It’s going to be a bright, bright sunshiney day May 24, 2009Posted by dolorosa12 in life, university.
Tags: cambridge, life, memories
I realised that I hadn’t written about Cambridge for a while, so I thought I might remedy that. Easter Term has been very see-saw-y. Very up and down. My moods swung according to how well I felt I was going on my dissertation. Early on in the term, when I was very lost, I felt appalling. I inflicted my whining on everyone around me, wailing about how I just wanted to go back home to Australia. But as soon as I met my supervisor and told her that I was stuck, she pointed me towards St Anselm and the concept of the individual, and I never looked back.
After that, writing came easily. I aimed to write between 500 and 1000 words a day on days when I was writing, which meant that my dissertation proceeded at a leisurely amble – just the way I like it. I finished my draft on Wednesday (we had to hand in the drafts on Friday) and have been essentially celebrating ever since. I remember that same feeling of relief when I wrote my Honours thesis. Just seeing those 15,000 words sitting there, the result of seven months of research and reading and editing and translating and fobbing off your supervisor, is an amazing feeling.
The only other piece of assessment we had this term was a take-home essay on our seminar texts. We got given the questions (which were really just a series of words – ‘distance’, ‘illumination’, ‘interaction’ and so on) on a Thursday and had to hand the essays in the following Monday. I chose ‘interaction’ and wrote about the interaction between past and present in Virgil’s Aeneid, Geoffrey of Monmouth’s History of the Kings of Britain, and Beowulf. Oddly enough, I really enjoyed it. I love writing exercises of this kind. They were what I loved most about being an undergrad, too. Some people are in academia for research, and some are here for the writing, and I, unfortunately, am here for the writing. I suspect this may cause problems further down the line…
There’s been less socialising this term because everyone is very busy; MPhils with dissertations, undergrads with exam revision. Even so, I’ve managed to get out to ASNaC pub most Fridays and do whatever other fun stuff I could manage. There’s been a lot of movie-watching and afternoon coffee followed by browsing in Borders.
Last week I went with one of my housemates and one of my other friends to a country fair at Grantchester. We (all of us are from countries outside the UK) came away convinced that this country is insane. There was a sheep-shearing exhibition, a dude showing off his hawks and owls, a bunch of medieval reenactment people and a Punch and Judy show. We probably spent more time laughing at inappropriate moments than was strictly necessary.
I wish I could say more, somehow, about what this term has been about, but I haven’t quite sorted out in my mind what defined Easter Term. Michaelmas was all about the ‘ooh, shiny Cambridgeness’, and Lent was all about despair (not helped by the gloomy weather), but Easter’s been oddly schizophrenic. I’ve had moments of ‘what the hell did I think I was doing, coming here?’ followed by periods of undying love for Cambridge, my friends and my subject. I’ve had periods of writers’ block-filled self-doubt, and bursts of joy at how much I love my dissertation topic and how much fun I’ve had writing it. I’ve locked myself in my room with Bailey’s and chocolate, and I’ve danced in the living room with my housemates as we watched the Eurovision Song Contest.
In short, I’ve had the full range of human experiences, and I’ve loved every one of them.