An unwinding walk to Grantchester

Waking up to fine weather, the students enjoyed another day of fruitful tutorials. Eight medicine students were lucky to have an exciting excursion planned at Addenbrooke’s Hospital. Split into two groups, the students really enjoyed getting practical experience in the medical labs, extracting DNA samples from an onion. They learnt how to make a master mix to replicate the DNA when used in a PCR and how to calibrate and use a centrifuge. They also found out how to isolate, extract, dye and fragment the DNA. The theoretical side of the class focussed on epigenetics where the students were presented with six challenging questions to complete in two hours. Undaunted, the students learnt how to use a computer program to analyse the DNA and separate gene sequences and now feel much more confident of their academic ability.

When the tutorials were over and the medicine students had returned from Addenbrooke’s labs, all the students set off on a beautiful English country walk to Grantchester, a sleepy village just outside Cambridge town. The path winds alongside the Cam, between blackberry bushes and weeping willows and leads onto panoramic views of the verdant Cambridge countryside. After bidding the grazing cows good day, the students arrived at The Orchard, a historic spot in Grantchester frequented by some of England’s most famous literary figures such as Virginia Woolf and E. M Forster. Here, everyone basked in the summer sunshine in deckchairs beneath the apple trees, sipped on tea and cordials and enjoyed a carrot cake or two. After this relaxing trip, the group took taxis back to Christ’s College for dinner to recharge for the evening activity.

After dinner the students were treated to a visit to Robinson College gardens where they enjoyed the Cambridge Shakespeare Festival’s performance of The Merchant of Venice. The open air venue succeeded in making the play seem more raw and spontaneous as our group picked prime spots on the grass. The Merchant of Venice is a fantastic play breaching subjects of anti-Semitism, love, mercy, trickery and civil law and fluctuates between striking and emotive scenes and more comic ones. The actor who played the central character Shylock, the Jewish moneylender, was particularly impressive and convincingly portrayed the struggle of a Jewish businessman in a Christian community. After the applause had died down, everyone regrouped and took a night time stroll back to Christ’s through leafy avenues and past Trinity Hall College. The students had some time to unwind at college before bed to get their beauty sleep for the talent show the following day.

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