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Aoife
-1st January 2005, 21:38
Soooo, my offer came through a few days ago. What's the team like? (I couldn't find anybody who knew when I went up for the interview, as they'd all gone home for Xmas).

Anybody here on the team can tell me about it?

Boo Boo
-1st January 2005, 22:37
I am not at Cambridge, but (from looking at their website) think that it would be an a very good place to go: good competitive team, good coach, good training schedule... http://www.cufencing.org.uk/

If I was going to university now, then it would be one of my top choices (outside of London)... Think it would be a lot of fun.

Although, as other people would say, you ought to choose your university predominantly on the course and whether you would want to live in the place... (especially since many fencers get to university and decide not to continue for many reasons...).

Boo

sparkymark567
-1st January 2005, 23:06
I think the website is out of date as I'm not sure whether they even have a fencing coach at the moment? Sorry, I don't mean to put you off.

Rdb811
-1st January 2005, 23:28
Well Marek was coaching there when I spoke to him a couple of months ago.

ChubbyHubby
-2nd January 2005, 08:40
Originally posted by sparkymark567
I think the website is out of date as I'm not sure whether they even have a fencing coach at the moment? Sorry, I don't mean to put you off.

But their calendar

http://www.indigo-photographic.co.uk/calendar/

is rather nice :grin:

Foilling Around
-2nd January 2005, 09:01
Unfortunately the fencer is the worst photo of the lot. Not the person you understand, just quality and composition of the photo.

vil
-2nd January 2005, 10:31
Originally posted by Aoife
Soooo, my offer came through a few days ago. What's the team like? (I couldn't find anybody who knew when I went up for the interview, as they'd all gone home for Xmas).

Anybody here on the team can tell me about it?
From what I can gather, simply having studied at a uni like Cambridge or Oxford opens a lot of doors for you after you graduate. Personally I'd jump at the chance to go there & not worry about the fencing.

Besides, either there'll be some good fencers that you can learn from or you'll be the star of the team. You can't lose! :)

Leonie H
-2nd January 2005, 10:53
CUFC is one of the best student clubs, in terms of ability, at the moment and you will find lots of people to help you improve. They were, however, without a coach in November when I went back for the Old Blues match. You can always contact one of the committee whose details can be found on the website.

There are other clubs in the Cambridge area which always welcome new people: Cambs FC where Graham Stretton coaches and Cambridge Sword where a number of good junior foilists train (and the occasional adult).

Congratulations on your offer - which college will you be at?

Leonie

Foilling Around
-2nd January 2005, 12:46
Cambridge is actually quite a little hotbed of WF. They may be juniors but a good few a well up the rankings. Anna Robinson(10), Clare Galloway(16), Maisie Jenyon(15), Laura Delany(20) and add to that Phillippa Mullins (BYC Under 14 Champion) Celia Mullins, Rose Jenyon and I don't think you will lack for opposition if you make sure you do you homework and go to the right clubs.

randomsabreur
-2nd January 2005, 14:31
For all that I have connections with the Dark Side, and the Tabs are clearly inferior in all ways... (OK they beat us in the varsity match last year but)

Cambridge Uni has a very good fencing team, both men's and womens'.

Congrats on getting an offer. I am sure you will have a great time, and do lots on interesting things, work and non-work related!

As foiling around said, tons of foilists around as well

Aoife
-4th January 2005, 15:42
Congratulations on your offer - which college will you be at?



Hommerton (can I hear the spits of disgust already? :confused: )


I might not go there in the end... the course doesn't look as fun as some at other unis I've applied to. I've got visit days coming up at Sussex, Sheffield, York and Edinbugh.

Insipiens
-4th January 2005, 16:02
Aoife

Far be it from me to encourage anyone to go to the Other Place as I was educated at its more famous rival ;) ... but in all seriousness I would really think twice before turning down a place at Cambridge.

The single best thing (academically) about Oxbridge is the tutorial system. To be required once or twice weekly to defend your own ideas on a subject to an expert in the field is a fantastic opportunity and while your other choices are all good universities the student-teacher ratio will almost certainly be less favourable. You cannot allow yourself to hide when there is no-one but you speaking to a tutor.

The course may look drier or less practical, or just less fun, but if you know what you re interested in, the tutorial system can be worked to allow you to bring in those interests. The tutors do genuinely prefer to talk with people who have thought about things.

You will also find yourself among an incredibly broad spectrum of people united primarily by their academic ability. Don't be put off by the public school image - in practice you will find that it is absolutely nothing like Brideshead Revisited.

Pure academic issues aside, you may also find that the prestige of Cambridge adds to all sorts of aspects of student life from political debate, through the strength of arts in the university to the strength of their fencing club.

The college system also means that you are not only a member of a university of well over 10,000 people but also a member of a college of some 300-400 (maybe a little more). This can give it a much friendlier scale.

And the architecture is great and being in a beautiful place is good for the soul.

[Furthermore and looking at the dark side: While you may not want to do so, or need to do so, you will find after University that a degree from Cambridge will make doors a lot easier to get a foot into than other universities. Regardless of whether or not this is a good thing in general, it will probably be a good thing for you. It could even add 5,000 to your starting salary ;) (unless of course you decide to be a teacher or something similar). A 2:1 from Cambridge in an arts subject (I think you are probably doing English) may mean you can get jobs/positions places that would require a first from another university. OK you may well get that first].

randomsabreur
-4th January 2005, 16:15
Insipiens got there first but I feel I should add my twopennorth.

1. Cambridge seems to have a very good work hard, play hard ethic (and also some nice long holidays to catch up on all of the reading you should have done, do some fencing, earn some cash on the side)

2. The tutorial system will make you work and think a lot harder. In my final year at Birmingham I did very little work as the tutor groups were very big, and you could quite easily hide in the middle somewhere and say nothing. As soon as you have more than 8 people in a 1 hour tutorial, the potential for slacking is huge, depending on how dedicated you are, and the potential for being able to explore a question that particularly interested you in more depth during is much more limited due to time constraits. When you get above 7 or 8 people in a class it is less a tutorial and more of a mini-lecture where the tutor has a script to go through, and not much time to discuss anyone else.

3. At Cambridge you will generally be tutored by some of the leading academics in the country, at other universities, you may well be tutored by post grad students who know only what they have mugged up before the class.

Loads of my school friends went to Cambridge, had a great time, and met loads of people who they are still good friends with. College rowing seems a really good way to get to know people, as do college bops and formals.

londonirish
-4th January 2005, 16:31
Originally posted by Aoife
Anybody here on the team can tell me about it?

Hi Aoife,

We went back up recently for the old blues / new blues competition. The team seemed to be pretty strong and focused and people really enjoyed what they were doing.

More generally though, it is important that you believe the course is right for you. I have to say though, that 'fun' is not a reason to pick a degree; you must enjoy your subject certainly, but most people find that fun comes from outside of their courses. I also would say never ever believe a prospectus.

Because of the collegiate system at Cambridge, I was able to take up hockey, rowing, squash, tennis and represent my college despite never having done these sports before. Each college has at least one team per sport (thats 32+ teams) - the opportunity for taking part is immense.

I suppose at the end of the day though, it's like anywhere else - it will be what you make of it.

P.

PS What is the course? I hear that Homerton is no longer solely a teaching college (one of my friends is now a fellow there).

Aoife
-4th January 2005, 16:45
I found Cambridge a little odd on the two occassions when I visited it (Downing and Hommerton). The rules about what grass can be walked on, and what time you have to be in, and how many nights you must be on campus seemed a little draconion to me. Maybe that's just fussiness though :)


(unless of course you decide to be a teacher or something similar)

Bingo; that's what I want to be. So a degree from the lowliest of University acredited colleges would still get me a job :)


Also, I applied to study English Language and Linguistics everywhere else, and Education Studies with English at Hommerton, and I think I'd prefer more focus on linguistics.




I have to say though, that 'fun' is not a reason to pick a degree; you must enjoy your subject certainly, but most people find that fun comes from outside of their courses.

I must disagree... I think the most important thing about education is that it should be fun. If you're not having fun whilst you learn, what is the incentive?


The tutorial system will make you work and think a lot harder.

True, I do like the idea of a tutorial system, but then I've never been one to shrink into the background of a lesson. In a class of thirty I'll still talk at a level to almost equal the teacher and I cannot think of a teacher who's never had to ask me to let somebody else have a go at some point :) (In fact quite a few of my teachers tell me to shut up on a frequent basis... I can't help it, I heckle; I don't learn if I'm not talking :grin: )


Loads of my school friends went to Cambridge


This may well be my problem. Loads of my friends are going to Oxbridge and whilst they're all nice enough people I don't think I'd want to live with them as the constant focus on results would really get on my nerves. That and they stress a lot. And are dreadfully competative. And wouldn't like me starting sentances with and :)

gbm
-4th January 2005, 19:29
Originally posted by Insipiens
The college system also means that you are not only a member of a university of well over 10,000 people but also a member of a college of some 300-400 (maybe a little more). This can give it a much friendlier scale.

Cardiff Uni has 22,000 students.
Also you get tutorials in groups of ~4 people with a proper expert :) (at least in the Physics and Astronomy department).
But then their fencing club isn't very good. ;)

Have fun.

Aoife
-4th January 2005, 20:14
Downside of Cardiff being that having not applied there, they haven't given me an offer :grin: (though wouldn't it be nice if Universities asked for you that way?)

Foilling Around
-4th January 2005, 22:25
Aoife, don't assume that just because you want to teach now, that you will want to do so for the rest of your life.

I went into teaching late (39) having done a number of things before. A good few of my younger collegues have no intention of putting up with the stress for 40+ years.

My suggestion is to get the best regarded and most widely acceptable qualification available. The days of going into a job or job type and staying there for life are over.

On the other hand, having been and employer of graduates in the travel industry in a previous part of my life. We never employed Oxbridge graduates. Rightly or wrongly the thought was that they were more likely to use a small tour operator as a short term stepping stone.

We were far more interested in a wide range of life experience.

Rdb811
-4th January 2005, 23:12
I'll agree wholeheartedly with Inspiens and Randomsabreur (I went the more famous rival as well) and Londonirish and it gave me an outlook on life I wouldn't have got elsewhere.

To be blunt (and I hope I don't offend anybody with these comments), the degree you get isn't as important as where you got it from (except a number of science degrees) - also a 'pure' academic degree is more valuable than a quasi-vocational one.

I read Geography - it wasn't the subject I studied for A - level and I ddn't enjoy parts of it, but I had a great time there and still have a lot of friends from then.

The rules about not walking on the grass etc. are a bit of a chimera (rembering the 1st XV trying to steer their way around the quad one night to avoid walkng on the lawn).

Similarly the bits about stress and results - when I was a fresher made the naive comment " I've come here to work" to the Princpal and got such a withering look that I never did any from that day on.