Student Life
Subject Info

Below you will find personal testimonies written by Sidney students on studying their subjects here! Scroll to the bottom of the page for more helpful links 🙂


 

compsci

COMPUTER SCIENCE (‘COMPSCI’)

Matt, 2nd Year

Sidney in three words: “Sainsbury’s, Supportive, Sibilance.”

Why study CompSci in Sidney?Sidney’s intake for CompSci is usually relatively low (normally between about 1 and 3). I think this is great because, when I first arrived, it encouraged me to make friends with people from other subjects and learn about all of their interesting, very different perspectives on the world. Now, it gives me a great work-life balance between Sidney and the Computer Lab. Don’t worry about the low numbers affecting your potential though, because Sidney is affiliated with Churchill College (among others) for Computer Science. This means that we get to share their great resources, like their excellent supervisors. And there are plenty of opportunities to make friends with other Cambridge CompScis too!”

Favourite memory from college/Cambridge?This kind of question is always incredibly difficult to answer, because I have loads of great memories already, after less than 2 years in Cambridge. This university is full of so many genuinely interesting, intelligible, talented people and as a result it’s probably been the best two years of my life. If I’m being forced to think about one particular moment, it’s probably helping to set up and run Sidney’s Silent Disco on the second night of Freshers’ Week. For a bit of context, I’m one of Sidney’s elected Entertainment Reps, and I help out behind a huge array of events, from Bops to Comedy nights, to pub quizzes. It’s such an amazing feeling when I can see how my hard work is directly making my fellow students have fun and be happy.”

ENGINEERING

Martina, 2nd Year

Sidney in three words: “Friendly, Fun, Freedom!”

Why study engineering at Sidney? “Engineering is awesome! Sidney engineers are lucky enough to come in cohorts of about 12 people, which means you always have other engineers to share problems, ideas, and projects with. Equally, Sidney is famous for its engineering Fellows – these are the academics who supervise you and make sure you really understand the subject, stretching your thinking beyond the scope of the course. There is as much or as little competition as you want between Sidney engineers and there’s always plenty of time to be doing other things: sports, drama, languages, running various committees (May Ball, HinduSoc, CUES, rowing, etc.) so you don’t end up missing out on the fun to be had at Cambridge.”

Favourite memory from college/Cambridge? “Sitting in the sun in Sidney Gardens after exams in first year. It was lovely to just be able to read a book, chat to friends, drink Pimms, eat strawberries and be totally free of any kind of work.”

chemeng

CHEMICAL ENGINEERING

Gillian, 2nd Year

Sidney in three words: “Close to Sainsbury’s! Everyone at Sidney is really friendly, the gardens are lovely and the atmosphere around college is great, but being across from Sainsbury’s is a total lifesaver when you realise you have no dinner and it’s 2 minutes until Sainsbury’s closes on a Sunday.”

Why study Chemical Engineering in Sidney? As there are usually only one or two Chemical Engineers per year at Sidney, you’re guaranteed to make friends at other colleges, which is really nice. It also means you don’t really have to fight over books in the library! In general, Chemical Engineering at Cambridge is a great choice- the department is very friendly and the course is really interesting.”

Favourite memory from college/Cambridge?Although it’s a bit touristy, going punting at the end of May Week last year was just so nice (May Week is a time when everyone relaxes and has fun at the very end of term). Exams were over and the sun was out – it was the perfect way to spend a couple hours with friends.”

geography

GEOGRAPHY

Anna, 2nd Year

Sidney in three words: “Central, friendly, small.”

Why study Geography at Sidney? “Geography at Sidney is great, we have our very own geography society called the Chorley Society which holds regular talks and a much-anticipated annual dinner. This means that you get to know the other geographers in your college well, not only from your year but from other years too, so geography as a subject has a nice community feel to it! Sidney’s central location is very convenient for the Geography Department – it only takes you around 10 minutes to walk to lectures in the morning, giving you plenty of opportunity for morning lie-ins. Our library is also fantastically well stocked – it has basically all the books you’ll need in first year, so you don’t even have to trek all the way to the UL or department library for your work.”

Favourite memory from college/Cambridge? “I have many of favourite memories from Cambridge, most of which revolve around lounging outside, ‘working’ in Sidney gardens in the sun with my friends. One of my favourites was coxing my rowing crew for Lent Bumps in my first year, when we got a shock ‘overbump’ (that’s really good) in our last race. We were interviewed by CamFM (the student radio station) on the side of the river before subjecting Sidney’s Boat Club to a raucous rendition of our musical speech ‘One Row More’ at the boat club dinner that evening. Sidney’s Boat Club  is impressively large for our college size and really inclusive, again adding to the friendly community spirit of Sidney!”

histofart

HISTORY OF ART

Elly, 3rd Year

Sidney in a haiku…

Little, walled college,

You are opposite Sainsburys; 

So very central.”

Why study History of Art in Sidney?Studying History of Art at Sidney is great because the college typically only takes one student per year. Some might see this as a disadvantage, but you get to make friends with a variety of people from lots of different subjects within your college. Then you also get to make friends with people from other colleges in lectures (which is brill for getting formal tickets at some of the fancier colleges!) Another advantage of being one of the only History of Art students in Sidney is that there is absolutely no competition for the books in the library – you essentially have your own little section!”

Favourite memory from college/Cambridge?My favourite memory from Cambridge is getting a ‘bump’ on the last day of ‘Bumps’ against a college that was ‘on for blades’. This crazy rowing jargon was something I picked up in my first year when I first started rowing… It means that our college team won a race against a faster team, which was a really great feeling, let alone the fact it was on a really hot and beautiful summer day, after exams in Cambridge. An amazing day!”

hsps1

HUMAN, SOCIAL AND POLITICAL SCIENCES (HSPS)

(Social Anthropology, Sociology, International Relations and Politics)

Noah, 1st Year

Sidney in three words:Really lovely gardens (and people and food)”

Why study HSPS in Sidney?By its very nature HSPS attracts a variety of people with a variety of interests, which is utterly fantastic.Although the anthropology library does seem to be full of hip jumper-wearers, there is no stereotypical HSPS student! Combine this with Sidney’s friendly atmosphere, and everyone fits in and feels at home.

Sidney’s location is also fantastic. The department libraries are only five minutes away and the longest walk I’ve ever had to lectures was fifteen minutes (such a trek!). Half of our supervisions are in college and half of them are outside, which gives you familiarity and also a chance to meet other students. I’ve never been bored in Sidney, either with my course or in my free time. We do such a wide variety of topics, you’re always doing something completely different for each essay.”

Favourite memory from college/Cambridge?Probably when the lacrosse team won their first game of the year, which was also the last game of the year.”

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HSPS (AGAIN!)

Darcy, 2nd Year

Sidney in three words: “Friendly, Fun, Sainsburys.”

Why Study HSPS in Sidney?Over the time I’ve been here, Sidney has gained specialists in Sociology and Social Anthropology in addition to really strong expertise in Politics, International Relations and Archeology. The subject is fairly small here, so you get to know everyone in different years, and we always gather for end of term drinks together. HSPSers in Sidney are also really active outside their subject – making films, running the JCR, and getting involved in the May Ball and student politics.”

Favourite memory from college/Cambridge?Halfway Hall! A celebration we have in 2nd year, when we’re halfway through our degrees. All my friends, a great party and a truly excessive Cheese Board <3″

law

LAW

Michael, 2nd Year

Sidney in three words:Intimate… central… social.”

Why study law in Sidney?The law supervisors at Sidney take a genuine interest in you and how you’re doing, so you won’t get lost in the couple of hundred other students studying law at Cambridge! There are around 6 people in each year group for Law, so supervision sizes are smaller than other colleges – around 2-3 people per supervision, so you get a lot out of them.

Sidney also has its own law society that regularly holds drinks events, hosts speakers and has dinners, so you get to know your supervisors on a personal level. This also means that you get to know the other year groups really well, which is always great when it comes to asking for advice about the subject!”

Favourite memory from college/Cambridge? Being a part of a drag queen’s live performance after she dragged me on to the stage at a university-wide law society event!”

maths

MATHS

Justin, 2nd Year

Sidney in three words:Close to Sainsbury’s.”

Why study mathematics at Sidney?Mathematics is one of the most prestigious courses at Cambridge. Sidney is one of the smaller colleges, and as such the mathematicians provide a lot of support for each other, offering help if necessary. The Allen Society (Sidney’s mathematical society) also puts on some good events, with free food, drinks, and a lecture about a (usually) interesting subject.”

Favourite memory from college/Cambridge?There are too many good times to pick out a single one – social events like May Week, formals are obvious choices but more than that there are sporting events, talks and even some comic moments in lectures that stand out, usually when a lecturer makes an error in their delivery… intentional maths jokes tend to be pretty poor.”

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MODERN AND MEDIEVAL LANGUAGES (MML)

Alex, 3rd Year

Sidney in three words:Welcoming, Nurturing, Home.”

Why MML at Sidney? “MML at Sidney provides you with a great opportunity: you will live and study in a college known for its open and friendly attitude, where you can benefit from the high calibre of staff (academic and otherwise) throughout your degree. Sidney has various links with universities and companies around the world for your Year Abroad, and its MML Fellows are experts in a wide-range of subjects.

Work aside, Sidney’s social life is great too. We boast one of the few student-run bars to still exist in the whole of the University and there are frequently parties and dinners to have fun at. All in all, Sidney is great, and you already know that MML is great (since its your choice of course), so what’s stopping you?”

Favourite memory from college/Cambridge? “Most of my best memories of Sidney have been due to all the great friends I’ve made here. I could not have hoped for a better bunch of friends to spend my time with. If I had to pick one single event, it would be Sidney May Ball in my first year. Every 2 years, Sidney hosts a massive black-tie ball inside the College walls and it is genuinely one of the most fun and exciting parts of the year. A chance to celebrate after exams and just to enjoy what the College can offer!”

natsci

NATURAL SCIENCES (‘NATSCI’)

Joe, 2nd Year

Sidney in three words: “Friendly, welcoming, fun.”

Why study Natural Sciences at Sidney? “Natural Sciences is a great course to study because it allows you to learn about broad range of subjects before specialising in the area that you feel passionate about. I was unsure whether I wanted to be a biologist or chemist initially and the Natural Sciences course allowed me to explore both areas in first year. It also provided the opportunity for me to study History and Philosophy of Science in second year, alongside chemistry. The course is challenging and forces me to think about science in ways I hadn’t previously considered. Lab classes are really enjoyable too, and the time I spend in labs is usually quite relaxed – we’re given an experiment and plenty of time in which to carry it out, then we discuss the implications of our results with a demonstrator.

The small community at Sidney is wonderful for so many reasons; one thing that’s helpful about studying such a popular subject is that there’s always someone to talk to about a field you find interesting, or someone to ask about a question you’re having difficulty answering.”

Favourite memory from college/Cambridge? “My favourite memory is when we won against Queens’ Collegein the final moments of my last game as college lacrosse captain. I enjoy playing with the team every week, but that game was certainly the best.”

phil2

PHILOSOPHY

Alia, 1st Year

Sidney in three words: “Chill; Friendly; Caring.”

Why study Philosophy in Sidney?Because our Director of Studies is really cool! Also, because there are, at most, three philosophers in a year, you get to form really close-knit subject groups – so even if you don’t hang out all day every day, you’re still really close friends with the others on your course! Also the location at Sidney is great so the furthest you have to walk for lectures is only around 20 minutes!”

Favourite memory from college/Cambridge?Watching the Blues Brothers with my friendship group after a tough day and feeling better about everything. Or maybe winning the Alphabet Bop for dressing as an aeroplane… Or my friends chilling in my room after a meal on my birthday… Or finding out I was put in the number one women’s boat for rowing in college… Or just being here… I love it!”

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PSYCHOLOGICAL AND BEHAVIOURAL SCIENCES (PBS)

Isobel, 2nd Year

Sidney in three words:Friendly, central, Sainsburys.”

Why study PBS in Sidney? “We’re quite a small subject within college (about 3 students per year) so we all get to know each other, and our Director of Studies is really friendly and helpful. We’re also within 10-15 minutes walk from the department and lecture locations, so you can get up at 8:30 for a 9am lecture :D”

Favourite memory from college/Cambridge?Punting to Grantchester in the sun after first year exams.”

vetmed

VETINARY MEDICINE (VETMED)

Sam, 2nd Year

Sidney in three words: “Really close community.”

Why study VetMed in Sidney? VetMed at Sidney is a only small subject group (only or 2 or 3 per year) and this means you’ll be really close with the others doing your course, as well as the Medicine students because of joint teaching. Also, Sidney gets some of the best supervisors available for veterinary anatomy and neuroscience across 1st and 2nd year – definitely a plus over some other colleges!”

Favourite memory from college/Cambridge? May Week is definitely the highlight of each year, with loads of balls and chilled out parties in the gardens to enjoy – as well as the CUVS (vet society) BBQ!”


There are more subjects to study at Sidney than those given here. Check out the subject page on the college website to see a full list! There’s much more detailed information about Cambridge courses on the university website and you can see student and staff testimonials on the BeCambridge website.

Cambridge University Student’s Union (CUSU) runs Twitter accounts for most subjects at Cambridge – every day a student will let you know what they’re doing as part of their degree at Cambridge. You can find them all at #CambTweet.

If you have any questions, you can email Sidney’s Admissions Team (admissions@sid.cam.ac.uk) or the student Access Officer (access@sscsu.org.uk) for more information.