Staying in the North East to study

Ruby Palin

Hello! I’m Ruby and I am a second-year BSc Biological Sciences student. My hometown is near Middlesbrough. I love where I live! It’s the perfect combination of beaches to the East and the countryside to the West. 

Durham is the best of both worlds

Before coming to university, I was nervous about leaving home and thought I would feel unsettled in the unfamiliar environment. But I couldn’t have been more wrong. Durham is such a beautiful, cosy city which means that making your way through the town centre is pleasant and calming – this was a big positive for me as I had only ever known little villages in the North East and find busy cities quite intimidating.

Don’t get me wrong though, although Durham is a lovely, old-world city, there is still plenty of excitement and city buzz. You can get the best of both worlds in Durham. There’s a big weekly market in the town square; the cathedral always has free events going on; there are endless cafes to try out; and Newcastle is only a 10-minute train ride away if you’re looking for a bigger city!

College is my home from home

Another feature of Durham University that I found reassuring was the collegiate system. For those that haven’t heard of Durham’s college system before… there are 17 ‘colleges’ at the University. Each student belongs to a college for the duration of their studies. 

The majority of students choose to live in their college’s accommodation in their first year – a great way to start your journey of living independently as you don’t need to worry about paying energy bills or if your college is catered, you won’t need to worry about cooking food either! I’ve found that being part of my college is like being part of a smaller community of people which makes it so much easier to make friends and find your feet. The relatively unique college system at Durham definitely helped me narrow down my choices when I was deciding what to put as my firm choice.

My family (& dog) are never too far away

To be totally honest, there were a few times in my first year when I was a bit overwhelmed – a totally normal part of moving to university! BUT, the significant part of studying in the North East for me is that home is only 45 minutes away meaning that my mum (and my dog!) could pop up once or twice a term to go out for a coffee or take me to the supermarket to get some food shopping. It was such a big mood booster to see my family and friends throughout the term and it kept me going. 

My advice to any North East students thinking of coming to Durham… if you can, come and have a wander around, book an open day, follow the Instagram account @thedurhamstudent or even watch some of the Uni YouTube videos. Doing all or even one of these things will help you decide if Durham is right for you. 

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Ruby Palin

Hello! My name is Ruby. I am a second year BSc Biological Sciences student at Josephine Butler College. I really enjoy my course and find it incredibly interesting. Outside of my studies, I love having a laugh with my teammates while playing netball, volleyball and lacrosse.

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