Student life in Cambridge - what to expect

Mina Antwi

Faculty: Health, Education, Medicine and Social Care
School: School of Education and Social Care
Course:BA (Hons) Social Policy
Category: Social sciences and social care

29 June 2017

In previous blogs, I have talked a bit about social policy and what it involves - but not the experience of being a student. So here goes...

I must say being a student in Cambridge has been a very different, eye-opening and fun experience so far.

In the beginning, coming into a different environment you are bound to feel nervous and cautious about things, which in fact I was. I was born and raised in London, so moving to stay in Cambridge where I have never been, away from parents and close friends, not been familiar with transport and the city in general, you can imagine how I felt. These feelings and emotions are normal in the initial stage of starting or going into a different environment.

Eventually, as time goes by, you become familiar with places, the people and the environment. And trust me - it becomes fun, with all the social events, places, tourist attractions. Cambridge is a beautiful city to be in, it is like my getaway because of its quiet scenery! This is something I love and enjoy about being in Cambridge. 
I think it reflects a lot about my personality, so I became comfortable with it after a while. I hope to talk about places to go and see in Cambridge in my next blog, so keep an eye out for that...

Being a student now is nothing like secondary school and college/sixth form. Not at all. There is so much I had learnt about being a student, that I thought I knew in secondary school and college, that I didn’t know once I became a university student.

Firstly, going to university and being a student has shown me that you must be ready to take your own initiative with everything, especially if you are living away from home – responsibility and accountability with money, handing in assignments, booking meetings with tutors and lecturers, how much you spend, paying any bills, rent, budgeting, food, shopping. Things have become costly, so using your money wisely is key. I believe this is an important factor to learn so you are not in for a shock.

Secondly, not having money as a student is very, very hard! I’d recommend getting a part-time job alongside studies. This can also be challenging because one overtakes another. This is where you must be devoted and manage your time wisely with studies and working, especially when work load at university becomes too much. Though having some money is important, remember you came to get a degree too and that is as equally important too.

Thirdly, being a university student means learning the basics again: yes, especially with writing skills such as punctuation, grammar sentence structure, spelling. All these count and make up huge amount of your assignments, reports, essays. You can have a good essay, but if the writing style, grammar and so on is poor, it will cost you marks.

In my opinion, even though in secondary school/college, we may have produced an outstanding amount of work, projects, essays – the expectations for university work and writing are different. Just be prepared for the thrill: remember no one was born to know it all, eventually you will learn, understand and it becomes easier, but there is no harm in taking the head start to become familiarised with university writing and more.

The list of what to expect as a student, and student life in general, is very broad. However, the few points I have highlighted are based on my opinions and what I learnt and experienced. Remember, everyone’s experience is different.

The ARU website tells you a bit more about student life and living in Cambridge.


The views expressed here are those of the individual and do not necessarily represent the views of Anglia Ruskin University. If you've got any concerns please contact us.