Why did I pick St John’s?

Eleanor Meese

When I was picking a college I wanted to be part of a college which was friendly and had a community feel to it. The smaller size of St John’s allows you to get to know lots of the students as well as the staff because it enables you to know people individually.

Location location location

The location of St John’s was also something that attracted me to the college as it is in the centre of Durham on the historical Bailey and is a very short walk from the cathedral and city centre yet it is not far from the Bill Bryson Library and other departments located on the Lower Mountjoy campus.

The fact that the college is catered also helps to provide a community feel because it is an easy and natural way to get to know lots of different people. Furthermore, the back of the college has two main lawns, an amphitheatre and paths down to the river. The lawns are great places to hang out with friends and the paths provide quick access to the river so are really great if you want to get to the college boat club or just want a nice walk or run along the river with some stunning views.


In college, I participate in a few sports and societies. This year that has included netball and squash which I hadn’t had much experience with before. It was easy to start these sports in St John’s as people were open for anyone to join in with them and help them learn something new. Anyone can participate in sports and societies and there is a large variety on offer. There is also a student-led welfare team who put on drop-in sessions regularly in college as well as offering things like tea and toast and run activities like video games and paint and sip that you can get involved with. The welfare team and the St John’s Common Room Exec are positions that you can stand for in college and these allow you to have influence over how the college is run. 


A great feature of St John’s is that there are free formals and these take place each week. So far during my time in St John’s, there have been a variety of different themes to formals. These have included formals for different subjects where there were opportunities to meet guests who have careers in fields related to your degree and these would often include interview panels with the guests as well. One of my main highlights in college so far was the Bailey Ball. This included a 12-hour ball in college from 6pm to 6am which had many different activities including a 3-course meal, silent disco, ball pit, photo booth, live music and then a pizza breakfast the following morning.


The library in St John’s is also a great feature of the college. It is located in the ‘LRC’ which is a modern purpose-built building with spacious study spaces including a group study space, computers and many books you can loan. There is also a college gym and music practice rooms which any member of the college can book. St John’s also has a bar which has affordable prices, is open each night of the week and there are also opportunities for people to work there too.

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Eleanor Meese

Hi, my name is Eleanor. I am a first year undergraduate student in St John’s College studying sociology. Aside from my studies, I play violin in the university’s non-auditioned Hill Orchestra, I am part of the Christian Union and I participate in squash and netball at college level.

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