A week in the life of an Education student at Cambridge

Tu Duong
Created: 4 months, 1 week ago
Last modified: 4 months, 1 week ago

Did you choose education for educational psychology? Did you choose education to study sociology and policies? Did you choose education to be able to do English and drama at Cambridge?

These were questions that you would have had to answer when you were at Cambridge, before the 2023-24 academic year. The course is multidisciplinary, and these questions were asked to form “tracks” that students followed through their second and third years. The course has now changed, and we are now allowed to choose papers across all of these “tracks” – the content of the paper remains unchanged, but you now don’t have to be forced to do a certain set of papers.

As a first year, I do four papers, focusing on different aspects of Education: Introduction to Education Systems and Disciplines (focus on philosophy), Learning and Human Development (psychology-focused), Education, Culture and Creativity (focus on English, drama, humanities), and Education and Social Justice (focusing on sociology). Each paper has two hours of lecture per week for Michaelmas and Lent Terms, while there are around seven supervisions per paper throughout the academic year.

For me at the moment, I have two hours of lecture every day from Monday to Thursday (I have a three-day weekend), and depending on the week, I will have 1 to 2 more hours of supervision in addition to that. Well, this may not seem like a lot, but there is a really long reading list that goes with the lectures, as well as a certain number of essay questions that you will need to do. Below is my schedule of what I do:

  • Wake-up at 9am
  • Cycle to class at 10am
  • Lectures from 11am to 1pm (or from 10am-12pm for Tuesdays)
  • Have lunch 1pm – 2pm
  • Self-study in the library from 2pm – 3pm (or attend a supervision)
  • Cycle back
  • Badminton from 4pm – 6pm
  • Cook and eat dinner 6.30pm – 8pm
  • Study for the rest of the night (which can potentially last until 1-2am)

On Wednesdays and Thursdays, my lectures don’t start until 2pm (unless there are any rescheduled lectures):

  • Wake up at 10am (or 11am, depending on how late I go to sleep the night before)
  • Brunch/Lunch at around noon
  • Cycle or take the bus at 1pm
  • Lectures from 2pm to 4pm
  • Cycle back (or walk back and do my groceries shopping)
  • Cook and eat dinner between 6pm and 8pm
  • Study, do my readings and essays from 8pm onwards

On Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays, I typically use them as lay-in days where I would not do anything in the morning (unless I have a supervision), and would only start doing things after lunch. These “free” days are often used as “chores” days and it would be entirely up to my mood with what I do and when I do them.

As a student, you will know your main non-negotiable times at the start of the year, and you can schedule your timetable around these compulsory times. Some people may like to schedule supervisions in the morning, since they are more productive at 9am, while others (like me) may prefer to have supervisions in the afternoon. The timetable gives you a lot of flexibility in your schedule, and you can choose to work when you work best (e.g. for me it is probably at night). There are also societies activities and formals that you can attend, that would also need to be scheduled in.

Anyhow, the bulk of the learning you do as an Education student will be through reading and doing research for your essays, so make sure to do them. We typically have around 6-8 essays per term (although it has not really been the case – we have more essays in Lent compared to Michaelmas). As a final remark, something that was recommended by my Senior Tutor is that your day should be divided into three 8-hour blocks – one block for sleeping, one block for studying (including lectures) and one block for other activities. To a large extent, I do follow the suggested schedule, but the subject’s timetable allows me a lot of flexibility in how I meet that goal (I do spend too much time on TikTok and Instagram which is not great!).