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New year starts in October!

Guess on what day a working week starts at Cambridge? Perhaps on a Monday? No such luck! A new academic year traditionally begins on the first Tuesday in October, after harvest, while lectures kick off on Thursday (i. e. today). So weeks are numbered “week 1”, “week 2”, etc, from Thursday to Wednesday!

During the first (Freshers’) week, hordes of students matriculate at their colleges. This means that they sign in a register. The word goes back to the Middle Ages, when unauthorised youngsters could simply walk in and start studying – magnetic swipe cards hadn’t yet caught on, I presume! This chaos needed to be stopped, and all proper students were asked to write their name in a “matricula”, a roll or register, with a quill pen.

Some colleges still keep up the tradition, although they’ve replaced a quill with a fountain pen, for the ease of use…

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