Clare College Cambridge

Classics

Lucy Aldous

Comprehensive School, Suffolk


Like most people at Cambridge, I knew very little about the individual colleges before applying, so choosing Clare was a bit of a stab in the dark. But three years on I can honestly say that it was one of the best decisions I’ve made. From the moment I arrived at Clare I felt welcomed into a comfortable college community. Clare is incredibly sociable; our bar is the best in Cambridge and entirely student run. We have the best events in college, attracting people from all over the university. Our accommodation is fantastic, especially in first year. Memorial Court acts as a meeting place for people from all years and the Library Common Room becomes a haven. Old Court is just stunning and those who are lucky enough to live here in third year can enjoy the beautiful views across Kings Chapel and the stunning Cambridge skyline. There is so much to get involved in here at Clare and during my time here I have been part of the May Ball committee, held the position of social secretary on the college JCR and been involved with drama.

Interviews vary depending upon your subject but for Classics the interview process is intensive but yet strangely creative and enjoyable. Classicists-to-be will usually have to sit a faculty exam, based on the levels of Latin and Greek which you currently have. As an applicant for the four year course, you might need to sit a language aptitude test, which is not as scary as it sounds and just involves playing around with a made up language and exploring language formation. The good thing about interviews at Clare is that you will always get the opportunity to defend your opinions, whether it’s how you conjugated a verb or your opinion of Plato’s Theory of Forms.

Clare has around 15 Classicists at any one time. This means that it is one of the larger colleges for Classics. Your supervisions are therefore usually with one or two other people, or sometimes on your own. This really allows you to get stuck into the subjects which you enjoy. I specialised at part 1A in art and archaeology and history but you can also explore the fields of linguistics and philosophy. Teaching is split between faculty and college, meaning that Classicists get lots of contact time with experts in their fields; which is what Cambridge is all about. The Classicists at Clare are always sociable; we organise various events throughout the year, culminating in the big Classics annual dinner in Lent term.

I have thoroughly enjoyed my first two years at Cambridge and can’t wait to get going on my third. I am studying the four year course, which has allowed me to pick up the subject with little previous experience of the classical languages. The courses here, both three and four years, are stimulating, wide-ranging and manic at times but I wouldn’t want to study anything else. Classics is one of the best subjects to be doing at Clare because your enthusiasm is shared by a group of like-minded individuals who enrich and enhance your learning experience here. In brief, I love it and would recommend this course and this college to anyone!