So you’re thinking of applying to Cambridge, but you’ve heard the rumours: Cambridge students work all day to make the most of their short 8 week terms, leaving no time for relaxation and socialising.
I can tell you straight away that this is not true. Of course, in order to maintain its reputation, Cambridge has high contact hours and encourages you to work hard outside of lectures. However, Veterinary Medicine is one of the most jam-packed courses you can do, and I have never felt like I’ve been missing out on the Uni experience.
My average day probably consists of 3-4 hours of lectures and a 2 hour practical. In first year, I also had 3-5 one hour supervisions per week which were often slotted in around lunch time or in the evening. During these supervisions, you normally get set work to do in your own time, but hopefully your supervisors will communicate and you won’t get set 4 complex essays in one week! Sometimes you get short answer questions, calculations, or even get given a week off! Essays definitely took much longer at the start of the year when writing a Cambridge-worthy scientific essay was still new and unfamiliar.
This is all the mandatory work that you have. This will of course vary depending on your course and the point in the term, and for humanities there will be fewer hours spent in lectures and more doing independent reading for essays. However, it is also strongly advised that you either pre-read lecture courses or read back through them afterwards and make extra notes. I didn’t do this so much in the first term, and regretted it! This might take an extra hour out of your day, but can be done in gaps between lectures.
My typical ‘down time’ during a week would be allocated to one 2.5 hour orchestra rehearsal (followed by a bar trip), one 2 hour jazz band rehearsal, brunch and a shopping trip with friends on a Sunday, and maybe a formal or a clubbing trip. Of course, I also had free time for chilling and chatting with people from my college.