Claudia – my first day at Durham

Claudia Chmura

My first day at Durham was, as you might expect, a whirlwind of experience. The sun was shining, the bells were ringing, the crowd on the Bailey was out in full force and I was giddy with excitement, and a good dose of trepidation.

My family were kind enough to drive me up to college, there we were greeted by green-painted students banging pots and pans to announce our arrival, there may also have been a live goat as a mascot but I may be misremembering, there were definitely goats at some point in that first week. Though there was also time in all the madness to get a quick tour of college, a COVID test, report to the bursars office for my university ID, buy a gown, visit the cathedral, carry a (very reasonable if I may say so) amount of boxes into my new room, and go for lunch with my family. Then I had a few moments alone in my new room to prepare for my first formal before I rushed to get into the hall on time because I had misread the time on the email and was running late.

An excited fresher ready for her first formal

The first day of university is bound to be emotionally charged, perhaps not so much with green people and goats as mine was, but those attractions were a welcome distraction from the little bit of fear that lurked within, waiting for a quiet and unfamiliar room within which to reveal itself. It is natural to feel this way, starting university is a big deal and I think the most terrifying but also exciting thing about it is the possibilities it presents. On that first day there is no limit to what you might make of your university experience because you haven’t made any decisions yet! And that’s scary, but it’s also freeing. So take your time, don’t throw yourself head first into everything (they don’t give you all those options expecting you to do everything) and if you need some alone time, maybe go for a walk, or to your room, or a library, do what makes you comfortable. Try to embrace all those emotions, even the scary ones, because they’re part of your journey.

Discover more

Check out our Welcome and Orientation Week webpages here

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Claudia Chmura


Hi, I’m Claudia and I am an English student at St Chad’s College, this will be my first year as a content creator for Durham University. I’m excited to see what second year has in store for me and just trying to muddle through somehow! 


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