To opt out or not to opt out, that is the question.

An exploration of one of Cambridge’s finest traditions.

Anya Gera

"Do not ask this person what they got in their end of year exams, this will lead to severe, severe judgement." Illustration by Niko Kristic Background photo by Jake Weirick on Unsplash

On the 11th of December 2017, following a meeting with the General Board, it was first proposed that any student may choose to opt out of the class list without having to disclose reasons for opting out. By the summer of 2018, the system was put into place with all students being just one click away from taking their names off this list. But what are people’s reasons for choosing to stay in or opt out of the class list? Where do you lie amongst the class list categories? Find out below…


1) The Anarchists

Niko Kristic

Feels strongly that everyone, and I repeat, everyone should opt out of the class list. This is how we’re going to take down the system. Has had wet dreams about walking up to Senate House and finding blank sheets of paper posted up. Do not ask this person what they got in their end of year exams, this will lead to severe, severe judgement. This person is usually on their JCR. Votes in all CUSU elections. Has all news apps downloaded on their phone.


Niko Kristic

2)The indifferent activist

Opts out of solidarity but does not mind people knowing what they got – ‘everyone gets a 2.1 anyway, right?’ Opted out last minute as they had better things to do. Is able to interact with the anarchist in small doses as they agree with their principles but doesn’t understand their anger. Pretty woke but can go a few days without checking a news site.


3) Nervous opt-outer

Niko Kristic

This person is high maintenance. Has worked hard all year but pretends they know nothing. Requires constant validation from their friends. Gets upset if they are not in library by 8am. Opts out because they are ‘so not gonna get that 2:1’, everyone knows they will. Constantly says that they were let into Cambridge as a result of an admission fluke even though they got straight A*s at GCSE and A-Level.


Niko Kristic

4)The secret worker

This person pretends that they never work, but if you drop into their room unannounced you will find impeccable notes and rows of organised folders. Is always down to hang out, overly active on social media.

 There are two types of ‘secret workers’ – one who opts out because they don’t want to be exposed when they get that first and the other who doesn’t because they want to show how ‘naturally’ smart they are.


Niko Kristic

5) There are bigger fish to fry

Believes in resilience. If you can’t handle the class list, how are you going to handle what life throws at you? Wants to beat the system. Want to go into investment banking.

6)Upholder of history

Believes the class list is an important part of history. Would be upset if it was phased out.  In reality, this person hasn’t been allowed to opt out by their families who have had appearances on it for the last two centuries.

Niko Kristic

7) Does not get what all the fuss is about

Can’t even begin to see why the class list is a problematic concept. It is what it is. Knows they’re going to secure that first. Are secretly aiming for a starred first. Usually male. Usually from a public school.

If you’ve got this far, I hope this has been a sobering read. Where do you place in the class list categories?