I grew up in a town just outside of Bristol/Bath and studied A levels in Fine Art, Maths and Geography at my local co-educational comprehensive school. Neither of my parents attended university and I hadn’t ever really considered applying to Cambridge until GCSE results day went a lot better than expected! With the encouragement of the only other person to have gone to Cambridge from my school, I decided to give it a shot, attending the Sutton Trust Summer School for Architecture in the break between Year 12 and 13.
Compared to other top Architecture schools in the country, the intake here is a lot smaller, which means that the years really merge together and help each other out, as well as organising socials. This creates a really amazing support network which is especially vital in a subject where you constantly have to pick up new skills, whether that's how to use a certain photoshop tool, work the bandsaw in the workshop or simply print something out at a certain scale. There’s always someone to go to and help you out!
The study trip to Naples in Easter vacation really seals this close bond. This is an all-expenses paid, weeklong trip to an incredible city, for all first year architects across the university. From 9am till around 5pm each day our history lecturer guided us around beautiful palaces, cathedrals and Roman ruins, discussing their architecture and history. After this time everyone was free to do as they please, tending to try out a new restaurant each night and then head down to the piazza right next to the hotel to have a few drinks. The week culminated in a design project which we presented in a local architecture studio, which has close ties to our department. It truly was an incredible experience to end an unforgettable week.
Mondays and Thursdays are ‘studio days’, from 10am till 5pm. These generally consist of presenting drawings you have been working on over the last few days either in a ‘pin up’ to the rest of the year and tutors, or on a more individual level. On Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Fridays I have two lectures which cover the exam content of the course; Architectural History and Theory, Structures, Environmental Design and Construction. I did not study history at school, however on coming to Cambridge I have found the History and Theory lectures to be one of the most interesting aspects of the course. In addition, I generally have one history supervision a week, with construction and structures supervisions scattered throughout the term. These really consolidate my knowledge, and enable me to ask all those seemingly ‘silly’ questions I otherwise would not get the answer to.
At weekends, I always look forward to going to brunch in the Dome with everyone; this definitely is a weekly occurrence, which friends from other colleges are more than willing to cycle up the hill for!
After I was pooled to Murray Edwards I was nervous about coming here as I had no idea what to expect! But after attending the Offer Holders overnight stay I was sold: Medwards really was the only place for me. The cycle to department is great exercise and the slight distance from town truly feels like I’m coming home.