My life at Hatfield College

Sofia Brillembourg-Wallis


My arrival to Hatfield College in November of 2021 was unorthodox to say the least. After spending 20 days quarantined (due to COVID travel regulations), I was greeted by some of the nicest people I have ever encountered. Even before I had arrived in the city, my roomie found me on social media and took the time to message me and even meet at the door of my quarantine room. Even though I was there almost two months after everyone else, I can confidently say that all the people on my floor were very welcoming and made sure I was always included.

There is an incredibly strong sense of community at Hatfield. I found it to be the perfect environment to explore new friendships, to push me to achieve my greatest academic potential, and to help me cope with newfound independence and the unexpected struggles that come from moving away from home (especially as an international student). The “A stairs”, as my building block was known, was the hub of social life at Hatfield. There was always some new person to say hi to in the hallways, a floormate with a genuine interest in getting to know you, or a fellow Hatfielder willing to stop for a chat. Additionally, the building has a quaint and quiet library on the bottom floor perfect for the frequent Epiphany term study nights.

Accommodation and location

My assigned accommodation, a double room with a shared en-suite, was the best arrangement I could have hoped for. Although sharing a room was sometimes difficult, I found that it gave me an instant hand up to get to know people on my floor and make friends. Additionally, due to differing schedules and routines, I found that I definitely had more privacy than I thought, even with a roommate.

There is lots to say about the central College buildings’ wonderful location, which uphold the wonderfully classic Durham-feel (although my opinion may be biased). With a straight-on view of the Cathedral, and a stone’s throw away from Palace Green Library and Elvet Riverside, life on the Bailey was usually peaceful (apart from the occasional bar crawl). Events such as the Lion in Winter Ball, Lumière (which I was lucky enough to attend twice) and dinner formals gave life to the college.

Being a wholly catered college, Hatfield provided me with the time and support that I needed in my first year of uni. Starting this new chapter is often difficult, and having catering (sparing myself the worries of buying groceries and dedicating time to cooking) was vital when I made my college rankings. Additionally, a catered college meant more opportunities to socialise with friends and share time with fellow Hatfielders, which made the getting-to-know-everyone-part of first year very easy. 


The traditional reputation that precedes Hatfield is not totally un-based. Although sometimes silly, tradition is an important part of Hatfield life, and it’s these little things – such as singing The Twelve days of Christmas with your whole table on a formal – that make the College so special and fun. And, in my opinion, they are a big part of what makes Hatfield such a tight community.

Most importantly, my experience as a first-year in Durham was shaped immensely by Hatfield, as it eventually gave me the opportunity to find amazing friends (through extensive trial and error of course), to explore my interests, and to get to know myself as an individual.

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Sofia Brillembourg-Wallis

Hi, I’m Sofi! I’m a third-year undergrad from Venezuela studying Liberal Arts. I have never been able to tie down my interests to one discipline, and I find the interactions between social processes and art fascinating. I’m also really passionate about film, pop-culture, crochet, and photographing my favourite people!

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