Focus Day University Visits Posted: 13/03/17

Focus Day 4 - University Visits On Tuesday 7 March we had our fourth Focus Day of the academic year. The Year 11 students were invited to visit different colleges and Universities in and around London.

Focus Day 4 - University Visits

On Tuesday 7 March we had our fourth Focus Day of the academic year.  The Year 11 students were invited to visit different colleges and Universities in and around London.

They went to; Goldsmiths College, Imperial College, London Met and Cambridge.

Below is a write up of the experience of a student that went to Cambridge for the day.

The Cambridge Experience

On a bright March morning, two minibuses of quietly excited students arrived at their destination.  We found ourselves at Churchill College, Cambridge, one of the more modern sites in the famed city, for a day of exploration of university life and the possibilities of higher education.

We began with a tour of the College from a Fellow (or professor; one of many idiosyncratic terms to be found across the University, as we were to discover) of Roman history.  He emphasised the wealth of facilities available to students ranging from a substantial gym, multiple recording studios, to a vast expanse of playing fields – all of this in just one of thirty-one colleges!  Dr Toner was also keen to draw our attention to the unmatched size of their dining hall, which was void of the stereotypical ‘rah’ culture synonymous with Oxbridge; the atmosphere was as hearty and unpretentious as the food.

Although each college has its quirks – one of Churchill’s being its abundance of Hepworth sculptures – we soon realised that they are all similar in essence.  Most colleges offer the same undergraduate courses, and there is surprisingly little variation in accommodation.  There are libraries abound in Cambridge (including one with a copy of every book published in the U.K. since the 18th century), and lectures are centralised so that all students have access to the font of knowledge to be found in the city.

Our tour eventually escaped the confines of Churchill College as we made our way into the city centre.  After having admired the view from over the River Cam, we were truly in quintessential Cambridge: unabashedly ancient courts and chapels alongside equally shameless modern blocks, animated by irritated cyclists navigating through the seemingly perpetual shuffle of tourists on King’s Parade.  The scene broke as we entered Trinity College, the largest of the thirty-one for a seminar on the Cambridge experience, which we all left feeling encouraged that the University is not as exclusive as it is made out to be and that above all else, interest in your subject and sheer diligence are the qualities most valued.

Overall, our take from the day was that behind the imposing façades and peculiarities of Cambridge’s medieval walls lies an institution which does not favour those with the deepest pockets or the most well-connected parents, those with the best memory or the poshest accent; it invites people who have the drive and desire to think, learn and change to push themselves beyond their perceived limitations.  It is a haven for eclecticism.

Dominic James E/SLe Year 11 student