Academic Life

As fun as all as the partying and socialising is, you will eventually have to do some work towards your degree. This, we know, is deeply upsetting, but Emma has a great library and computer rooms that are conveniently open 24 hours, 7 days a week to get you through that pesky essay/project/revision.

Other than Land Economy, it is possible to study all subjects offered by the university at Emma. However, it’s important to consider that the number of students will vary by subject, as will competition for places.

A Day in the Life of an Engineer

My day starts at 9am at the department, usually consisting of two lectures and a laboratory. As a first year, lectures cover topics such as structural mechanics, thermofluids, digital circuits and lots more. Laboratories are completed in pairs for credit and cover topics from rotor balancing to fluid flow. A big advantage of being an engineer is that your day usually finishes at 1pm, leaving the afternoon to schedule as you like with work, sports, societies or sleep.

The majority of your own study time will be spent on examples papers. These are problem sheets which are released weekly and run alongside the lecture courses. Examples papers must be attempted so that any problems can be discussed at supervision. You will have 2-3 supervisions a week in which you and your supervision partner will be able to review the examples papers with your supervisor and ask any questions you still have. The difficulty of questions varies greatly, but you can expect to spend between 3 and 6 hours on a paper and will have to do about 3 papers a week.

Studying engineering will require you to be committed to your subject and willing to do quite a bit of work. But there is still plenty of time to enjoy the rest of Cambridge. I row for my college (which means my day often begins at seven not nine!) and I dance for the University DanceSport Team. There’s also plenty of time to socialise in Emma’s fantastic college bar or get slightly merry at formal hall before going on to one of Cambridge’s clubs or a college Ent. Just remember though - you have to be back in the department by nine!

A Day in the Life of a Linguist

Ha! You mean that there’s more to being a linguist than waking up at 12, doing a (very bad) translation and then going back to bed? Well, yes. Damn, maybe I should study English instead! All jokes aside, a day in the life of a linguist can be pretty hectic. Monday morning and your alarm goes off - you have a lecture at nine (groan). It could be anything from the use of magical realism in Latin American literature to Germany’s reunification (that should keep them busy, chuckle the lecturers). After that, you may have a class; these are smaller than lecturers, composed of about 20 people and basically mean that you’re more likely to be caught out for not having done any preparation.

A few hours later comes the supervision. Normally composed of you and one other, this is your chance to ask all those questions that emerged during your in-depth reading of the prescribed texts. Nice!

A few hours (and much essay writing, note taking and coffee drinking later), you get a chance to let your hair down in Formal Hall. Great, I don’t have to cook tonight! Informing Mummy of the three course meal will keep all her fears of malnutrition away though it’s better to withhold information about the quantity of alcohol consumed, you don’t want any impromptu visits by the parents. After this, it’s off to the college bar or one of Cambridge’s select discotheques for some, or back to the essay for others (though admittedly the former normally wins). In any case, you’ll get a chance to do it all over again the next day - yay!