Settling In

Settling In

I arrived in Cambridge at lunchtime on Friday. By about 10pm I’d unpacked as much as I could stand to unpack, on the basis that if I leave it in a box this early in the term, it will stay in that box forever. On Saturday morning I filmed and edited a flat tour before any of my flatmates have arrived, again because I knew that if I didn’t do it straight away, it just wouldn’t get done, based on the evidence of last year.

In all the visible senses, I’m settling in quickly. I don’t have literally all my stuff here yet — my parents are coming up this morning with my ergonomic desk chair,  my bike, and a few other bits and pieces that wouldn’t fit in the car because I have way too much stuff. When they do, I might have to rearrange some things in my room to maintain the current look while actually having somewhere to put that stuff. I’m also going to enlist their help to clean the top of the wardrobe (which I’ve discovered is dusty, but can’t reach to clean myself, especially as the floor is way too slippery to risk standing on a chair) and to put up posters, again because I’m short.

But even despite that, my books are on the shelves, my food is in the fridge, I’ve cooked a couple of meals and met two of my three flatmates (the third isn’t arriving until this afternoon). I’m meeting up with the person in charge of resurrecting the Irish Dance society this afternoon, and with a neighbour from the flat opposite (a postgrad ASNaC) after that. I’m about to make a trip to the library to follow up a reference in something I read yesterday, because it sounds like it might be helpful for my dissertation. Somebody’s left a pair of jeans in my pidge for me to try on because they don’t want them anymore.

My reading yesterday was distinctly On Brand™

And I guess I am settling in quickly. It feels normal being back in Cambridge — although walking into town yesterday reminded me that (a) my accommodation really is an extra ten minutes from town compared to where I lived last year and (b) there’s a reason I never go into Cambridge on a Saturday, especially not when that Saturday is also moving-in day for a lot of freshers. The crowds were hellish. The trip was also largely unsuccessful, though in Oxfam I did finally find a copy of Kingdom of the Wicked, so my Skulduggery Pleasant collection no longer has a gap, and also Witches Abroad, a Discworld book I don’t yet own. Buying books already? Normal.

I’m filled with dread about the workload of the upcoming term, but that’s normal too. I’m putting off leaving the building for as long as possible because it’s raining, but I always do that, especially when I’m not sure where I put my umbrella while unpacking. I’m taking a bit of time to adjust to living communally, especially because last year I only had one flatmate, but it’s already beginning to feel less strange. I’m attempting to be more diurnal, too, and for some reason have woken up before my alarms the last two days — long may this continue, if it means I’m on time for lectures.

Maybe, as I enter my fourth year in Cambridge, I’m finally getting the hang of it. Is that too much to hope?

(Moving in was greatly eased by the thought that as I have a ‘continuous’ room license this year — e.g. it includes the Christmas and Easter holidays — I don’t have to pack everything up at the end of term and then do it all again in January, which I always found extremely stressful. Instead, I can take home as little or as much as I want.)

While I’ve been writing this, the rain has intensified and my desire to stay indoors has too, but if I want to stay on top of work I really ought to go and get that book (and the jeans too; might as well). I guess this is where the disadvantages of living apart from the main college begin to show themselves — in first or second year, I could’ve done both of those things without ever stepping outside. But despite that, and the extra walk into town, I’m not regretting this choice yet. This room’s lovely, and to be honest, maybe the distance from college will help it feel less stressful as term gets underway.

The first shelfie of the academic year. There will definitely be more.

It’s a step towards living independently, while still having access to a post room (so there’s always someone to sign for parcels), a cleaner (for communal spaces), and a maintenance department (for all those things my DIY skills can’t quite manage). Seems like the best of both worlds to me, but I know one of my flatmates is wishing she were living a bit more centrally. She’s much more outgoing than me, though, so I guess the social side of things is more of a concern.

Personally, I’m just really excited to find out that there’s an ASNaC MPhil living in the flat opposite, which I discovered after I shared my room tour on Twitter and they replied to one of my tweets. I’m hoping it’ll give me the opportunity to get to know my neighbours, not just the ASNaC but also the people they’re living with, as well as ensuring that I have quite the collection of MPhil friends. (Some of my friends have graduated but have stayed on as MPhils, and the person resurrecting the Irish Dance society is also an ASNaC MPhil, so I feel like that might end up being a good proportion of my social group.)

But not excited about this rain, since it looks like the annoying drizzly kind that sneaks down under the collar of your coat and makes your neck damp. Maybe if I go and have breakfast, it’ll have stopped by the time I’m done?

What do you think? I'd love to hear your thoughts.

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