Entry Requirements: A*AA
No subjects required but most Colleges prefer History or an essay based subject at A Level.
Emily is in the second year of the History tripos. She is also the JCR Access Officer which means that she works on behalf of the Undergraduate students to make Robinson as open and accessible as possible to potential applicants.
Can you describe a typical day?
7.30: Get up and have breakfast in my room. Usually read the news on my iPad, and check my emails for the day ahead.
9-10: Head to the History faculty for a lecture on Paper 9, ‘Early Modern Economic and Social History’.
10-11: Lecture on Paper 23 ‘World History since 1914’ which looks at Indian and Chinese History.
11: Study with a friend in the University Library, just over the road from College. We have lunch in the tearoom at 1 and I generally stay there until 6, reading and writing my supervision essays. Usually at around 3pm I might head with a friend to Sainsburys for food shopping, or WHSmiths for stationary shopping.
6: At six, I will head to the garden restaurant for dinner, or cook pasta in our staircase kitchen and catch up with friends.
7: In the evening I have a lot of choice – Either I am subediting the University student newspaper, Varsity, or I go to a debate at the Cambridge Union, or I hang out in the bar here or at Corpus, my friend’s College. Sometimes I just chill out in my room with a film and friends. When I have an essay deadline the next day, I will head to the Robinson library with a mug of tea and spend the evening typing/reading.
What’s the difference between Papers?
The History tripos is separated into part 1 and part 2. Part 1 is for first and second years. It involves taking five papers (a paper on British political History, British Social and Economic History, European History and the other two papers you have free choice). We all take a ‘Themes and Sources’ extended essay, (also part 1) which involves reading a lot of primary material. I am writing mine on the history of rivers, focusing on their economic, cultural and environmental role within societies. The other Papers tend to be based more on secondary literature, but still have the opportunity to look at primary sources. For example, this term I chose paper 9 (Social and Economic History in Britain from 1500-1750) and this paper offered source seminars which allows closer examination of primary sources.
What’s your favourite part of being a History student?
Being able to uncover the past, every day is a new adventure as a history student. At the start of each weekly essay, it’s worth noting down what preconceptions you have surrounding that topic, by the end of the week after covering the reading, you’ll find that most of those initial notions have either been proved false, or your view of a particular subject has changed completely. This is what I love about History; it can alter your perception of an event or person quite radically. This makes History thoroughly exciting to study.