Each year Corpus Christi College Cambridge runs nationwide essay competitions for Year 12 students. This year was the most competitive yet, with over 450 entrants, and I was thrilled to receive the runner-up prize for my essay on the title ‘Genome Engineering, Hype or Hope?’ in the Biological Sciences competition, which gave me the opportunity to visit the college for a Prizegiving on Saturday 7th May.

Happy prizewinner

We arrived at Corpus Christi College on a beautiful Saturday morning, with the perfectly manicured greens and old courts shining in the sun. The morning started with a prizegiving ceremony, as directed by the admissions tutor and college president, who gave us a brief introduction to Corpus Christi, its history and distinguished alumni. Founded in 1352 by two local guilds, it is one of the earliest Cambridge Colleges.

We were then presented with our prizes by the college president, no less, and certificates were handed out. Amongst the wide range on display were essays on such varied subjects as the importance of literary criticism and the role of computer science in Law.

After this we proceeded on a tour of the college, given by current undergraduates, culminating in our entry to the college’s dining hall for a formal hall-style lunch (complete with ceremonial gong!). This offered we prize winners the opportunity to sit next to or opposite the tutors and directors of study in our respective subjects, to find out about their research, supervisions, and the experience of studying our subject at Corpus Christi. Underneath the high-beamed ceiling, surrounded by wood panelled walls covered in portraits of going back almost 700 years, I feel I really had the best possible opportunity to experience, if only briefly, the life of a Cambridge undergraduate.