ciaranoshea
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I just got an offer from St Aidan's, and it's completely the opposite of the college I originally applied to (Josephine Butler). Does anyone know what it's like, will I enjoy it there?

Btw, I'm going to study Engineering
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TheLionEl
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Hah. Exact same thing happened to me. Re-allocated from Butler. I'm studying Politics
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ciaranoshea
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Are you going to the Open Day Residential in March?
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TheLionEl
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Yup, they haven't told us much about it though.
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pianofluteftw
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Hello both!

It would be easier if you had any specific questions, but for now:

I am a second year undergraduate and I am at Aidan's (but live out in my second year). St Aidan's is actually a wonderful college. Whilst it will seem enormously different to Josephine Butler (not self catered, possibility of shared rooms) I think the better to way to look at it is Josephine Butler is different to pretty much every other college in Durham. Only a very small proportion of students self cater in first year. Aidan's, like the majority of colleges (in Durham city) is catered, but the food is usually reckoned to be good. There is plenty of choice and while people always complain about it, it is of a high standard considering it is all mass catering. People also find making friends is easiest in colleges with catered food as you can meet everyone in college easily and share meal times with them, rather than being separated off into flats. Josephine Butler has its own stereotype of being elusive and less involved in Durham life, partly because it seems so far away and partly because it is so different.

In other aspects it is quite similar. They are both Hill colleges and so their location is similar. Aidan's is actually closer to where you'll be doing lectures and despite the hill is a really good location (plus have stunning views). With regards to college life/ spirit, every college has it's own JCR and organises its own events. You're lucky in the fact that Aidan's has one of the better JCR's - it is very active. Aidan's is also known for being one of the most friendly and inclusive colleges where everyone feels welcome. It used to be known as 'the party college' but this is now not the case, although it is less traditional than other colleges. There are no gowns (due to historical tradition - Aidan's was created to allow more women to study in the university and they didn't want gowns) but I would argue this is a good thing. It means all of our formals are different. We have smart, black tie formals, but also huge fancy dress formals. You can attend a gowned formal at another college if you want the experience, but lots of people find it is nice not to HAVE to wear a gown - the first time is fun, the next few times you realise how expensive it was, how hard it is to keep clean and they are not comfy. You can't even graduate in them. Most people enjoy it as an experience, but dislike having to wear them after that. Aidan's bar I also prefer to Butler. It always has people in and lots of social activities go on there. Butler has a reputation of being a bit like a bus shelter.

Until you get here you wont really appreciate it but whichever college you end up in you will love (and will automatically claim it is the best college). Each college has it's own character (at the moment) and it's own unique atmosphere. I'm sure you'll end up loving Aidan's as it is easily one of the most friendly and inclusive.

Do come on the post application open day though, it really gives you a sense of what life will be like at Aidan's and most people LOVE it

*Also you'll discover you're not alone, loads of people get reallocated to different colleges. It's because they try and have a balance of all different subjects at each college and people always tend to apply to the same colleges, either University (because it's a castle) or Jo Butler because people think they can't live without an ensuite!
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rs232
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(Original post by pianofluteftw)
Hello both!

It would be easier if you had any specific questions, but for now:

I am a second year undergraduate and I am at Aidan's (but live out in my second year). St Aidan's is actually a wonderful college. Whilst it will seem enormously different to Josephine Butler (not self catered, possibility of shared rooms) I think the better to way to look at it is Josephine Butler is different to pretty much every other college in Durham. Only a very small proportion of students self cater in first year. Aidan's, like the majority of colleges (in Durham city) is catered, but the food is usually reckoned to be good. There is plenty of choice and while people always complain about it, it is of a high standard considering it is all mass catering. People also find making friends is easiest in colleges with catered food as you can meet everyone in college easily and share meal times with them, rather than being separated off into flats. Josephine Butler has its own stereotype of being elusive and less involved in Durham life, partly because it seems so far away and partly because it is so different.

In other aspects it is quite similar. They are both Hill colleges and so their location is similar. Aidan's is actually closer to where you'll be doing lectures and despite the hill is a really good location (plus have stunning views). With regards to college life/ spirit, every college has it's own JCR and organises its own events. You're lucky in the fact that Aidan's has one of the better JCR's - it is very active. Aidan's is also known for being one of the most friendly and inclusive colleges where everyone feels welcome. It used to be known as 'the party college' but this is now not the case, although it is less traditional than other colleges. There are no gowns (due to historical tradition - Aidan's was the first college to admit women in the university and they didn't want gowns) but I would argue this is a good thing. It means all of our formals are different. We have smart, black tie formals, but also huge fancy dress formals. You can attend a gowned formal at another college if you want the experience, but lots of people find it is nice not to HAVE to wear a gown - the first time is fun, the next few times you realise how expensive it was, how hard it is to keep clean and they are not comfy. You can't even graduate in them. Most people enjoy it as an experience, but dislike having to wear them after that. Aidan's bar I also prefer to Butler. It always has people in and lots of social activities go on there. Butler has a reputation of being a bit like a bus shelter.

Until you get here you wont really appreciate it but whichever college you end up in you will love (and will automatically claim it is the best college). Each college has it's own character (at the moment) and it's own unique atmosphere. I'm sure you'll end up loving Aidan's as it is easily one of the most friendly and inclusive.

Do come on the post application open day though, it really gives you a sense of what life will be like at Aidan's and most people LOVE it

*Also you'll discover you're not alone, loads of people get reallocated to different colleges. It's because they try and have a balance of all different subjects at each college and people always tend to apply to the same colleges, either University (because it's a castle) or Jo Butler because people think they can't live without an ensuite!
What is the gym there like? Do people use the gym there or go to the big main university one?
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pianofluteftw
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(Original post by rs232)
What is the gym there like? Do people use the gym there or go to the big main university one?
Most people find the college gyms fit their needs more than enough. It has treadmills, cycling machines and cross trainers (plus a couple of others I think) as well as a weights section including free standing weights. If you're really into it then I think some people do join other gyms - there is the uni one located at the uni sports centre (Maiden castle) but that's a little way out of town, or there is a local leisure centre that students go to to use the pool and gym.

So yeah, for most people the college gym is more than enough (and membership much more affordable ~£40 I believe) rather than the hundreds of pounds at either of the other two!
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rs232
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(Original post by pianofluteftw)
Most people find the college gyms fit their needs more than enough. It has treadmills, cycling machines and cross trainers (plus a couple of others I think) as well as a weights section including free standing weights. If you're really into it then I think some people do join other gyms - there is the uni one located at the uni sports centre (Maiden castle) but that's a little way out of town, or there is a local leisure centre that students go to to use the pool and gym.

So yeah, for most people the college gym is more than enough (and membership much more affordable ~£40 I believe) rather than the hundreds of pounds at either of the other two!
Thanks, how much does alcohol cost in the college bar and in Durham? Is it expensive or quite a cheap place?
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pianofluteftw
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(Original post by rs232)
Thanks, how much does alcohol cost in the college bar and in Durham? Is it expensive or quite a cheap place?
College bars are notoriously cheap. Pints are usually priced between £1.50 and £2. A single shot of spirit is usually about £1.20, with mixer about £1.50. Each college also has it's own college drink too which are usually priced competitively. Each bar is different but most sell a variety of beers, lager and ciders on tap, as well as bottles and a huge range of spirits. You are allowed into any college bar with your campus card (except on rare nights when only members of that college are allowed) so nights out tend to be pretty cheap. Aidan's has a large range and tries to get in a variety of different products, such as featuring guest ales. Soft drinks are incredibly cheap as Durham likes to encourage people not to be silly on nights out, so a pint of soft drink from the tap only costs 50-60p in college bars.

As for the rest of Durham - much the same as most places really! Pints are about £2.50 and it just depends on which establishment you go to! We have local pubs that only stock products from one brewery and we have chain pubs like Wetherspoons. There are also a variety of bars selling cocktails etc. Clubs tend to be much cheaper than elsewhere, often with free entry before a certain time or costing very little (£1-2). Inside drinks prices range from very high to very low.

Hope this helps!
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TheLionEl
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Does anyone know if you share rooms in the open day (next week)? Would be abit weird sharing with someone you dont know as a one off haha
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KayteeKaytee
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(Original post by TheLionEl)
Does anyone know if you share rooms in the open day (next week)? Would be abit weird sharing with someone you dont know as a one off haha
I had to share when I went. They put me in a room with someone who was marked as "late arrival". She arrived during the activities in the evening but I didn't know who she was. She went to bed before me and since I was having such a good time I didn't go back to the room till late and I woke her up. I had a brief chat then and we also talked in the morning and during breakfast. This seems like a nightmare scenario but actually it was fine. You are in the room for such a short time (apart from sleeping), it really isn't a big deal.
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