Sorry I'm not quoting but quite a few people asked questions so will just try to answer them in this post.
I'm finding it quite difficult to articulate exactly what I didn't like about the college. MagpieRhino, I don't think that was the problem I had with it so much. I felt very isolated, though, and I KNOW that's to be expected to some extent but at any other open days I've been to (or other similar being thrown in at the deep end events), I've at least found somebody to talk to who I click with and get on with, but I talked to a lot of people and was unable to sustain a decent conversation. That's one thing that I have to think about - whether that really and truly is just the open day situation that makes it difficult to make any connections (plus also makes everybody fixated on just getting pissed and act like being clever is the worst thing in the world). Plus, and this wouldn't affect me much if it was the only thing, but does have a cumulative effect, I found out that there would be 4 people at Trevs from my year at the school I went to before 6th form, which I genuinely hated because it was an intellectual hothouse that just turned mediocre people into clones that could recite the periodic table or whatever else would pass them an exam.
Department-wise, it wasn't all bad. I really did love the tutorial - that was really interesting and I enjoyed the style. The lectures were ok, but I had a mixed reaction to them (from really enjoying one to almost falling asleep in another). My main issue was the lack of flexibility in the course. I know that it looks like there is because you get quite a lot of choice, but even then quite a lot of it is forced, and I was looking at the 2nd/3rd year options and getting extremely stuck with what I would want to do out of the options given. Also, I cannot believe that a module entitled "Introduction to Drama" doesn't include any Shakespeare.
Right. And here is why I liked the sound of Durham so much beforehand.
a) The reputation and especially the top spot for English (understanding that league tables should be taken with a pinch of salt - but clearly it's excellent and I am very much a pursuer of excellence).
b) The collegiate system. Seemed more community-esque and friendly.
c) The sound of the city - I'm not keen at all on the club scene, so it sounded like Durham had the right atmosphere for me.
d) I like the idea of university towns, where there is obviously a town but the university is a large presence.
ETA: I don't think I had an issue with having overly high expectations, because I feel like if anything, I would have been forgiving because I was so set on it. Don't know if that's true though.