Durham is more than just the degree!

Shannon Hill

I came to Durham in October 2020 so it’s safe to say that my student experience has been somewhat unique, though I wouldn’t want it to be any other way! It’s been so interesting watching the university evolve and change whilst I’ve been here and watching college flourish as students return to normality – I can definitely say that I will never take the social aspects of college for granted! Not to be a Durham cliché, but Mary’s is absolutely the best college in Durham, and I love getting involved and meeting other people within the community!

Some of my reasons for choosing Durham

Durham University appealed to me for a few reasons:

  • The city is beautiful and has a nice balance of having plenty to do without being too big; 
  • The collegiate system really helps with feeling like you’re part of a community and allows for experiences that non-collegiate universities can’t really offer;
  • It was far enough from home that I could be independent, but not so far that it would be difficult to get home when needed. 

While I was interested in Durham for these reasons, what really confirmed that Durham was for me was attending the Supported Progression summer school. Spending a week in college and having a taste of life at Durham was amazing. Being led by current students rather than staff members gave an insight that I don’t think would have been possible otherwise. It also meant that I had the unique opportunity of working with faculty members in my department on a project before coming here, which a lot of students don’t get to experience. 

Getting involved with societies and other opportunities on offer!

Something that I really enjoy is getting stuck into all of the societies and opportunities on offer, both in college and within the wider university. I’m heavily involved in Mary’s theatre society, Foot of the Hill, and also generally in Durham Student Theatre. It’s such a great way to meet new people and push your limits on and off stage. There are 33 theatre companies at Durham, and they produce some incredible shows – (in my opinion they’re better than professional shows that I’ve seen) – and you get to see people you know have fun on stage! Within college, I’m also involved in the LGBTQ+ society. It’s really nice to have safe spaces to be expressive in university and allow people to be themselves. 

Making your own society is easy to do!

There are more than 200 societies under the Durham Students’ Union, and even more in college, so there is something for everyone to enjoy, and if not, you can even make your own! I think that a really cool aspect of student-led activities in Durham is that you can create societies to meet like-minded people and it’s really accessible to do so! My friends and I recently formed an escape room society, Escape DURoom, where we visit local escape rooms with new groups of people and speak to companies to get member discounts. The process of starting new societies is open to all and is such a fun way of practising a hobby or skill with others. Societies are such a great way to enrich your student experience outside of the lecture halls. University for me is about so much more than getting a degree!

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Shannon Hill

Hi, I’m Shannon and I’m a second year biosciences student in St. Mary’s College!

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