A second year’s homage to Durham

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As I now approach the culmination of my penultimate year at university, I cannot help but feel utterly overcome with nostalgia. The most peculiar emotion currently at hand, however, is this feeling my university experience is almost at its final moments, which is far from the truth, I know. Yet, I have become increasingly aware of the fact next year will be my “last” for everything. While for some graduating is simply the beginning of a new chapter, for me it is the closing credits of one, and one which I yearn to never end.

Before making my first journey to Durham as a newcomer in September 2022, I was incredibly apprehensive to start. I was neither fearful about the ‘Durham stereotype’ nor distressed by the idea it was impossible to have fun in a university city where the nightlife infamously ends early (as some school friends excessively hounded at me). Rather, it was this fear I would not forge friendships as deep-cut as those with my home friends. It was this fear that perhaps moving to the opposite end of the country was the completely wrong decision for myself. It was this fear that maybe I rushed into a degree and never took the time to actually contemplate upon what life truly holds for me, besides my academics.

While for some graduating is simply the beginning of a new chapter, for me it is the closing credits of one, and one which I yearn to never end

However, all these fears quickly vanished. Living in Moatside Courtyard in first-year was certainly an experience, and a dramatic contrast from the majesty of the Castle itself, but one which I hold incredibly close to my heart. Having settled into college-life, as well as the wider university environment, I knew I had made the right decision. The people I met, who I am now cherished enough to render my dearest friends, provided, and continue to provide, the ultimate university experience. All those fears that maybe I would never meet my ‘kind of crowd’ was simply wrong. If I was never accepted into Durham, selected it as my first-choice, and lucky enough to be allocated into University College, I would have never met the very people who have shaped my entire experience these past two years.

Being a student in the North-East has been a privilege in itself too. Not only am I lucky enough to roam these cobbled streets saturated within rich history, fascinated by the majestic structures of both Durham Cathedral and Castle, and in awe by the views from Observatory Hill, but I am fortunate enough to explore the wider North-East region. Whether it be a day trip to Newcastle, or trekking to Middlesborough for a mid-week football match, the chance to immerse myself within the culture, vibrance, and atmosphere of the North-East has undoubtedly been the most uniquely enjoyable experience. One encounter which truly encompassed this civic pride was Sam Fender’s opening night at St James’ Park last June. As lucky as I was to witness one of my favourite artists live, I felt even more fortunate to be part of a wider celebration, which was a city’s love for one of their very own Geordies, born and bred in the North-East.

University is about the relationships forged, the lessons learnt, and the experiences I have been privileged enough to earn

College bars. Palace Green. The Swan and Three Cygnets. The Durham University experience is so broad and so unique. We all interact differently within the same parameters and all have our distinctive stories to tell. Yet, one thing I am sure we can collectively agree upon is how special our university city is. While I have to grapple with the impending fears of my future life away from university, this upwards trajectory is much different from the anxieties I felt previous to starting here. Rather than ending second year and entering my last in the depths of my emotions, my biggest task as a finalist is to cherish every moment. I must understand how lucky I have been to experience what I have thus far, rather than dwell upon a future without it. After all, university is much more than obtaining a degree. University is about the relationships forged, the lessons learnt, and the experiences I have been privileged enough to earn.

Photography by: Mark Norton

4 thoughts on “A second year’s homage to Durham

  • This article shows the author’s attachment and appreciation for her university experience at Durham, as this is not only a place that brought her valuable friendships but also a place where she had the opportunity to explore and experience. the culture, history and beauty of the North East of England.slice master

    Reply
  • You will never go wrong with Northern people, they are as we say”Salt of the Earth” You will always receive a welcome whenever you return to Durham”, which I hope will be often. I wish you well for your final year and the greatest success for your future.

    Reply
  • You don’t leave Castle. You live out.

    Reply
  • Super bien mais je préfère un bon plan cul à Cannes pendant le festival !

    Reply

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