Cambridge and beyond
Wow, where to even begin? It’s now been just over a month since my last entry, which means I essentially have only two more weeks here at Cambridge. And believe me when I say that what an adventure it has been!
As a bit of background, our time here is split into two halves called modules. My module 1 consisted of constant classes, readings, homework, and papers. This is because the entirety of one of my classes (Modern European History) was crammed into that single month, all while also having my two-month-long class (Good Life or Moral Life) and a Supervision research project. But despite all the craziness of that module, I survived, and with plenty to show for it.
The weekend between modules was a time to celebrate, and celebrate I did! Some friends and I decided we wanted to travel a bit, so after exploring countless options and nearly giving up, we found a great deal for bus tickets to … drumroll … Paris!
Yes sir, I returned to Paris to explore the parts of the city I missed last time and to enjoy it some more. We spent that Saturday in London and Sunday and Monday in Paris, traveling at night. That weekend, between the British Museum and the Louvre, I saw more famous artifacts from the ancient Near East than I had seen _ever_ before in my life. Loved it.
Other adventures here have included watching the Tour de France come through Cambridge, being a tourist for the day and visiting museums and other colleges in town, going out with my camera to enjoy some beautiful views, punting down the River Cam, watching fireworks up close and personal from my front lawn, watching Shakespeare’s _As You Like It _performed outside at the St. John’s College Gardens, going salsa dancing at the Cambridge University Social Club, singing hymns in the magnificent King’s College Chapel, and so so so much more. Not to mention adventures still to come, such as tomorrow’s trip to London to watch the Lion King performed at the Lyceum Theater, as well as a play at Shakespeare’s Globe Theater later in the evening.
Really, everything here is so beautiful, that simply walking out in the morning, or sitting on my front lawn during sunsets are adventures in and of themselves. And turning corners to find hidden gems of open spaces full of gardens and old buildings makes me feel like I’m in Narnia.
It’s amazing how much I have learned here. Sure, I have learned plenty in my classes, especially Modern European History since it was a topic I hardly knew anything about but have since come to find fascinating. Still, most of what I’m learning is just simply from being here.
Perhaps most interesting of all is how every place I’ve visited during my adventures this summer has taught me different things about humanity, about myself, and about how I want to contribute to the world. Because of the very personal nature of many of the things I have learned, I don’t find this an appropriate place to talk about them. But I do want to emphasize just how important I now regard a wide education that is well-rounded and that pulls from all disciplines and from all over the world.
I’ve long been an advocate of broad liberal arts education, but more than ever do I understand how critical that is. I’m not talking strictly of formal education, but education in all its shapes. What I mean is that the books we read for pleasure, the things we look up on the internet, the way we spend our time—even the movies we watch—contribute to the way we perceive the world and what we can then offer in return. As Mark Twain once advised, “don’t let schooling interfere with your education.”
One last, unasked-for insight I want to share: playing hard is essential to working hard. Sure books are important, but so is going out to ride your bike, spending time chatting with friends, and my personal favorite—dancing the night away. Then when you do return to whatever kind of work your occupation entails—which here means reading reading reading—you will be that much better able to focus and enjoy what would otherwise be a monotonous task. That careful balance seems to be the mantra by which Cambridge students live. Plus, playing hard and working hard simply make me happier.
Rambling over. For now.