Tipping Drinks & Boats
By Sarah Staelgraeve
The University of Cambridge welcomed us with open arms today. Our tour guide lead us around the stunning area, spitting out fact after fact about what the university is all about. All together, there are 31 colleges, running shortly behind Harvard and Yale as best in the world. It made me smile seeing students leave their exams while tipping back champagne bottles (they were not that much different after all). One of the highlights was seeing the inside of the chapel. It was truly remarkable with extraordinary details and stain glass windows. The amount of time and manpower that it must have taken to build left us all in awe.
After our lunch break, we headed over to a nearby canal. There were more students celebrating the completion of exams, but more importantly a large challenge was presented to us …. A little something called “punting”. If you are like us and thought punting involves kicking a football, let me inform you that you are wrong. When it comes to punting in England, there is no helmet, pads, oddly shaped brown balls or grass (or any kind of land for that matter). Punting here involves a boat, water, paddle and an annoyingly long silver stick. We spilt into groups of four and climbed aboard thinking one of the workers would guide us along for a relaxing 90-minute boat ride.
Wrong…We had to make our way through the canal by ourselves! We each took turns attempting to move the boat in the right direction, but we found it extremely difficult. With one paddle, the large stick no one knew how to use, and coming to the realization it had been 45 minutes and we only went in a circle, my group decided to improvise. We made our way to the wall and grabbed on. We moved our way down the canal this way. Grabbing ahold to each foot of wall, piece of wall after piece. Many stares, some laughs, some mean comments and some applause were thrown are way. Some may say this was a shortcut, but by the soreness in my arms I wouldn’t use that word to describe what we did.
Today, I saw a beautiful campus filled with tradition and high standards. I also learned that sometimes you have to create your own way to move forward.
(luckily no boats were tipped in the participation of this activity)