Crystal - BA, Politics
Hello, my name is Crystal and having graduated with a first class degree in Politics from Trinity Hall, I am now staying on for another year to take the MPhil in Political Thought and Intellectual History.
As I’m sure you will know, a typical question asked is ‘Why did you choose Trinity Hall?’ and as much as I would love to say it was because of the wonderful student community, active Fellowship and beautiful gardens, the truth is that I made the decision very arbitrarily and ended up with Trinity Hall after a long process of elimination of all the other colleges. It’s very difficult to get a good picture of what college life is really like at any college, but in hindsight the key thing to look for is the research of the Fellows in your chosen subject. Understand what they are interested in from the college and faculty websites, and see whether their research interests you. Other things you may want to consider in choosing a college are size, location and accommodation but wherever you choose will become a part of you as you become part of it. In all of these categories Trinity Hall has delivered and I cannot imagine being happier at any other college.
The wonderful thing about learning in Cambridge is it simultaneously makes you realise how little you know while empowering you to make claims and make arguments and discuss these issues with experts in the field."
Although I graduated with a degree in Politics, I was actually admitted to the college as a student of Archaeology and Anthropology which I took in my first year. The course was split into four papers, Social Anthropology, Biological Anthropology, Archaeology and one option paper for which I chose Politics. Archaeology and Anthropology was a fascinating course but I decided to continue with Politics as I particularly enjoyed reading texts of political thought and getting to grips with both the arguments, and the specific context from which they emerged. I pursued this interest through to my final year and considered questions such as ‘Does it matter if democracy is technically impossible?’ drawing upon a blend of political theory and political philosophy. The best part about the third year course material was the more self-reflexive, methodological questions asked of the various disciplines such as ‘Should political philosophy necessarily be concerned with its history?’ The wonderful thing about learning in Cambridge is it simultaneously makes you realise how little you know while empowering you to make claims and make arguments and discuss these issues with experts in the field.
The topics ranged from ‘Hobbes and the London Riots’ to ‘Marx and Markets’ and were discussed over Domino’s pizza and Sainsbury’s Basics Red wine and were great fun."
In my final year I took up the role as President of the Trinity Hall Politics Society which held open discussions chaired by one of the Fellows. The topics ranged from ‘Hobbes and the London Riots’ to ‘Marx and Markets’ and were discussed over Domino’s pizza and Sainsbury’s Basics Red wine and were great fun. The Society is an example of just how supportive an academic and social environment Trinity Hall is: we received some money from the Senior Tutor’s fund for refreshments and the Master came to chair one of the sessions which was a great success.
It’s not all work at Trinity Hall. Outside college there are numerous plays, talks and nights out to keep you entertained. Inside college there are ‘vivas’ (the infamous bi-weekly college bops) which have unfortunately witnessed my attempts to dress as a Dalek, Lady Gaga and a London Underground tube station.
Inside college there are ‘vivas’ which have unfortunately witnessed my attempts to dress as a Dalek, Lady Gaga and a London Underground tube station."
The wonderful thing about Trinity Hall really is the welcoming and supportive environment, both academically and socially. This extends from the love and care offered by the college ‘parents’ (older students) you’ll be assigned to upon arrival to a friendly smile and greeting from George the porter who, if you’re lucky, might offer you a cup of tea and a digestive biscuit if you’re feeling down. Having spent three years here already, I am all too aware of how quickly my last year will go and that I need to savour all of the things that Trinity Hall, and indeed Cambridge, provide that one becomes so quickly accustomed too.