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‘Hughesians Together’ and taking the precious from the vile

Current COVID-19 restrictions mean that it has been a very different Michaelmas Term for our students. Many had to quarantine for two weeks on arrival and the usual social events moved online.

Hughesians Together was set up in an effort to help students settle and find friendship, as well as offering the chance to connect with Senior Members over shared interests.

The initiative has seen over 40 Senior Members sign up to take part with a wide range of listed interests including many genres of music, various sports, politics, films, creative writing, photography, cookery, travel stories, museums, Cambridge pubs and restaurants, and many more.

Two of those who have taken part are Prof Mary Buckley, Life-Fellow at Hughes, and Ana, a new MFin student at the Judge Business School.

Mary said of Hughesians Together: 

“Hughesians Together was a pleasant way for senior members to meet new students and share common interests which, I hope, was especially helpful to all those students in quarantine.

Ana and I talked about photography and sent each other some of our pictures to discuss on Zoom. Ana produced some very creative images within the tiny space of her room and also from out of her window. Since it turned out that we both had an interest in ballet, we reflected on that too”

Taking the precious from the vile: Ana’s experience

“Being in quarantine is not easy. Like many international students arriving in Cambridge in the middle of a global pandemic I had to spend my first couple of weeks locked inside my room with minimal external interaction. Even though I was optimistic at first, I quickly realised that it was tougher than I thought, and at many times quite frustrating.

I signed up to Hughesians Together scheme to connect with Senior Members at Hughes and try and experience college life under a new format. Professor Mary Buckley and I agreed to discuss ballet and photography, she also encouraged me to take pictures during my time self-isolating. This challenged me to look outside my circumstances and get creative.  I started to observe more, pause, play with light, angles, and try to find something different to show her with the resources at hand.

It also gave me something to look forward to, since I could have a little zoom chat with Professor Mary and clear my head from my current situation. Overall, I believe it helped me to remind myself to bring out something good out of a difficult moment, or as my mother would say: take the precious from the vile.

The pictures were never intended to be shown to someone other than Professor Mary, however, I hope that by sharing them we can encourage each other and open conversations about how others have felt and dealt with life throughout this year. I am sure that there are many other stories that we can share and learn from.”

You can see a selection of her quarantine photographs below:

For more information on Hughesians Together please contact tutorial@hughes.cam.ac.uk