College Life

Pip Crowhurst

An introduction

Colleges are a huge part of Durham and, in my opinion, why it is such a special place to study. From the moment I first set foot in the University College, it exceeded my expectations, and I was instantly at home. And I’m not alone in feeling this way – everyone at Castle loves and feels welcomed into the college rapidly!

For many of you reading this, you will have recently been allocated to Castle, a huge congratulations and I can’t imagine any of you will be regretting your decision when you arrive in September. I’m here to share with you why Castle is such an amazing place to study and grow.


Undoubtedly, one of the reasons Castle is so popular is the beautiful building we get to live in. I still can’t quite believe how fortunate I am to study on such a beautiful site. Within the castle itself we have our gorgeous dining hall and multiple study spaces including a computer room, which is super convenient.


One of the main reasons I chose Castle is for the catered accommodation. The food is so much better than I was expecting and the convenience of not having to cook was ideal. But what I loved most about catered accommodation is the social aspect. It helped me settle in quickly as I was able to meet people super easily. Plus, meals were a great social space throughout the year – there were many a time where I spent two hours at meals because it was a great opportunity to chat to people.

Working in hall


Our formals are gowned and happen once a week within the Great Hall where we are treated to a delicious three course meal. As an old college there are loads of fun traditions during formal that, without fail, make for a great evening. Every now and again, we have themed formals that are extra special with live entertainment. These big college nights are an amazing way for different year groups to integrate. I feel lucky to have friends across all years – this is a special feature of the college system and the warm community that is Castle, and the incredible people I’ve met will definitely be friends for life.

Social events and balls

The college has a range of social events throughout the year, including balls, sports events and our annual fashion show which provide opportunities to socialize and have fun. The abundance of events is more than I was expecting which means there is never a boring week in sight! And remember to pack fancy dress as it’s something we wear all the time, which is super fun!

Balls are a huge part of the college. We have three a year, including Durham’s biggest ball in June. The college also has its own sustainability scheme where students can borrow a dress for free! This has really helped me feel empowered at events and not feel pressured to buy a new dress each time.

Sports and societies

Sports and societies are a huge part of Castle life. There are numerous sports teams and societies to join, from football to yoga, there’s something for everyone. Being part of a society has provided me with so many opportunities to make new friends and try new things. The college is also really open to expanding its society offerings and is always eager to hear suggestions of new societies.

Castle has exceeded my expectations. The combination of excellent catering, a strong sense of community, and diverse opportunities to get involved has made my time here unforgettable. So, to those of you who have recently been allocated to Castle – a huge congratulations, and I can’t wait for you to experience the magic of the college!

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Pip Crowhurst

Hi, I’m Pip and I’m currently a second-year Human Geography student at Castle (University college). Alongside my degree, I have a particular passion for fashion, at the moment I run a college sustainable fashion society and next year I’m really excited to be involved with Durham University's annual charity fashion show. Additionally, although not my strongest suit, I love getting involved with college sport and am the captain of rounders and on the committee for hockey.

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