Isabel Dempsey with permission for Varsity

Happy week 6. As of today, I have officially survived five week 5s in Cambridge. Halfway hall is very well deserved, I think. Only four more to go. I have the urge to say thank the Lord, that I couldn’t handle any more than four more, that I detest week 5 and everything it represents, and that I can’t wait until I have an actual job, annihilating the very existence of week 5, dragging the possibility of the week 5 blues with it. That’s not exactly how I feel, though.

"I’ve spent plenty of this week with my best friend, iDiscover; and I’ve spent some of it in a 90 minute supervision about a moose" 

I do not like New Year’s resolutions (see my complaints about them last year here). I think they’re silly and redundant, and impossible to stick to. If you don’t go to the gym already, why are you going to start going 5 times a week just because it’s January? Instead, I simply like to use the new year to reflect on the past year, and to find a new form of calm that I can take into the next with me. This year, I vowed to stop wishing my time away. (This is, for the record, very much not a new year’s resolution - ick - but instead a fun, peaceful, no pressure, moment of reflection).

Alice Mainwood with permission for Varsity

With that in mind I’ve spent the past week mindful of how challenging this part of term is, both for me and those around me. I’ve spent decent chunks of it in Caius library, and honestly, a healthy portion of that time has been spent people-watching (why else would libraries have galleries, though, really?). I’ve spent plenty of the week with my best friend, iDiscover; some of it having a Stacey Solomon: Sort your life out inspired declutter of my uni room; and I’ve spent some of it in a 90 minute supervision about a moose. And bee piss. It’s actually been a very normal week in the life of a Cambridge English student. It’s been that quiet sort of busy - that homely sort of chaos that Cambridge is so good at.

"Sometimes I wish we took more time to stop and take stock. How worthwhile it is to slog through week 5"

Is my growing debt quite scary? Is the prospect of three supervisions in a day utterly horrifying? Is Mainsbury’s my least favourite place in all of central Cambridge? Obviously there are plenty of shit bits for students; I’m not here to pretend that it’s all sunshine, smiles, and Sunday Lola’s. All I do want to say is that it’s not all as bad as the £7 pints and circuit laundry that we’re all subjected to. There are good bits too. There are supervisions about moose, there are candlelit dinners with the people you love, and there is always an end to that dreaded three supervision day.

Alice Mainwood with permission for Varsity

Sometimes I wish we took more time to stop and take stock. To think about how unlikely we are to get this sort of lifestyle again. How worthwhile it is to slog through week 5.


Mountain View

Notebook: Time warps and tat in the bleak midwinter

For me, though, Week 5 this term felt very different compared to normal. I am now in the second half of my degree. Is this the beginning of the end? Am I meant to be wiser? Or maybe know how to reference properly by now? I think a lot of second year undergrad students have been feeling a sort of reflection that we could do with a bit more of. To think about how much we’ve learnt since a year and a half ago should give us a feeling of optimism; in another year and a half, maybe we’ll be ready.

But until then, let’s enjoy this bit. Let’s take to week 6 optimistically - after all, it’s a whole 13 weeks until we next have to tackle week 5. If you’re being swept away by half way halls, morbid thoughts involving internships, and a very secret longing to actually just be a student forever and never have to get a proper job, then you’re not alone. Go to the pub and have a £7 pint. Maybe keep the glass as a souvenir. We have plenty of time left.