Frequently Asked Questions
Fresh-quently Asked Questions? Frequently Asked Freshtions? Sorry, my wordplay faculties are letting me down on this one.
I can’t wait to move into Central Site! What will my humble abode be like? What are the differences between the rooms in categories 1-4?
All of the rooms on Central Site are superficially pretty similar, but each is unique and so has slightly different tradeoffs. Each room has a bed (of course), desk, lamp, chair, wardrobe and a sink. You share a kitchen and bathroom with other people as none of the rooms are en suite on this site (don’t worry, it really isn’t as big a deal as people think it will be).
Each staircase has a variety of rooms in different price ranges as well. The more expensive rooms will probably have some of the following: nicer views, be bigger, have more windows, more furniture, sometimes fewer people to a bathroom and have been decorated more recently. Remember though that all the rooms are perfectly adequate and very nice; you honestly can’t get a “bad” room on Central Site!
I’m a bit nervous about the trip down to Trinity Hall. Do I need a vehicle pass to access the college? I’m having recurring nightmares about them not letting me in the front gate…
If you are arriving on Saturday between 10am-4pm then you must display a vehicle pass to get through the bollards. Before or after that time, or on a Sunday, the bollards are down and you can drive through to college without a pass. It’s probably best to just get a pass if you’re planning on arriving on Saturday. If you don’t have the permit and the bollards are up, you can park on Queen’s Road and carry your stuff across Garrett Hostel Bridge.
Do I have to pay for electricity or water or heating? I’m trying to see how I can budget well to save money for important things… like books… and wine.
Heating and water etc. are included in the room bill. The cost of electricity usage that is paid separately is usually negligible – not more than £2 or £3 per term – since the only time you might use a lot of electricity is with the extra electric heater in your room. Most rooms don’t get cold enough to use this though!
When my clothes get dirty and smelly where do I do my washing?
There is a laundry room on Central Site with washers and dryers. You do have to pay for the machines with coins, but they aren’t very expensive: £1.60 for the washers and £1 for dryers. Make sure you have some change — they don’t give any. You have to bring your own laundry rack if you want to use that instead of a dryer but there is an iron in the laundry room that is free to use.
As a student, I will be in dire need of TEA! Is there a kettle in the kitchen?
Kitchens will all have a fridge, microwave and kettle. You can provide a toaster but it should be new or checked by an electrician. Other electrical equipment (toastie makers, grills etc.) are not really allowed, and toasters must be kept in your kitchen so that they don’t set off the fire alarms. Check the red book out for more information about that. We wouldn’t recommend buying a toaster until you get here, since you will probably be able to share with someone else in your kitchen.
Should I bring my fabulous My Little Pony sheets and pillowcase or does the college provide similarly excellent bedding?
You are provided with two pillows and a quilt by the college and there is an optional laundry service, for a fee, which provides you with clean pillowcases and sheets every week. If you opt to not use this laundry service then you need to bring your own sheets. I would highly recommend bringing an extra blanket to give your room a homely feel and also to snuggle up in during the cold Cambridge winters.
I have a feeling that the matriculation photo will be hanging over my Granny’s fireplace for years to come…what on earth do I wear!?
You can wear WHATEVER you like as long as it is smart! There’s no specific outfit or colours to wear or anything like that (this ain’t Oxford). Generally guys will opt for a lounge suit and girls for smart trousers or a skirt and a blouse. Your gown will be covering most of it up anyway, so don’t worry about it.
What phone network is the best in Cambridge?
I have bad news — most of the phone networks aren’t great in Cambridge (I think it’s the thick stone walls..). Phone signal is reasonably reliable most places but 3G internet is certainly not. Generally I’ve found that O2 (and GiffGaff, since they use the same network) are relatively good, but your mileage may vary. The university have just switched their official provider to O2, so they may be a safer bet than some other networks. GiffGaff is my personal favourite since it also has some very student-friendly tariffs.
Do I need to register with a GP?
Yes. The university asks that all students register with a GP as soon as possible after arriving – remember to find out your NHS number before coming, since it’ll make it a lot faster for them to find and sort out your records.