Four first year undergraduates in the Faculty of Medieval and Modern Languages have been taking part in a video diary project led by Dr Andy Martin.

You don't have to be a toff or Einstein to get into Cambridge.

Dr Andy Martin

The video diaries have been published today on the University’s YouTube channel.

“The idea of the whole project was to show that you don't have to be a toff or Einstein to get into Cambridge,” explains Dr Martin. “You just need a passion and a vision - as well as good A-level results.”

“It’s not Hollywood. These 4 films are about real students – but before they became students (and just a little bit after).

“They all end up at Cambridge but they start in very different locations. Maria is in Leeds, Elspeth in Gateshead. Chris comes from Hoddesdon in Hertfordshire and Matt from Witney near Oxford.

“The films are video-diaries, providing an authentic glimpse into their everyday lives – cooking, jogging, working out at the gym, reading, going to church, lifeguarding, a holiday in Spain – as they prepare to begin their studies. 

“We hope that sixth formers thinking of applying to Cambridge from the UK and beyond may discover that these students are not so radically unlike them.”

Dr Martin introduces the diarists:-

  • Maria. Not only does she give a very heartfelt account of how she came to apply to Cambridge, but we see her practising her emergency resuscitation lifeguarding technique (on a dummy). It’s her younger sister playing the saxophone and walking with her in the woods, and there are cameo appearances by both Mum and Dad.
  • Chris. He is determined to get in shape at the gym (while also reading one of the books on his reading list). Poignant return to his old school, where he collects a prize.  Conversation with best friend at the pub, worthy of Samuel Beckett.
  • Matt. Strong soundtrack. Matt himself is playing the piano, but there is another sequence shot (slightly illicitly) in Spain of a flamenco singer. The only film with a brief glimpse of the Mediterranean. A lot of split-screen.  One very cool mirror shot.
  • Elspeth. She faithfully collects all the books on the reading list. But having looked up the eighteenth-century classic, Les Liaisons Dangereuses, on Wikipedia, she expresses the view that ‘400 pages of love letters’ sounds rather ‘soppy’. Her new life at Cambridge begins with ‘a nice cup of tea’. That is her brother playing the organ in church.

"The editor and technical genius behind these films is Norman Lomax of Moving Content. All films were shot using an Apple iPod Touch," added Dr Martin.

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