Many of the larger colleges organise may balls – slightly extravagant parties lasting all night, with everything from fairground rides to unlimited alcohol included for guests. Those students who make it through the whole night are forever immortalised in the “survivors photo” taken after sunrise the next morning.
Although I intend to actually pay to attend one of the balls in my final year, as a second year student I decided that the best way to experience this Cambridge tradition without the crazy price tag was to work at some of the may balls. At Queens, I worked all night as a general worker followed by a shift doing clean up – pretty hectic! Working at may balls is not only a cheap way to experience them but also a pretty good money earner if you can hack working several nights in a row. Alternatively, many students opt to work for half the night in exchange for free tickets to the second half.
The theme for Queens May Ball this year was “Museum of Curiosity”, with a variety of unusual entertainment options such as virtual reality glasses and a silent disco. One definitely highlight of the night had to be the stunning firework display, although I made the mistake of standing directly under the building they were being set off from, resulting in temporary deafness for some time afterwards!
Those paying to attend the ball had a delicious selection of food and snacks throughout the night, as well as what is for many the main attraction – unlimited champagne, cocktails and shots. Surprisingly despite the risk of everyone ending up more than a little tipsy in their post-exam celebrations, there were no significant incidents or all that much mess left over – big shout out to the excellent management of the event by the committee.