December 2013: Cambridge (Part 1, pre-interview)

This is probably the first thing I’ve done where I’ve thought ‘I am going to go home and blog about this’. I didn’t. I’m writing this about 6 weeks after, although, knowing me, it’ll probably be a year later by the time you read this.

So, I did my UCAS (that’s applying to university for anyone who isn’t in the UK) in October, and applied to the maximum of five universities to study History, one of which being the University of Cambridge – if you don’t know about the prestige of said university, where have you been for the last however many years! Anyway, I was lucky enough to get an interview at Newnham College, a women’s college, which I chose because of its proximity to the department and the beauty of its site – you could even walk ON the grass!

I had two interviews and a test on Monday 9th December, and I was driven up to Cambridge on Sunday 8th by my mum – initially I was to get the train on my own via my aunt’s house, but there were engineering works that weekend, so she said she’d drive. Our first hurdle was that I’d forgotten a towel, so we went to the lovely John Lewis in the town centre and bought a big pink one. Then we got to the college at about 4 (they provided accommodation overnight for interviewees) and were taken down the second longest corridor in Europe to my room on a pretty much deserted second floor of a building. Turns out they provided a towel! It was quite a large room, although it needed more furniture as it was a little echoey, and there was also no basin in the room – more on that in a minute.

I said goodbye to my mum (she took the towel home), and had a lie down in my room with a book for the next hour or so, until dinner at 6.30. There was quite a lot of choice so I had chicken with loads of potatoes, some carrots, and other vegetables, and a banana. That was all free, but I did have to pay for my apple juice (I hadn’t noticed the dispenser where you could get a cup and refill it for free!). I managed to sit with a couple of other applicants and I am SO annoyed I can’t remember their names!! There was a blonde girl who wanted to do Law, and a dark curly haired girl who wanted to do English and was on a gap year – there is a very slim chance that you will find this article and read it, if so please comment, I’d love to know how the applications went. There were also some current students, who were quite nice, although they ended up sandwiching the English applicant so we invited her to sit on our side.

We finished our food (except my banana and juice which I took with me) and went to try and find somewhere to sit and chill – the search wasn’t looking promising when we met a Romanian girl who wanted to study Architecture, and was also the only girl in her school to apply for university in the UK, the first one to use UCAS! If you are reading (slightly greater chance of that) then please also comment, and well done on getting through UCAS alone. We all went to her room, which seemed very futuristic as she used an electronic card to get in rather than a key like the rest of us. It was a similar size to mine, but much more decorated by the girl who usually lived there.

We sat around and chatted for a bit, mainly about normal life and what we were going to wear, also what preparation we’d done for interview. We were impressed by the Architect’s portfolio, which was amazing, and we all felt pretty unprepared, and at about 8 we left and went back to our respective rooms. We all said we’d have an early night, although before I went to bed I had another read through of notes and stuff that I thought I might need for interview and also ate my banana.

I think I finally went to bed around 9.30, after setting an alarm and calendar alert on my phone, asking my parents to ring me in the morning, and setting my alarm clock and my iPod to wake me up as well!

This post has gone on far too long, so I’m going to finish here and go onto the actual interview in my next post!


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