhere. I’m a hypocrite of course — I have recently purchased a rather suave trench-coat and am as vain as ever.

“Ego makes the man work and work makes the man insufferable”

Not studying

Cambridge has a problem. Ego makes the man work and work makes the man insufferable. In the words of Mika’s song Lollipop, “Sucking too hard on your lollipop,/ Or love’s gonna get you down.” The “lollipop” in this instance, being some jammy essay (as opposed to what is inferred by Mika’s euphemism) and “love” being your embarrassing hubris. Don’t work too hard! Humble yourself.

Existential reminder

Take a moment to contextualise the ebbs and flows of people weaving around one another, gathering, dispersing, flailing, and falling. Like shawls of plankton in the Pacific — you are a blue whale, you are the blue whale. But not forever, the plankton will die, and so will you — so live in the moment. What’s the best way to do this? Comparing yourself to the other little people and thinking about the big blue sea.

Catch a friend by its toe, if it bites let it go, eenie meeny miny moe

Socialising with good friends and attempting to get away with shooting a polite smile at your bad friends. Okay, so this does not really count as people watching, I guess, but I’m running out of ideas. You’ve read this far so may as well finish, have a little faith. Anyway, when you are watching the people, there is a chance that one or two may stop and say hello. Don’t panic! This is good, you can unload any exam stress you may have obtained from not studying.



Mountain View

Hot or not: Easter term 2023

Mindfulness is beneficial for students as it helps reduce stress, improve focus, and enhance overall well-being. I didn’t write that, AI did. But you can bet your bottom dollar I felt pretty mindful asking it why mindfulness is good for students. When you find an excellent patch of grass, brush your hands through it, touch the grass, feel the grass, taste the grass. Let it graze your teeth – how does that feel? Think about the feelings, focus on the feelings. Lie down, imagine you’re somewhere else — Camber Sands, perhaps.

But in all seriousness, take a minute away from your desk this week and get outside (I’m authoritatively wagging my finger at you right now), it’s good for your mental health. I’ll see you tomorrow, I’m sure.