- McDermott Scholars
- The McDermott Scholars Award covers all expenses of a superb four-year academic education at The University of Texas at Dallas, in concert with a diverse array of intensive extracurricular experiences, including internships, travel, and cultural enrichment.
Tuesday, November 23, 2010
Life at an 800 year old university is rather different than that at UTD. It tends to change one some. First off, I rather fancy tea now. Secondly, I now use the word “fancy”. From the restrictions of the various colleges (just try and sneak past the porters at Emmanuel!) to the gorgeous architecture, it’s a rather surreal world compared to back home. One of the coolest things about Cambridge is the way they still hold formal halls. These are the highest social grace amongst the colleges here. Each college holds different types of formal halls, has different chefs/ceremonies, and has different restrictions on who can attend. At my college, Hughes Hall, we keep things relatively modern and egalitarian. While suits and tuxes are required, we are flexible on the need for gowns. In addition to this, the fellows of the college drink and dine with us. We take our sherry overlooking the fields at sundown, proceed to dinner once the gong is rung, bow our heads for a single short Latin grace, dine amongst the fellows, and then proceed to our port. This stands in stark contrast to hall at Trinity, where the building is only lit by candle and torch, and the fellows are kept completely separate from the students. While the students sit at long tables and eat substandard food in plastic chairs, the fellows sit in throne-like carved masterpieces, eating meals personally prepared by Michelin-star level chefs. The rest of the 31 colleges fall somewhere along this spectrum, but it’s fascinating to see each hall and its specific rules. Life here at Cambridge is dominated by the colleges, and formal hall is your passport to each one. On that note, here’s a photo of me in proper gown fashion before hall at Trinity, home of Newton, Dirac, Tennyson, Bohr, Maxwell, and Byron.
Thursday, November 11, 2010
My college, Hughes Hall. Nice, but nothing super amazing.
King’s College. People really do go to school there.
Recently, the UK is debating whether to raise tuition for its public schools leading to the belief of many that Cambridge will re-brand itself as a private university. This, of course, has been met with a great deal of controversy as Cambridge currently only charges 3000 pounds a year in tuition for UK and EU students. If it goes private, students will need to pay more like 20,000 pounds a year in tuition, making it completely unfeasible for the majority of students at poorer colleges. However, should the big colleges choose to flex their financial muscle and push the initiative, the smaller colleges will have little say in the matter, as a Cambridge without a Trinity or Johns is simply no longer Cambridge. It’s a bit like if we ran Congress without the Senate as an equalizing body. Ostensibly, every college is equal under the Cambridge banner, but in reality, size matters. It’s going to be fascinating to see what happens next, as the policies and standards the university establishes in the next five years are going to greatly affect its status as one of the great research and educational institutes in the world. Despite all the upheaval, two things remain certain: Cambridge must find ways to support its world-class research, and the largest colleges will continue to dominate the political life at the university.