I came to Cambridge as an undergraduate in September 2006. Now, in July 2016, I’ll be moving on. As many of you know I’ll be joining the University of Exeter as a Lecturer in Classics and Ancient History. I’m writing the modules as we speak, and the more I put together my new courses the more excited I get for the move. My partner and I have also been on a stressful but ultimately successful house-hunting trip, and picked up the keys to our new place – so it looks like we’re all set. But in the midst of all the exciting, busy and exhausting business of moving, I’ve also been thinking about my time in Cambridge and everything it has meant to me.
The pictures from my first day at Cambridge (which I’m pretty sure were taken with a disposable film camera) show that things haven’t changed that much. Photography has moved on a bit, as has my hair cut, but Pembroke looked pretty much the same then as it does now. As I’ve been packing, I’ve been looking through years and years of photographs, and I feel hugely grateful for all the experiences I’ve had here.
Cambridge has been my home, my university and my job for basically all of my adult life. The people I’ve met here have become lifelong friends and colleagues; lots have moved on to new things, but some are still here, and there are always new and interesting people arriving from all around the world. I’ve lived and worked in beautiful, historical buildings. I’ve studied and researched in one of the best departments in the country. I wrote a PhD here, and a book. I became the adult version of myself.
I have no doubt that my research and teaching would be totally different if I’d been working anywhere else. From my undergraduate supervisors to my colleagues on the Greek in Italy project, my work has been shaped forever by the brilliant and kind people I’ve had around me over the past ten years. I’ve been very very lucky and hugely privileged throughout my life and my career so far. I’ve tried to make the most of that luck and privilege as much as I can, but I also feel very grateful for the experiences I’ve had.
So Cambridge and I have had a good relationship. But in a lot of ways I think our tenth anniversary is a perfect time to move on. I will, of course, be back to visit – not least for the Greek Play in October (incidentally, you should book tickets for that too, over here). And I’m hoping I can tempt some friends down to Devon for some trips too. But for now, it’s goodbye to Cambridge, and hello to Exeter! I can’t wait to start my next adventures, getting to know a new job, new friends and a new part of the country.
Here’s to the next ten years.
My blog will be a bit quiet during August because of the cross-country move – see you all in September!