From the North of London to the North of England… A day in the life

Cynthia Lawson

Freshers? Friends? Societies? Maintaining a positive well-being? Hopefully, some of my experiences so far can put some minds at ease!

Freshers’ week

Freshers’ was definitely something far from what I expected it to be like. To be honest, I really did not have an expectation beforehand but it was definitely a week to remember!

The first week before classes start were filled with so many different activities, which – if I’m totally honest – had me exhausted by the end of it all. From club nights (in Durham AND Newcastle) to formals and fairground rides right at your doorstep. My favourite though had to be the farm they brought in for us to play with the animals – I can say I can’t get animals at my doorstep in London, that’s for sure!


Friends are probably what makes every day something to look forward to a little more. I mostly made my friends from my course, college and from societies, I have joined and/or visited.

It’s a bit daunting going to a new place without knowing anyone but everyone is really friendly, including the local residents!

Usually, I meet up with my friends on a Wednesday which is a social night for students at Durham, or any other day after the university day is done. I probably go to a restaurant every week or so (in more normal times), there’s a lot of places to visit in Durham so you definitely have a lot of things to do as well


One of my favourite things about Durham is the number of societies there are, literally anything you can think of, Durham probably has a society for it. There’s even a society for students who love Hummus.

Societies are where you can meet people with similar interests to you whilst also creating a hobby for taking a break from university work. A lot of them also host their own balls which is always something to look forward to!

So far, I’ve only been involved in the African Caribbean Society (DACS) which has helped me feel more comfortable being at university. They usually hold events that embrace African and Caribbean culture which makes me feel quite comfortable. Societies usually hold an event every week.

Maintaining a positive wellbeing

Being away from home can sometimes have an impact on your mental health and wellbeing. It definitely did for me, moving from the North of London to the North of England.

Remember, you’re not alone! Keeping in contact with friends and family at home helped me to reduce the homesickness I was feeling.

There are also a lot of counselling services at Durham within colleges, the Student Union and societies as well! So, if you need someone to talk to, there is always someone with an open ear to listen.

If you’re not really a talker, there have also been times where I decided to take a walk instead to clear my head, which usually works. Durham has a lot of sights for sore eyes and heavy minds!

Find out more

Durham University’s STEP programme here

Sutton Trust Summer School here

Download our latest prospectus here.

Follow our students on Instagram and YouTube.

Cynthia Lawson

Hi! My name is Cynthia. I graduated from Durham in 2021 with a degree in BA in Criminology and I am currently I post-graduate in the field of Social Research Methods. In Durham, each student is assigned a college, and I was assigned to unarguable the best college in Durham (with the best bar), Collingwood!

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