Current 1st year student at Durham - AMA Watch

auburnstar
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Hi, I'm a first year studying music at Durham. As the title says, feel free to ask me anything about student life, studying at Durham or music.
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xBasedChris
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What is the work load, and work difficulty, generally like across the university?
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Joedee8423
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(Original post by auburnstar)
Hi, I'm a first year studying music at Durham. As the title says, feel free to ask me anything about student life, studying at Durham or music.


What are the facilities like and student accommodation ?
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cfc12345
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What college are you in? Also, what's the general consensus (if there is one) about what the colleges to avoid are?
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auburnstar
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(Original post by xBasedChris)
What is the work load, and work difficulty, generally like across the university?
The workload varies depending on your subject. People studying law, sciences or mathematics have higher workloads than eg history or music. The workload also increases through the years and some subjects have a greater emphasis on written exams vs coursework than others.

Generally speaking, the work is a mixture of coursework/essays that do not count towards your grades ('formatives') and longer coursework or essays which require more preparation ('summatives'). This is of course on top of any lecture reading and lecture notes. The work is designed to be challenging, but manageable enough not to cause any undue stress (outside of exam term at least...).

Personally studying music I have found the workload very manageable (particularly during the holidays), and less intense than A-level (although I went a bit overboard during A-levels). However, I am only in my second term so I imagine I will have a different view during the exam revision period and second/third year.

(Original post by Joedee8423)
What are the facilities like and student accommodation ?
I can only talk about my college but the facilities are good overall. There is a shared common room with an attached reception to collect your post, laundry rooms, an entire massive sports field (which I have yet to explore...), the students union which hosts student events and careers fairs, two bars and it is right next to the GP/health clinic.

In terms of accommodation, most people live in college in their first year. The college rooms vary in size depending on what you pay (eg ensuite, shared or single etc). Mine personally is a decent but not huge size (I have enough space for a wardrobe, keyboard, bed and desk), I have access to a very small bathroom in the room (and because I have a medical condition I have a price reduction for this).

In the second and third year, most students choose to live out in Gilesgate (~20 mins from city centre) as the rent is considerably cheaper (70-80wk bills included is not unheard of vs 170+/wk in college). This doesn't cause many issues however as people generally socialise within their department and the students union.

(Original post by cfc12345)
What college are you in? Also, what's the general consensus (if there is one) about what the colleges to avoid are?
I'm at Cuths. There are jokes about certain colleges, but it's up to personal choice mainly as the teaching is through the faculty so the academic quality is the same. It just depends if you want to be catered vs self-catered and how many hills you want to climb (Mary's ).

I would possibly avoid Castle but only because the rooms within the college are older and sometimes have issues for that reason (as you are living in a castle, the heating/mould/wifi access etc can have problems). It is very pretty from the outside.
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YellowSpudmarine
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(Original post by auburnstar)
Hi, I'm a first year studying music at Durham. As the title says, feel free to ask me anything about student life, studying at Durham or music.
Hi! Are you in the self catered or fully catered part of St Cuths? Which one would you say is more sociable? Thanks.
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cfc12345
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(Original post by auburnstar)
I'm at Cuths. There are jokes about certain colleges, but it's up to personal choice mainly as the teaching is through the faculty so the academic quality is the same. It just depends if you want to be catered vs self-catered and how many hills you want to climb (Mary's ).

I would possibly avoid Castle but only because the rooms within the college are older and sometimes have issues for that reason (as you are living in a castle, the heating/mould/wifi access etc can have problems). It is very pretty from the outside.
Awesome! Thanks for your help. I chose Hild Bede, mainly because I was in somewhat of a rush and my parents were really getting on my back to send the application off, and also because it ticked the boxes I was looking for. I'm going to the offer holder visit day in Feb, but that will be my first and only visit to the college since I live in London. I was wondering whether you had any thoughts on the college? I know it's quite out of the way, but I'm curious as to if you know any students there or if you've heard anything (positive or negative!) about it.

Thanks again for your help!
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auburnstar
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(Original post by YellowSpudmarine)
Hi! Are you in the self catered or fully catered part of St Cuths? Which one would you say is more sociable? Thanks.
I'm self-catered. I have been self-catered at home for many years as my parents wouldn't cook food that was different for me. If I were to have food prepared in college, it would be more expensive and to accommodate all the food I can't eat it like meat or dairy it would probably be blander than what I make myself.

I would say catered is more sociable to an extent. It depends on who your flatmates are and how well you get along with them; if everybody likes each other you can cook for each other and have parties etc. That being said, I am not very close to my flatmates and have socialised in other ways with people on my course and in the students union. Being catered is more expensive though; I can buy a week's worth of groceries for 30 quid or less. :yep:

(Original post by cfc12345)
Awesome! Thanks for your help. I chose Hild Bede, mainly because I was in somewhat of a rush and my parents were really getting on my back to send the application off, and also because it ticked the boxes I was looking for. I'm going to the offer holder visit day in Feb, but that will be my first and only visit to the college since I live in London. I was wondering whether you had any thoughts on the college? I know it's quite out of the way, but I'm curious as to if you know any students there or if you've heard anything (positive or negative!) about it.

Thanks again for your help!
No problem, glad to help! I am not super familiar with Hild Bede, but I have friends who lived in college who really enjoyed their experience and made great friendships. It is a bit further out the way but definitely manageable. And most students live out in the second and third year anyway, so if you wanted to pay more for rent* you could opt for somewhere 10-15min walk to the city centre.

*by "more" I mean 110ish a week vs 80 a week
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Mikasadoge
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(Original post by auburnstar)
Hi, I'm a first year studying music at Durham. As the title says, feel free to ask me anything about student life, studying at Durham or music.
How good is the social life? I went there for a summer school and the only thing that stuck out to me was the Tesco express in the middle of town
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auburnstar
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(Original post by Mikasadoge)
How good is the social life? I went there for a summer school and the only thing that stuck out to me was the Tesco express in the middle of town
Hahaha I'm not going to lie to you and tell you the clubs are amazing because they aren't xD (*coughs* Klute *coughs*) But the social life in terms of society events at the DSU and the college bars is very good :yep: I am also very much not a fan of clubbing, so I am not the best person to ask :lol:
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Mikasadoge
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(Original post by auburnstar)
Hahaha I'm not going to lie to you and tell you the clubs are amazing because they aren't xD (*coughs* Klute *coughs*) But the social life in terms of society events at the DSU and the college bars is very good :yep: I am also very much not a fan of clubbing, so I am not the best person to ask :lol:
Not too big on clubbing myself, was just wondering in general. Also, I've heard that the diversity is kinda low? I didn't think about it much but then I realised I actually only saw white people at Durham and the odd Asian PhD student lool
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auburnstar
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(Original post by Mikasadoge)
Not too big on clubbing myself, was just wondering in general. Also, I've heard that the diversity is kinda low? I didn't think about it much but then I realised I actually only saw white people at Durham and the odd Asian PhD student lool
Diversity is an issue, you're definitely right.^ The university as a whole is trying to change that though, and in particular, the DPOCA (Durham People of Colour Association) has a strong presence at the uni. There are also several liberation groups of other kinds, including feminist and LGBT+ oriented groups which have an active voice.

So certainly although the diversity within the student population could definitely be improved, it is a known issue and the associations serve to support people from minority groups (through peer support/welfare, socialising, organising events, collaborations etc).
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imogen.eddison
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What’s Hatfield like compared to Cuth’s ??
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Mikasadoge
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(Original post by auburnstar)
Diversity is an issue, you're definitely right.^ The university as a whole is trying to change that though, and in particular, the DPOCA (Durham People of Colour Association) has a strong presence at the uni. There are also several liberation groups of other kinds, including feminist and LGBT+ oriented groups which have an active voice.

So certainly although the diversity within the student population could definitely be improved, it is a known issue and the associations serve to support people from minority groups (through peer support/welfare, socialising, organising events, collaborations etc).
Thanks for answering my questions
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YellowSpudmarine
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Thank you for replying! On the topic of diversity, would you say there are many internationals? Specifically are there many Eastern Europeans (Russians, Ukrainians, Poles)?
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COYS...TTID
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Did you get rejected from oxford or Cambridge?
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xBasedChris
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(Original post by auburnstar)
The workload varies depending on your subject. People studying law, sciences or mathematics have higher workloads than eg history or music. The workload also increases through the years and some subjects have a greater emphasis on written exams vs coursework than others.

Generally speaking, the work is a mixture of coursework/essays that do not count towards your grades ('formatives' and longer coursework or essays which require more preparation ('summatives'. This is of course on top of any lecture reading and lecture notes. The work is designed to be challenging, but manageable enough not to cause any undue stress (outside of exam term at least...).

Personally studying music I have found the workload very manageable (particularly during the holidays), and less intense than A-level (although I went a bit overboard during A-levels). However, I am only in my second term so I imagine I will have a different view during the exam revision period and second/third year.
Thanks for the response!
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auburnstar
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(Original post by imogen.eddison)
What’s Hatfield like compared to Cuth’s ??
Has a more traditional and less left-wing vibe, only has one bar (), better rooms, very central and only catered option (no choice of catered or self-catered). It has a bit of a posh private school reputation, but don't worry that's just silly inter-college banter.

(Original post by YellowSpudmarine)
Thank you for replying! On the topic of diversity, would you say there are many internationals? Specifically are there many Eastern Europeans (Russians, Ukrainians, Poles)?
Yes! There are many internationals. I know several people from Eastern Europe including Russia. Although some smaller countries are less represented, Eastern Europe overall is well represented

(Original post by COYS...TTID)
Did you get rejected from oxford or Cambridge?
Yes from Oxford, although in retrospect and after a lot of time to think I realised I would not have enjoyed or benefited much from the atmosphere. I suffer from anxiety and a number of health conditions worsened by stress and hate to work late at night/regularly need 9 hours+ of sleep (which judging by my friends who are there, late-night essay crises are commonplace). I do not know if I would have turned down an offer, but I don't know if I would be in a good place in terms of mental health. Although the degree here is sometimes not challenging enough in terms of workload (but it's only 2nd term), I'd rather be in a position where I can choose out of my own passion to study extra things for the fun of it, than be forced to work beyond my breaking point or fail.

That was a very long-winded answer haha. In short yep I wasn't accepted as a reapplicant to Oxford, but I realise in the grand scheme it matters very little to my personal happiness and may not have been the best option for me at the end of the day.
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username1221160
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Is the layer of stale lager, hair grease and semen still so bad in Klute that your feet stick to the floor?
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xBasedChris
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(Original post by Sulfolobus)
Is the layer of stale lager, hair grease and semen still so bad in Klute that your feet stick to the floor?
I see you are also a connoseiur of Klute.
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