Love In A Time Of Camstress

Ruby Cline

Anyone who claims to have never had a debilitating lecture crush is an absolute liar, but some students have taken their love out of the lecture hall and into their dating lives. Same-subject relationships are particularly interesting in a university so notable for its competitive nature. What would it feel like to be directly ranked against your partner? To share not just sweet nothings, but essays with the one you love (and privately think that they really shouldn’t have phrased it that way – not that you’d ever say it)? To sit in the library, holding hands, staring at the same diagram?

Girl Talk spoke to the wonderful Sophie and Aidan, a second-year Geography power couple, about their experiences dating within their subject. They met at a Geography social (their words. I would call it Spoons, but each to their own). Here’s what they had to say.

What’s it like dating in the same subject?

S: I think it’s really nice that we get to share a massive part of our lives together, especially at Cambridge where your degree is a huge investment of your time and energy. It’s really nice to have a coordinated timetable.

A: Especially for exams, it was really nice to finish at the same time and be able to relax together instead of one of us having to wait for two weeks. It’s quite cool talking about it and having the same brain, in the way that you think about and draw connections to things in day to day life.

S: It makes it easier to spend chunks of time together because you can do things off the back of being in Downing Site together or lying in knowing both of you have a free morning. We laugh about our lecturers together.

Anything particularly difficult about it?

S: I like to escape the stress of my subject, and I think sometimes it can be difficult because we share a stress. Sometimes I don’t want to talk about Geography.

(Knowing Sophie personally, I absolutely do not believe there has ever been a moment where she did not want to talk about Geography).

A: I don’t mind it as much, I don’t have the same issue. Sometimes it’s a bit much when you’re on the same piece of work, doing it at the same time. This term we’ve had a few of the same essays at the same time.

S: Yeah, that wasn’t very nice.

A: The field trip allocation has been annoying, we didn’t get the same one.

(Imagine getting field trips. Oh, the hardship of going to Morocco).

Did you set any academic boundaries with each other?

S: I was quite stubborn last year, I didn’t ask Aidan for help when I needed it. But I’ve learnt my lesson for this year. Last year I was much more anti–working together in libraries because you’re quite conscious of what the other person is doing.

A: We don’t share essays regularly, but we don’t have a ban on it or anything.

Has dating changed your perspectives on Geography?

S: It’s changed the nature of our friendships within the subject. I became better friends with the Geographers Aidan knew. It’s nice having mutual friends who know you both individually and then know you together.

A: We’ve formed a really cute little Jedwards (Jesus X Medwards) group of Geographers, it’s very wholesome. Hearing different points in essays can be quite helpful.

“Our relationship, and our subject, rocks.”

Has it made you work differently?

S: Aidan is much better at lectures than me. I just sit there and don’t really know what’s going on. I do most of my learning through reading. Aidan’s more efficient in writing and planning, he tends to know where his essay is going when he starts and I don’t. Dating someone who’s doing the same tasks as you reminds you how differently people work.

A: For me, for a while, I used to compare. I’m better at it now. It took a while to accept that the work will get done. I don’t need to compare.

What does love in a time of camstress mean to you?

S: A destress. A warm space. A parallel but separate space that understands it but lets you exist alongside it.

A: Someone who gets it but you can also just be with and forget about it for a bit.

S: We share the stress.

A: Our relationship, and our subject, rocks.

Any advice on dating in your subject?

S: It’s okay to draw boundaries if you need to. We never do supos together. If you don’t wanna sit together in lectures, if you always do, you should feel okay in setting and changing those boundaries when you need them.

A: It’s nice to have separate friends within your subject, so you’re not always overlapping and doing everything together.

A: Last year we learnt about volcanoes, and I learnt that I lav-a Sophie.


What do you think, Girl Talk? Would you date within your subject?

Love in a time of Camstress is a biweekly Girl Talk column, written by Ruby Cline and contributed to by lovers across Cambridge.

Featured Image Credit: Ruby Cline

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