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CAMBRIDGE DIARY 2 The pressures of study in year two

The Economist

As I loaded up the boxes full of kitchen utensils, clothing and work, there was a different, more certain feeling about returning to Cambridge to start my second year. The certainty of having an established group of friends meant that the apprehension that I experienced going into first year was replaced with excitement. I returned to Selwyn, in time to meet my new college children; a Natural Science student and a fellow land economist.

Having felt somewhat distanced from my college parent, I aimed to play an active role in welcoming my children to Cambridge and helping them settle in. I came to realise that being a good college parent simply requires answering the occasional question and offering any advice on issues that you (most likely) faced yourself. In the first week of term a family ‘bop’ (in house college party) was held, an annual staple to Freshers’ week, giving an opportunity for first and second year students to meet. Unfortunately, interaction between years at such ‘bops’ tends to remain minimal. Despite not being able to attend, the consensus was extremely positive with everyone mingling and on good form.

Second year land economy is a certain step up from 1st year, not just in terms of the content getting harder, but secondly because of the addition of a fifth paper. Practically speaking this adds more contact hours, with additional lectures and supervisions. But due to the existence of supervisions it means that we must submit an extra piece of work every fortnight, increasing the term count from roughly 16 to 20 supervisions.

University is a stressful environment no matter where you go, but Oxbridge has the reputation of that pressure being slightly elevated over its Russell group counterparts, and it certainly feels this way. This is quite evident when Land Economy, which has the stigma of being more relaxed in terms of work load compared to other Cambridge courses, yet still requires the submission of several times the work compared to the vast majority of my peers at other universities such as Durham. This intense culture of needing submit work on a very frequent basis can leave you quite isolated. As a result, I find sport and extra-curricular activities are key to relieve these constant pressures. As previously mentioned in my last article, for me golf has been a key outlet in de-stressing and completely forgetting the burdens of university – one weekend you’re playing on a course by the Kent sea, and another you’re playing in the middle of English countryside.

The Economist

About Edward Tillson

Edward Tillson is a second year land economist at Selwyn College, University of Cambridge. His articles aims to introduce Cambridge life, both academic and extra curricular, so to speak.

Articles by Edward Tillson

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