11 January 2023
There wasn’t a spare seat in the politics classroom at lunchtime on Friday 6 January as students enjoyed a fascinating talk from alumna Annabelle Cusack (2021) where she talked about life as an undergraduate at the University of Cambridge, her Human, Social, and Political Sciences (HSPS) course, and her experience of political activism.
Annabelle took at gap year after Upper Sixth and applied to Cambridge knowing her A Level grades. She is loving her life and studies at Cambridge – meeting lots of down to earth and interesting people; incredible quality of teaching; a beautiful place to study; a work hard play hard atmosphere – whilst acknowledging factors that may not appeal to everyone, including the city’s underwhelming night life and the volume of work. However, Annabelle did say that that, having studied at Woldingham, “it’s not a massive jump” and that Woldingham students “are in a really good position to take on that added workload”.
Annabelle chose HSPS, which she described as "brilliant", because of the breadth of the course, covering politics and international relations, social anthropology and sociology. She suggested it might appeal to students who enjoy writing, reading and researching; are interested in an international, decolonial and historical focus; have an interest in politics but don’t know exactly what they want to study or do as a career; and who want to learn from experts in their field.
Annabelle has been involved in political activism since joining the Young Greens, the youth and student branch of the Green Party, during lockdown. She is an advocate for others getting involved in causes they believe in, “not just for your CV or personal statement” but because it “makes politics become real and broadens your mind”. Annabelle suggested various ways students interested in politics could get involved, while stressing the importance of doing so safely, recognising that members of some groups have extremely strong beliefs and not losing sight of your own.