After I found out that I had been accepted on the Cambridge summer school for history I was really excited but nervous at the same time because I have never done anything like this before. However as soon as I got on the train I knew that I need not have worried as I met 4 other students who were going from Manchester who were feeling the same way.
When I arrived in Cambridge I was immediately greeted by the Cambassadors and they walked us to Christ’s College which was where we were staying. The first day was all about getting to know each other and making friends. Which we all soon did. On Tuesday the academic side of the summer school began. Throughout the week we received several lectures on topics ranging from treasonable talk in Tudor England to the History of mountaineering. These lectures allowed me to find a new interest in the history of mountaineering and after the lecture I even managed to get some book recommendations from the lecturer. As well as lectures we had a session on interviews, in which I volunteered myself for a mini mock interview. I spoke very passionately about the American Revolution and it went really well. This gave me an insight into what a real interview would be like and gave me a lot more confidence. In addition to this we Also got to look at the St John’s Special collections which is an old library on top of the new one. In their the staff had set up an exhibition on the slave trade in which we got to analyse lots of primary sources from the time of the slave trade. On the last day we visited King’s Archives and looked at an exhibition of Rupert Brooke in which we got to see his original draft for his famous poem The Soldier.
However the summer school wasn’t just academic in the evenings we did various different activities. We went punting (where one of the punters even joked that a duck was actually called a river chicken) and got to try out a sport or society, I chose to play football and my team narrowly missed out on winning. There was also an opportunity to visit another college, I chose to visit Kings college which has some of the most amazing architecture in the university, including a dining hall that looks like the Great Hall from Harry Potter. On the last night we had graduation photos and then went to a formal dinner in St Johns. During the dinner, the music group did an amazing Acapella performance which earned a humungous round of applause. After the formal we had a disco as a celebration of all the hard work we had done over the week.
Overall it was an amazing experience which equipped me with many new skills but also allowed me to make many new friends who are just as interested in history as I am. I would encourage everybody who has the opportunity to apply to a summer school to do so as you can experience what it’s really like to live and study at University.
Year 13 Student