Nancy Tupling

HSPS at Cambridge

I’m Nancy (she/her), a first year Human, Social and Political Sciences Student at Trinity College Cambridge.

This is a day in the life on April 13th 2021- a day after some covid restrictions were lifted but is reflective of a typical day of work during the holidays. For HSPS our exams are not until the end of May/start of June so my intense revision mindset hasn't kicked in yet.

In term time I’d usually work 10am-4pm Monday-Friday either in the marquee or the library with my friends, making sure to take breaks and a longer one for lunch. Sometimes if I’m in an essay crisis I will work into the evening but it doesn’t happen too often. Cambridge weeks are set out Thursday-Wednesday rather than Monday-Friday but I’ve never fully understood it and my planner is a normal weekly one so I don’t work according to the Cambridge week.

On a normal weekend during term time I do not work 10am-4pm. I’d estimate I do about 2 hours work on a Saturday and then 3 or 4 on a Sunday. I wake up much later at the weekend, probably around 11.30am on a Sunday.



I usually have a chilled out morning especially during the holidays. The first thing I always do is make my bed and open the window. My room gets very stuffy when it's warm weather. Between 8-10AM I don’t do much, mainly watching Netflix, tidying my room and having breakfast.

Since the swimming pools opened yesterday, I went swimming for the first time in over a year. I swim at Parkside pools which is a community funded one and I have a student membership. I didn’t manage a full hour but got a good 40 minute swim in. Swimming is a big part of my life for physical and mental health- I’d really recommend finding an activity like that.

After I got back from swimming I went to the Plodge (Porter’s Lodge where you can pick up parcels) and got a laundry card. Then I headed straight to the laundry room and put my swimming stuff in. Luckily our laundry at Trinity is free but other colleges and University’s charge people for doing their washing.

I got back to my room around 12:30, did some admin and had lunch before my meeting (checking emails, organising work etc). With scheduling if I only have 30 minutes before a meeting or an event I don’t tend to start a new piece of work because they usually take me more than 30 minutes and I’d rather get in the flow of things when I have proper time.

I had my first Cambridge University Northern Society Committee meeting as one of the Vice Presidents!
With having a Coronavirus dominated freshers year extra-curricular activities and societies have become more important than ever for me in terms of meeting new people outside of college as in first term I had 2 weeks of college settling in, 2 weeks of isolation and then 4 weeks of national lockdown. I tried to get involved in a lot during the first & second term of uni (Michaelmas & Lent) and through this I’ve met lots of people across different subjects, year groups and colleges.

After my meeting I actually started doing subject specific work. Since the reopening of pools and pubs I’m trying to establish a new routine which will probably take a few days. Today on my list for work was;
Plan a POL2 (international relations) and a SAN1 (social anthropology) essay.
Work on some of my mentoring material for the Launchpad
Read a SAN1 ethnography about animals.
I also needed to go to Sainsburys to pick up some bits.

Planning the essays without my notes took about 15 minutes for each question and then I went through my notes and added more details onto the plan. Planning PPQ answers (past-paper-question) is supposed to be the most effective way to prepare for exams but I find that I can’t plan an answer unless I do other types of revision before. So for all my papers and modules I have transferred them all onto mind maps and then into flashcards. The exams are open book this year so flashcards might not be very useful but I think that my writing will flow better in the exam if I have a grasp of all the ideas.
This took about an hour and I was reading through & annotating an article my mentee picked out of 3 I sent for us to go through after the easter holidays.
Ethnography is basically like a very detailed, long case study where an Anthropologist observes and sometimes takes part in a specific community’s life and society. This took me about an hour because it was extra reading so I had to find an ethnography that I was interested in.
Then I went to Sainsburys which is literally a minute walk from Trinity’s accommodation so it didn’t take very long.

(I had a break in between each of the tasks)

By the time I got back from Sainsbury’s it was around 6:30 and I was going to the pub at 7 with some out of college friends so I spent the next half an hour getting ready. I did no more work this day.

I got back from the pub at around 11pm, watched an episode of Line of Duty and then went to bed.