Wednesday, March 12, 2008

My Last Week in Cambridge, Part 1

In the middle of term, time seemed to pass like molasses dripping off a spoon in the dead of winter; now--well, I won't even try to speak in similes. Will I do everything I'd like to in this last week? Probably not, but so far I've had fun!

Monday, before Lauren left to go back to Dublin, we had a fun (if chilly) time walking around St. Johns and Trinity, feeling a little brash for avoiding the admission charges. Of course, I am a student and am technically allowed to go into any college, but even so, I can't help feeling "interpellated," to invoke Althusser, by the boards that ask visitors for entry fees: "This means YOU." This feeling comes from the same place, I think, as my ambivalence about the colleges: students, particularly undergrads, seem to put a great deal of effort into "belonging," and "belonging" seems to be an automatic privilege of attending the university, of being part of a college--and, ultimately, of being a graduate of the University of Cambridge. I say "seems," because I am very sure some students do not "belong"--but I haven't met anyone yet who does not "belong" on some very basic level. As a visiting student, I don't "belong" to my college or the university, despite the good time I've had and, I hope, the lasting connections I've made here.

Anyway, interpellation and belonging aside, I was excited to show Lauren St. John's, which, in my limited experience with Cambridge's colleges, has become my favorite. Partly because I've spent some happy and productive hours there at seminars with a group of (mostly) history grad students doing work on gender, but also because of the look of it. The colors and shapes of its architecture, the amazing library door, the way the old and new fit together (mostly!), and especially the Bridge of Sighs. Yeah, I'm not particularly original there--I'm sure every tourist gushes over it--but that doesn't make it any less magical.


I was proud of this photo of Lauren on the bridge: I managed to get the look of the light in it, and the doorway at the end.

Here's one of me, windswept and cold, with the Bridge of Sighs in the background:



--and another of a wonderful large door in St. John's:


All in all, a nice morning's walk, and we managed to do all this before the storm hit in earnest.

Yesterday, I woke with a migraine, but had too full a day to succumb completely, so I clobbered it with caffeine, in both coffee and Excedrin form. Talk about being high, though this time was different--I didn't get the rave experience, which was probably good, since I had a couple of meetings and a lecture to go to! Sarah, the other NYU student here on the gender studies scholarship, left in the wee hours of this morning, so I said goodbye to her last night. The house today has seemed rather quiet with her gone, but the last gender & history seminar was excellent, as was my meeting afterward.

But with one thing and another, I didn't have time to try to get a Chelsea bun again today! Oh, but Lauren and I did learn that Jesus College actually has two tuxedo cats, and apparently one is friendly and the other isn't. We must have encountered the friendly one on Friday, because he let me pet him.

1 comment:

Melissa said...

Well, occasionally I do send Simon over there to get in touch with his roots ;)

I honestly can't tell if I would have done immensely better at a place like Cambridge (as opposed to GMU), or if I wouldn't have gotten any work done at all...