To say that I did not expect to finish third year under these circumstances, is an understatement. I have a feeling that my graduation robes will be swapped for my dressing gown and photos next to the Cathedral posing with my dissertation will be replaced with a screenshot of my ‘TurnitIn’ email. At least I have the most fond memories to look back onto. Cliche, I know, but it is true. Now, more than ever, I am grateful to be spending my last full term here, in the cobbled streets of Durham. I remember my first day venturing into the market square, telling myself that by the time I graduate, I want to have eaten at every restaurant the town has to offer, and sip on every hot chocolate in the cafes that sprawl the streets. Now this is no longer possible, my aims have shifted.
Being in a Bailey college has meant that I have an extremely limited knowledge of the geography in Durham. I admit that it is rather embarrassing – I have been to Josephine Butler once in my first year and that was perhaps the limit. Going be- yond the arches between Prebends and St Cuthberts and really immersing myself in the beauty of Durham has been something I have been trying to do every day. Only recently I experienced the magic of the Durham Botanical Gardens, and I implore everyone to visit. A little closer to the Viaduct perhaps, is Flass Vale – which if you walk completely through, one ends up in Neville Cross. For a place so small,
it amazes me how closely interlinked everything is here.
On a more academic note, I have decided to truly take advantage of everyone’s favourite Tindur hotspot – the Billy B. Exam season was interrupted by the first lockdown and the revolving door of the library revolved no more, but now, even in the second lockdown, the Billy B welcomes us with open arms and socially distanced desks. In a weird way, I have forgotten how social the library is. We can all agree that no matter where one goes in Durham, you will end up bumping into someone you know. Even if it was a vague and brief encounter within the smoking area of Jimmy’s, you will bump into someone on Level 3. Now social interaction is more sparse than ever, I am quite enjoying the small nod and smile one does to someone familiar, a reminder of what time was like before the pandemic. Who needs Klute, when you have the Bill Bryson library to be the new student hotspot?
I am trying to hold onto the small parts of life which make my third year so exclusively Durham. Durham is a University town like no other, it has such a unique and individual way of life – one would not be able to replicate anywhere else. So now, when I hear the Cathedral bells ringing, (a sound I normally would have naturally muted out), I spend a few seconds appreciating the toll, knowing I will not experience the luxury of living so close to a National Heritage site every again. Before, I would have walked down Saddler Street, ignoring the growing line that streams out of Flat White every morning. Now, I join them, knowing that 1) sup- porting small businesses is an extremely important thing to do and 2) Flat White is such a Durham staple, that getting my chai tea latte will be a small morning ritual that I will greatly miss come September.
For those who are also graduating I am sure you will agree with me that our time here has been irreplaceable. For those who are still studying, hold onto Durham and what it has to offer. The balls, questionable nightlife, the historicism. It truly is magical.
Image credits: Mark Norton