The fear has settled across Cambridge.
It’s exam term, the time when students hide in libraries, when they bring potted plants (seriously) and pictures of Jesus (also seriously) to mark their territory, when social events die and silence descends.
…or so they tell me.
See, I’ve been spending my time doing other things. Like meeting the Queen (ish) and the Duke of Edinburgh.
In celebration of St. John’s College’s 500th year, the Queen came to Cambridge. As I’m on the graduate committee, I was positioned in a special little marquee for her arrival.
As the sun glinted overhead and the wind whipped skirts about, the Queen, HRM, emerged. She was petite, delicate, wearing a bright blue hat with a matching skirt suit. At her side was the Duke of Edinburgh, 90-years-old and grinning.
“Now he’ll offer his hand,” the Domestic Bursar said in way of briefing us. “Men, you do the courtly bow and take it. Women, you can curtsy.”
Over he came. The graduate committee, all ten or so of us, formed into a very precise U shape. The Duke went one after another, catching hands, making a moment or two of conversation. Then he got to me.
“What do you study?”
“That’s a degree?”
“Political philosophy,” I responded, intelligently. I was focused more on the curtsy-hand-wibble-wobble-don’t-fall process. Unimpressed, the Duke just stared.
“Right,” he said before turning off.
Then the Queen cut the cake and a military band played ‘happy birthday.’
Other things that have been occupying my Cambridge time?
Job Hunting. Oh yes, this is a fun one. While I’ve been accepted into Cambridge for the 1+3 MPhil, odds are I shan’t receive funding. So instead, I am a job hunting. It’s time to become a Real Girl. Unfortunately this process takes up a painful amount of time and sucks my soul.
Rutty Farming: One of my pentathlon friends, Z, kindly invited me to her home for Easter. Her house perches amongst 625 acres of farmland. A resevoir glistens in one corner, the waterline broken by a pier. “In the winter it froze over and we could skate,” said Z.
“Let’s swim?” I suggested once, twice, again and again.
“You are insane. It is freezing.”
“All the cool kids swim.” So I hitched up my skirt and tucked my feet into the cold water.
In the mornings we would go out as the sun was coming up and the mist was drying, hurrying to meet the horses. Z’s two dogs, already down at the stables, would see us coming up the path.
“Get down low! That’s the secret. Down low!” Suggested Z’s sister as the big furry creatures ran forward. So we crouched there on the gravel road, wearing jodphurs and riding hats, preparing for the lunging of excited muddy dogs.
“Here, Wesley!” I picked up a stick. “Go FETCH!”
…and threw it right in Z’s face. I am no good at projectile sports.
We read in the afternoons, flopped about on the grass, tinkered with instruments, tinkered with nature, and generally enjoyed ourselves. Z’s mom cooked delightful meals on the Aga, a massive oven-meets-house-warming-utensile thing.
My holiday was amazing.
USA Today College Blogging: Weee, this is a fun one. I wrote a blog post for USA Today. I’ll let you guys know when it comes out. Part of becoming a Real Girl?
Celebrating Graduation: Some of my good friends graduated this weekend. This means, in Cambridge terms, that they donned furry/colored hoods, grabbed an elderly man’s fingers, bowed while someone said Latin, and skipped through a general deluge of tradition. It sounds delightful and insane.
So there you have it. That’s what I’ve been up to these last few weeks. Ponies and Queens and Royal Weddings and furry things. Clearly, I am feeling The Fear.