Sources of Support

THE EASTER TERM AND EXAM SEASON IN PEMBROKE

After discussions with the Junior and Graduate Parlour Committees, the Tutors thought you may welcome this advance note about Easter term in Pembroke. Even if you don’t read it now – it contains some information about the start of next term, and then the main examination season from late May to the middle of June – please keep it to hand and consult it before you come back into residence.

The Start of the Easter Term

From the first day of full term, 23rd April, you can expect some members of Pembroke to be taking University or College exams. If you are returning to Cambridge on the weekend of 20th-21st April, please bear this in mind, and from the outset respect other people’s right to quiet. Others will be staying in College over the Easter vacation working on projects, dissertations and long essays. Some people will already be revising; others will be planning their revision schedules, ideally in every case with a clear sense of the dates of the examinations for which they have been entered. (Timetables for exams in late May or June are published near the start of next term: if you can’t wait till then, consult last year’s exam papers on Faculty web pages or in the College library, look at their day, date and time, then find the equivalent day of the equivalent week for 2013.)

In the past, Junior Parlour Committees have felt the pressure of looming exams to be too close to hold a beginning of Easter term Bop. We have respected that, and the absolute right to quiet of students preparing for exams, which both at the start of term and in the main season can take place six days a week (with little or no acknowledgement of such distractions as Diamond Jubilees!). This year, though, the JP committee feels it important to provide an opportunity to relax. So on Saturday 27th April from 9 to 11.00 pm (please note earlier end time, agreed to allow quiet to prevail by 11.45pm) the Junior Parlour will host a JPC Bop. We hope that advance notice of this event will allow those who don’t want to be affected to make alternative arrangements till 11.00 pm that evening.

Main Examination Period

For the first three weeks of term, life in Pembroke is very much as normal for many undergraduates, with many courses requiring students to carry on attending lectures and regular supervisions. But from Sunday 12th May until Friday 14th June we close to all but prospective applicants and visitors to Chapel and enter a formal examination period, when Fellows as well as students tend not to have noisy gatherings or events.

Whenever it starts for you, the exam season affects people in many different ways. Much the best way is to be prepared for this, and it is both possible and sensible to take it in your stride. You may even enjoy it! Cambridge students are all experienced exam takers and revisers, and Cambridge exams are still only exams, for which you will have been prepared.  Tutors and Directors of Studies are also experienced exam takers, and so do talk to them.  But the pressures of these weeks next term can sometimes feel hard to bear, whether you are absorbing new material, revising for exams and worrying whether you’re doing too much or too little, sitting them, experiencing their aftermath or drafting dissertations. The purpose of this note is to remind you that help will be at hand from a number of sources in College, and to encourage you to make use of one or more of those sources of support as soon as you feel you need to. If you or a friend are feeling at all frail, don’t suffer alone or in silence, and don’t assume that no one else is feeling what you’re feeling. As well as your Director of Studies, Undergraduate and Graduate Tutors are always willing to help at this season, both at their normal times and more generally; so is the Dean and Chaplain, James Gardom. If your own Tutor happens to be temporarily unavailable, seek out another; the College Nurse, Jan Brighting, is also on hand. The Tutorial Office team (Sally Clowes, Becky Coombs, Moira Hassett and Frances Kentish), and for that matter the Porters and your bedder and any member of College staff, are all looking out for you; so are the welfare reps of both Junior and Graduate Parlour, and the graduate student members of the Pembroke Listening scheme are available too: look out for posters telling you who they are.

If you are feeling anxious, either on your own account or on a friend’s, or if you’re unwell, don’t hesitate to come and see us or email to arrange a meeting. We can only help if we are aware of how you’re feeling, but knowing what is the matter can often enable Tutors to put in place practical measures or offer practical advice — about where and when to work, and when not to; about managing your time and your nerves in an exam; about coping with and surmounting writer’s block — that may just make the difference between stress continuing to mount and finding a way through. We also have, online, some constructive and practical tips on managing your time and your feelings as you revise. These are available here.

When the main run of exams do start, in the fourth week in May, undergraduate Tutors have a rota system which means that a Tutor and a member of the Tutorial Office team is available to rescue anyone in the event of a real crisis in an exam hall somewhere (if it happens to you, remember not to leave the building: stay with the invigilator and we will come and find you, give you time and room to calm down, and review things with you). And as the College Counsellor, I also have access to a range of counsellors to meet most needs. Sally or Becky in the Tutorial Office and the Porters can put you in touch with me, or you can contact me yourself on lrg10@cam.ac.uk.

Details of all these support services are available from the Tutorial Office or on the Welfare pages, and they are posted on the screens and JP and GP noticeboards as well as around College.

Anyway, good luck for the term. We’ll be here for you: just let us know if you need any help at all.

Loraine Gelsthorpe