By Joe Harston
I started writing this editorial on the way home from the Palatinate office on Bonfire Night, with 1001 worries swirling through my head concerning everything from this print, to work, to pesky emerging assessments. If you’re reading this in print on Thursday then approximately 900 of these concerns have been put to rest in the form of 2000 copies circulating the cobbled streets of Durham.
Now comes the time of year where the majority of Durham students will be overwhelmed by a litany of worries of their own. Week six: the honeymoon period is over; the work is ramping up; those cover letters won’t write themselves and you have to put up with all of this with what now feels like about four hours of daylight and constant worry that the city is going to flood.
A side note to the Southern freshers, take this from a North East third year, strap in for at least another ten academic weeks of grim weather, you might want to start dreaming of the Durham summer soon to keep you going.
When I was in first year, I remember a friend of mine asked if this is what the North East is like all the time. Of course it is not, although the timings of Durham’s term time means that a lot of Durham’s tourism-magnetising beauty falls outside of the times you will be inhabiting the city.
Of course this is not to mention the usual chaotic scramble for housing. While it has become seemingly less stressful – as a third year I can watch and sympathise with those undertaking the unenviable task that first and second years are catapulted into, just as they are finding their feet in the new term and probably before they have made it to the end of their first Circuit Laundry top up.
This editorial is far from the usual damning comment style piece we might typically write: it’s not the intention of Palatinate to cause unnecessary panic among the student body. So as I observe my peers, it feels like there’s a few things that the average Durham student needs to hear as we all hurtle towards deadlines and an unknown immediate future to remind you all why you are here in the first place.
While the week six blues might be setting in for many of us, now comes the time of year where the absence of a reading week becomes painfully evident, especially when friends from other close-by universities have such a luxury. Suddenly the late start to Michaelmas isn’t all so attractive.
I want to remind my peers though that despite the relentless nature of the Durham term structure, to take a second to remind yourself of the reasons you are here and to look ahead past the deadlines that might be keeping you down.
One of the beauties of university life is that you have ample opportunities to make mistakes. Not just academically but in what is most students’ first experience of independent living. Make mistakes in the kitchen or on a night out as well as in the classroom. Remember that for all the stress that will pile on in the coming weeks, one of the main reasons we have all ended up in this situation is for the entire experience and once the week six blues begin to fade and the light at the end of the Michaelmas tunnel is in sight, we can start looking forward to the typical end of year festivities that makes Durham such great place to be.
To my friends – and to myself – like how this piece has made it to print, trust yourself to take the struggles that come with university life in your stride.
And in my admittedly cringe attempt to link back to my title and illustration “every little thing is going to be alright.”
Illustration: Neena Taj