"It seems nothing is ‘too much’ on C Sunday"Tobia Nava for Varsity

What is up with the fuss over C Sunday? No, really. Because, let’s be honest, Caesarian Sunday (commonly known by students as C Sunday) is basically just a drunken group of students taking drugs in a field at 2pm: in other words, pretty unremarkable. And yet, it’s talked up to be this enormous, unmissable event. An event which, if you do miss, or are fool enough to attend not to your fully inebriated capacity, you will end up feeling sorely disappointed. Or, so I was informed by numerous fellow students as I worked the Sunday brunch shift yesterday.

“You have to come!” a first year told me sincerely with wide doe eyes as I doled out their hash-browns and baked beans. So, not to be a miserable party pooper, I did.

"Fear of missing out seems to me to go hand in hand with socialising in Cambridge"

Having missed out in first year, despite feeling entirely burnt out after an intense first week back at uni, I went down to the C Sunday celebrations on Jesus Green. Why did I go out, when in probability I should’ve snuggled down in bed and enjoyed some R&R instead, or even (and now here’s a novel thought) got stuck into some good old fashioned exam revision instead? Because I could not escape the FOMO.

Fear of missing out seems to me to go hand in hand with socialising in Cambridge. In fact, I’d go as far as to say for many students here fear is something that defines them; that pushes them; that makes them get out of bed in the morning and get on a freezing cold lake to push a boat through the water with nothing more than a couple of wooden sticks for help, while the rest of us sleep soundly in our college-mandated single beds. The reason people in Cambridge work so hard, I believe, is because they are afraid. Afraid of not being good enough, not being smart enough: of not being worthy. So, when a social event is proposed, as many weekly here are, this fear ignites.

What if I miss out?

Many Cambridge students are frequently so weather-beaten by the academic and financial pressures of studying here, and frankly the often-bleak mental health that comes along with it, that they determine not to miss out. On the contrary they go all in.

"Usually a picturesque picnic postcard, when I arrived Jesus Green had become the site of hedonistic indulgence"

It seems nothing is ‘too much’ on C Sunday. Usually a picturesque picnic postcard, when I arrived Jesus Green had become the site of hedonistic indulgence and, shock horror, day-drinking.

The C Sunday celebrations were a smorgasbord of inebriated students. Vomiting, pissing, and sweating: the event was a who’s-who of unpleasant bodily functions. As I watched in dismay as teenagers publicly snogged the living daylights out of one another all before lunchtime, I can only describe the scene as somewhat feral. After a week of what felt like being ground down by the peppermill of overdue assignments, my sober tired eyes saw the scene in a way they would not have done had I had a few more drinks. Don’t get me wrong, a couple of beers in and I’m sure I would have been as lively as everyone else (minus the snogging, hopefully) – and, a lot of people genuinely looked like they were having a good time. The problem was, as it always is at this university, is that having a good time is always irrefutably defined by excess.

For me, the pressure to go to every ball, attend every dinner and dance every club night away is simply too much. My social battery is limited, and the university culture here drains it like nothing else.

So, when I beheld the festivities of C Sunday it’s no surprise that I focused in on the vomit covered grass, the sweaty crowd of barely known acquaintances, and the people openly pissing on the footpath. A fully rested me would’ve, I’m sure, seen things quite differently and delighted at the chance to turn acquaintances into friends, merrily avoided the puddles of puke, and gaily high-fived the public urinators. It is because the Cambridge lifestyle takes so much emotional energy each and every day that otherwise enjoyable experiences like this can easily become tedious.

Perhaps, if we all did less, socialising could become more manageable here. Instead of feeling like we have to do everything, whilst feeling nothing, we could focus in on fewer meaningful interactions, and enjoy them to our full capacity.


Mountain View

Green Online learning was a disaster

Maybe it is only me that feels this way, but if I know anything about the people that apply to Cambridge, I’m sure I know too well that this is not the case. People here always want more: that one final internship that will furnish their already eye boggling LinkedIn profile; the crowning jewel of their budding acting career as they take again to the stage of the ADC Theatre mere weeks before their final dissertation is due; that one last push to get them that all-important first-class degree.

We want it all. And will go to whatever lengths it takes to get it- whatever it is: success, acceptance, perhaps ultimately a feeling of contentment.

Afterall, I know these things, as I, as much as the next person, harbour the all-consuming, heart-breaking fear of missing out.