10 things I hate about Cambridge – ‘Apathy’ and the opposing hacking classes

This article was published in The Tab on 27 May 2016.

I’ll be honest with you — I like a drink just as much as the next guy.

Perhaps even more so, especially if you put me in a context where your glass fills up when you’re not even looking and before you know it you’re trying very hard not to throw up on the train home.

Like most students, I understand the intense emotional and spiritual value of the pub, and I busy myself with the tough work of keeping such establishments afloat as often as is realistically feasible.

That being said, it’s a dangerous business, and the average student pub-pilgrim is attacked on both sides. If your drink of choice is beer, you get lovingly but unnecessarily patronised by the greying patriarchs of the right-wing press, penning irrelevant and dismissive pieces about the latest ‘hysteria’ of student politics on campus with a blokeish nod and a wink. “Most students are too busy chugging beers to give more than a sideways glance to the authoritarian censorious shriekers who would stop us indulging in a little light (read: misogynistic) banter”, runs this line, with a bit of variation here and there.

Continue reading


10 things I hate about Cambridge: exams – they’re the last great unequaliser

This article was published in The Tab on 19 May 2016.

Readers, h8erz, friends, romans, countrymen, my mother — this is the beginning of the end.

Today I sit the first of my final examinations as a student at Cambridge University.

If everything goes to plan (‘if’ here being one of those big capitalised garishly-flashing neon ‘if’s), I’ll be finishing my time as a Cambridge student in exactly a week’s time. Over the course of twelve hours, split up into four three-hour long stints, my entire worth as a student will be assessed.

Continue reading

10 things I hate about Cambridge: Supervisors – what do you want from me?

This article was published in The Tab on 10 May 2016.

To anyone who knows me, it may come as a surprise that there was once a time when I actually worked hard.

Like, really hard. And by way of further obfuscation, I want to be absolutely clear that I love every single one of my supervisors past and present, and if any of them want to drop me an email with some tips on, you know, not failing my finals, that’s absolutely fine.

In my younger and more vulnerable years I used to toil dedicatedly for each and every supervision, and each and every essay. This was, quite obviously, before I realised how much of a waste of time they are. I used to toil over it all endlessly, poring through every book in the library, only to have a my work thrown back with no meaningful guidance as to how to make it better, just some blithe scribbles that I’d “completely missed the point”, or similar.

Character-building stuff, admittedly, but not a very useful education technique. See, there are two sides to getting better at a thing. First is knowing in what particular ways you are bad at that thing, and second is knowing how to methodically go about getting better at that thing.

Cambridge supervisors have a habit of telling you neither.

Continue reading

10 things I hate about Cambridge: CUSU – and not just because everyone else does

This article was published in The Tab on 29 April 2016.

In his first column, JACK MAY takes aim at CUSU, and fires the kind of shade the likes of which Cambridge has never seen.

I’ll be honest with you, Tab readers. I am a traitor.

I’ve spent the past two years of my life working for The Cambridge Student (TCS), that newspaper you spot sometimes in the faculty library and find yourself using as a coaster the next week.

I edited that paper twice, have been on its pompous-sounding Board of Directors for over a year, and made most of my closest friends in the dank and dusky basement office CUSU saw fit to give us.

For what it’s worth, TCS actually gave me a shred of respect for CUSU. Working in the same building as them for two years, I’ve seen first-hand that your sabbatical officers work incredibly hard (or at least I think they do, judging by the amount of complaining they do).

Continue reading