“The dons of Oxford and Cambridge are too busy educating the young men to be able to teach them anything.” Samuel Butler
The Classical sense of education (from the Latin e-duco (l lead out)), extolled by OS Samuel Butler was certainly one of the aims of taking 29 Fourth Formers to Cambridge on Thursday, at the kind invitation of Trinity Hall.
In addition to visiting some of the colleges, the boys were lucky enough to hear two lectures. The first, entitled “Life at the extremes”, was given by Dr Andrew Murray, Admissions Tutor at Trinity Hall, and took the boys through the different extremophiles that exist on the planet. Dr Murray is a leading researcher in living in extreme conditions, and has just returned from an expedition to Everest, where his team have investigated what makes the perfect mountaineer. Having explained that sweat is a miracle, allowing the human body to survive in extreme conditions, he went through the different physiological conditions that make us the best extremophile.
The boys were then able to talk to Felicity Davis, Callum Harvey-Scholes and Ben Lee (OS), who very kindly gave the boys a tour of various colleges and offered an excellent insight into life at the university.
The second lecture, given by Dr Sian Pooley, discussed Youth Culture before the advent of the ‘teenager’. Showing the boys what it was like to be in a Supervision, Dr Pooley asked the boys to examine various source material and come up with a conclusion on their thoughts on teenage life in the Victorian era. In a fascinating discussion of ‘scuttlers’ in Manchester, the boys were shown that gang culture is certainly nothing new.
The boys, in a twisted metaphor, seemed to have been educated and inspired (from the Latin in-spiro (I breath into) in a full day. Hopefully, they will have seen the possibilities ahead.
“I went to Cambridge and thought I would stay there. I thought I would quietly grow tweed in a corner somewhere and become a Don or something.” Stephen Fry