Life at Durham: becoming The Durham Student


With the start of the new academic year, life at Durham is back in full swing. We welcome a new round of freshers to Durham University life, so with freshers week well underway, we thought we’d put together a snapshot of what your extracurricular life at Durham could like, discussing all things societies, sports and social! 

is a treasure trove of information and inspiration for prospective and current students.

From gothic looking shots of a moonlit cathedral to picturesque walks in the botanic gardens, many returning students will agree that much of the draw to Durham University can be found in its Instagram-worthy scenery. So, for our freshers this year, who better to show us all things aesthetic than ? I had the opportunity to speak to some of the brilliant student minds behind Durham’s most influential content creators, as they shined light on the student team collaboration that goes into showing off what Durham has to offer.

Many don’t know that The Durham Student has been around since 2016. Recruitment Marketing Officer Emma explained that The Durham Student was just starting when she joined the University. At this point it had just been a blog, but students Katy, Freya and Sophie had the ingenious idea to set up an Instagram account, making the marketing more accessible to the wider student population. Emma emphasised the importance of student recognition for this idea, explaining that “I realised that this was something the students really needed to have their own stamp on.” 

“In 2017, Laura took over and she took some really beautiful photographs of Durham, really aesthetic things…” Emma explains. In 2018 the group expanded into a team of student ambassadors who contributed bespoke content to the account, showcasing the diversity of each and every student’s Durham University experience. Naturally, Covid-19 disrupted much of the traditional University life, but Lizzie and Carina “steered the account through some difficult times…” as a testament to the genuine student passion behind the project. 

Think Gilmore Girls, but our very own version of Stars Hollow meets Yale!

In conversation with one of ’s content creators, Crystal, as well as their content coordinator, Marcel, I was able to get a thorough understanding of the life behind the lens. The Durham Student is certainly cohesive with maximising the beauty of Durham in all of their posts which led me to wonder how the team approaches their creative design. Crystal explained that each of the ambassadors have individual lives and experiences at Durham, so as a team they honour the fact that no two posts will be the same, Marcel echoed the sentiment about creative autonomy, given that Durham is “a global institution…[with] students from all around the world…” However, Marcel’s role as creative coordinator does give her an overall say on their Instagram’s aesthetic in which she wanted to prioritise the “…small town charm alongside its academic vibrancy.” She reminds us to “Think Gilmore Girls, but our very own version of Stars Hollow meets Yale!” I would add that this has wholeheartedly been achieved. 

As well as their well-known Instagram account, The Durham Student can be found on TikTok thanks to the pioneering work of both Alex and Angelika, and the accounts have also expanded to YouTube and Pinterest, but where to look first? Perhaps you’d like insight into life beyond Durham which can be found in Crystal’s debut video on her time abroad in Vietnam, sponsored by the University. Or maybe check out their matriculation video, which Marcel describes as “a time-honoured Durham tradition…” She’s also right in saying that “ is a treasure trove of information and inspiration for prospective and current students.” 

At this point, freshers, I am hoping you find yourselves searching for The Durham Student on Instagram. If you do, the first video we’ve been instructed to watch is Eunice’s take on Durham in a Wes Anderson style film! It truly owes to how differently each student sees Durham. After heading over to Instagram, check out Himieka’s blog which will ease all your teething fears! We understand it’s a busy week however, so if you go no further than this article then just listen to this advice from Crystal: “…university is the best time to explore and to find out what you like and there’s no harm in trying something out and not liking it.” 

Choosing a university is a hard decision, and we are all definitely grateful to have the resources available to us at Durham that we do. Much of that work is done by The Durham Student, and they are not stopping yet! Marcel informs us about what’s in store this term: “orientation week content, college tours, coffee shop recommendations, cosy day-in-the-lifes, and Lumiere Durham coverage!” Stay tuned and don’t forget to check out the student hub for more!


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