Durham University Myth Busting


Is Durham University really full of posh people?

In short, no it isn’t, but of course, you will come across many different types of people at Durham and some will be ‘posh’, as with every university! I was really worried about this before coming to Durham because I had heard this a lot. However, upon arrival this worry was immediately dispelled – everyone who lived on my floor at college was really down to earth and from a wide range of backgrounds.

Another thing to bear in mind is that not all colleges are formal. I think the idea that Durham is posh comes from the photos that you see of people in gowns, sitting down at black-tie dinners, this hasn’t been my experience at all. I am at Collingwood College, (above image) which is a non-gowned, informal college, meaning that we only have formals once or twice a term. This makes them all the more special and they aren’t as stuffy as you’d imagine – half the time they are in fancy dress here!

You can shape your experience at Durham to be what you want it to be – whether that is a more formal experience or less so, like in my case!

Students outside of Hatfield College

You have to come from a private school

Leading on nicely from the previous question, the classic private school stereotype. Having been to state schools my entire life, I am now a student at Durham, so the answer is no – of course you don’t need to have attended a private school to come here! However, I completely understand the worry that there will be loads of privately educated students. This is where the 93% club comes in. I did a lot of research into this society before coming to Durham as this was really important for me. The 93% club is a “student-run society that is dedicated to improving the experience of state school students at Durham”. I found it reassuring to know that there is an entire society in Durham dedicated to these issues, and they really are a group of lovely people!

There isn’t much to do!

Durham is a very small city – there are no two ways about it. However, it is a city full of culture (it is a UNESCO World Heritage site), full of things to do and places to see!

Whether it is going to one of Durham’s numerous cafés for a coffee break and a catch up with a friend, or wandering around the Cathedral or Botanic Gardens, there are plenty of ways to fill your days. It is also only a stone’s throw away from Newcastle, a big city with lots on offer and it’s only £1 on the bus! There are always gigs and events going on there, which can be a very fun way to spend your time! Hopefully, things will get back to normal so we can do this again soon.

The Cathedral looks stunning at dusk

There is also loads to do at the university outside of your studies, with so many sports, societies, and jobs! You don’t necessarily have to be good at sport to join in as lots of colleges have their own, more social teams, which are really relaxed and just a fun way to take part. Societies are similar in that you really don’t have to be an expert or anything, just willing to take part and have fun. There really is a society for everyone and it’s such a good way to keep busy and find people with similar interests to you! In summary, there is never too little to do here, it’s quite the opposite!

The academic work is too much to have a job.

Not at all! There are so many part-time jobs in the area which you can fit around your schedule as well as jobs within the University itself. I am a Student Ambassador, which is a very flexible job, you can pick and choose when to work to fit around your studies and there is such a wide range of tasks available, A lot of people I know are online tutors, which, again, is a very flexible job, and you can be in charge of your own hours. The Careers and Enterprise Centre also send weekly emails with local part-time jobs listed, so it’s really easy to see what is available! Watch Carina’s vid about part time jobs here.

There are a lot of stereotypes about Durham and I’m sure I haven’t addressed all of them here, however, the most important thing to take away from this is that Durham is all about what you want and what you make of your time here – it has nothing to do with these stereotypes!

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Hi, I’m Eleanor, a second year Modern Languages and Cultures student at Collingwood College. I have been a Durham Student Ambassador since my first year and am involved in student theatre here at Durham!

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