Above pic – with my ‘college husband’
Something I’ve always said about college is that it gives you a more familiar space and group of people, rather than being thrown into a pool of thousands of other students, immediately giving you something in common with the people around you. I lived in college in my first year, however, since moving out during my second year, I’ve been more appreciative of what college life involves. I enjoy going back to college for events such as karaoke nights, formal meals, or welfare weeks, where I get to meet up with people I might not see otherwise.
College community for me is like a family away from home. In my experience, I have been given a specific college family, which is something very unique to a collegiate system at a university. I got assigned ‘college parents’, and I got ‘college married’. It seems a little daunting at first, but you get to meet a lot of people that you might not have had the opportunity to without it.
On the topic of things feeling daunting, trying a new sport at university can feel like that when you think of all the athletes that have done that sport for years. College gives you the opportunity to play sports at a more social level and to play sports that you might not have even heard of, let alone tried. I got involved with ultimate frisbee at the end of my first year, and I have loved playing with the teams and seeing myself improve. In a lot of college sports, the executive committee may be made up of a few university players, so you get to meet and play with people who are really good at their sport!
One big thing in Durham is the intercollegiate divisions, where sports tend to play on the weekends against other colleges. This also leads to the intercollegiate sports day in June, the “Festival of Sport”, which is a day where all the colleges get together to go and compete in their sports, and everyone is welcome to go down and support their friends and their colleges.
I have mentioned a few times how our college community and other students can help the whole process of being thrown into university feel more manageable and comfortable. However, there are support systems in place in case students do have any issues. Being a first-generation student myself – where I am the first in my family to attend university – I found settling in somewhat tricky at first, and wondering whether I was cut out for it. Our assistant master at my college who is in charge of welfare was amazing in that I could speak to her about any concerns I had, and she always listened to what I had to say and reassured me. Many colleges also have student-led welfare, which is a non-advisory, listening service with fellow students.
There are lots of things to get involved with if you want to be part of your college even more. I mentioned exec committees previously, and each college has a big exec. I was recently appointed as my college publicity officer, and I’ve already had the opportunity to develop my liaising, organisation, and design skills!
These are some of the reasons why I love the collegiate aspect of Durham so much, and whichever college you end up in, they all give you the opportunity to meet lots of new people from different backgrounds.
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