ALFIE PARKER tells us why staying behind is the way forward
Cambridge without the Cantabs is a weird place, but once you get over the initial feeling of abandonment there’s a lot to enjoy.
At first it was a bit of a shock to see how quickly everyone packed up and shipped out.
College suddenly felt very old and very empty with just me and a small cohort of fellow survivors, all of us forced to bond or else go quietly insane in our solitary confinement. The cafe shut. Buttery times got more antisocial. It was becoming a ghost town. Figuratively. No-one has died yet.
Even if they did, it’d probably be days before anyone found out.
Clearly there are downsides. However, there are also loads of great things I’ve discovered about staying on:
“What to do with all that foolishly-bought Week Eight food?”, I hear you cry. You haven’t got time to eat it all, it’s too heavy to take home on the train and you’re not organised enough to donate it to a food bank.
Nope, the correct response should be “I will give it to the poor lonely bastard who has to stay after we’ve all left”.
Seriously, there’s enough food left behind to last me several weeks if I were willing to put up with a diet of Sainsbury’s basics pasta and raw cloves of garlic. I fear I shall become a rat-like creature, devoid of human contact, scuttling from abandoned gyp to abandoned gyp attacking the cleaners.
2) Quality bonding time with staff.
Your friends may have left, but they will instantly be replaced by cleaners who have to disinfect their rooms for the dreaded conference attendees (a.k.a panini shop stealing scum).
However, don’t think of them as cleaners: look at them more as ‘potential friends’ (albeit potential friends who are only there because they’re being paid). Loiter around, make them cups of tea, have some DMCs. Friendship.
In terms of befriending buttery and bar staff, I’ve found that the smoking area is good hunting ground – it’s neutral, you can complain about the weather, maybe even huddle together out of the cold. Friendship.
If you’re feeling particularly brave you could even try to pally up the with fellows, who can usually be found outside of term time in their offices throwing outrageous parties and getting off with one another.
3) Being loud.
Turn your speakers up to 11, start trying to learn that harmonica you brought with you at the beginning of term but were too embarrassed to pick up,
have really noisy sex watch porn without headphones – there’s nobody there to hear.
You’ll probably start talking to yourself. That’s natural too. I hope…
4) Wandering around in your pants.
We’ve all made the midnight dash to the loo down the stairs in our undies having lain in bed for a good 10 minutes beforehand weighing up the dangers. Now you can make that very same move care-free. In fact, why even bother getting dressed at all?
5) Free reign of the city.
During term time, the tourists are spoilt for choice. Now you can wander around Cambridge like some kind of celebrity: wear your gown, hang around iconic monuments, mutter clever things under your breath – you’ll quickly pick up a paparazzi-like crowd.
6) You get to feel like a grownup for longer.
Sure, it’s nice to have someone else do the laundry and actually eat ‘vegetables’, but I’ve always found going home and living with the two people who conceived and raised me for 18 years to be a bit of a letdown after pretending to be mature for so long. The porters never ask me where I’ve been if I get back after 11pm, that’s for sure.
Nope, staying in Cambridge is the best, and I’d recommend it to anyone.