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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

Thomas and Cambridge Dining

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.

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