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Chemistry Research, Durham University
Durham University
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Should I take dramatically take a gap year because of my Durham college allocation?

Yes. I know this sounds incredibly dramatic, entitled, idiotic, etc. But I've genuinely lost all my interest in going to Durham after the college allocation process. I know that it's only for the first year, and I know I'll meet people elsewhere, but I was so unbelievably interested in the collegiate system and being part of my college community, only for that all to dissipate after being allocated to Van Mildert.

I'm SURE it's a great college - do not misunderstand me - it's just not what I was looking for. I was really hoping to live on the Bailey since it seemed like an amazing opportunity since I obviously wouldn't get the chance to live there for my other years of uni, and I loved the idea of living so centrally. Joining a collegiate chapel choir, gowned formals, and living in such a nice looking college were all things I've idolised and I just really feel apprehensive about attending any other college, especially Mildert.

I just don't know how much I'd enjoy durham being 20 minutes away from my subject department (instead of only a 5 minute walk at Chad's - which was also a 4 minute walk from Waterstones), and not having access to all the opportunities offered at Chad's.

I know putting my entire life on hold for a year for the CHANCE to get another college is an idiotic thing to do (I probably won't, especially as it's likely the same thing would happen again) but I'm just so against the idea of attending Mildert over Chad's. The facilities are nicer at Chad's, they have gowned formals, they have a chapel choir, they're way closer to my subject department, it's a way nicer looking college, people more similar to me, etc etc.

I guess what I'm trying to say is - can someone convince me this isn't actually the end of my life...

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Reply 1
I can understand why you'd be upset. You'll process it over the summer and eventually accept it. For now just focus on A Levels. Also, remember that people are usually reallocated in the summer as far as I'm aware after results day. Maybe you could contact Durham then and ask if you could be moved to one on the Bailey. I know they say that they don't let people choose but maybe they'll realise how much you want to be on the Bailey if you take the time to call and ask. Nonetheless, ppl say you'll end up liking your college even if it wasn't your first choice. There's hopefully some truth in that seeing as so many people say it
Chemistry Research, Durham University
Durham University
Durham
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Reply 2
Original post by poppy2022
I can understand why you'd be upset. You'll process it over the summer and eventually accept it. For now just focus on A Levels. Also, remember that people are usually reallocated in the summer as far as I'm aware after results day. Maybe you could contact Durham then and ask if you could be moved to one on the Bailey. I know they say that they don't let people choose but maybe they'll realise how much you want to be on the Bailey if you take the time to call and ask. Nonetheless, ppl say you'll end up liking your college even if it wasn't your first choice. There's hopefully some truth in that seeing as so many people say it


I just feel like people who say that you'll end up liking your college are for people who are a lot more flexible and less picky/dead-set than me hahaha. I genuinely don't see myself enjoying mildert at all. It offers none of the things I'm interested in, is ages away of where I'll be most the time, and it visually makes me want to throw up (although obviously looks aren't all that matters).

I'm pretty sure they just move people who are in oversubscribed colleges - mildert isn't one (shocker!). Either way I've emailed the admissions team at Chad's since it's an independent college asking very nicely about how choral scholarships work for people who've been allocated elsewhere and whether there's any chances of reallocation.

I hate that this has got me so upset since bc it makes me feel like SUCH an entitled ****, but I just genuinely feel like my experience at durham would be so much worse were I to go to mildert...
Reply 3
I think you can audition for a choir without being a member of that college, so that would give you the choir experience you seek and I suspect you may be entitled to attend formal dinner if it takes place after a choir commitment.

After the first year, you can be in a house anywhere you like in Durham, so it is a very short term issue.

It is definitely not the end of the world. There will be people studying the full range of subjects in Van MIldert with a wide range of interests. There is no need to think you will have a terrible time.

If you take a year out, you would need to withdraw from your offer and re-apply; otherwise the college allocation carries over from this year. There is no guarantee that you would get an offer next year and even if you did, it would not mean that you would necessarily get a Bailey college.

In your shoes, I think I would check that I was happy with the course etc and then spend my energies finding positives about Van Mildert. If there isn't one already, you could start a thread for offer holders and maybe start to find some people that sound like they might share your interests.

There will be lots of things about going to Uni which will be different and challenging. With an open mind, you may find that you enjoy it more than you think and if not, hold on to the relative shortness of the terms and the speed at which you will be looking for a student house to rent for your second year.

Best of luck!
First of all of course this isn’t the end of your life - at most it’s a minor blip along what will hopefully be a very long road!

A quick google would suggest that VM has a choir and many other music opportunities/ practice rooms / grand piano etc. Durham states explicitly they do not change allocations unless on medical grounds. I mean this gently but rather than focussing on not getting Chads why not contact Mildert to explore their music options?

Also even if your department is based at say Elvert many lectures may be on the science site / T&LC.
Reply 5
Original post by Edna C
I think you can audition for a choir without being a member of that college, so that would give you the choir experience you seek and I suspect you may be entitled to attend formal dinner if it takes place after a choir commitment.

After the first year, you can be in a house anywhere you like in Durham, so it is a very short term issue.

It is definitely not the end of the world. There will be people studying the full range of subjects in Van MIldert with a wide range of interests. There is no need to think you will have a terrible time.

If you take a year out, you would need to withdraw from your offer and re-apply; otherwise the college allocation carries over from this year. There is no guarantee that you would get an offer next year and even if you did, it would not mean that you would necessarily get a Bailey college.

In your shoes, I think I would check that I was happy with the course etc and then spend my energies finding positives about Van Mildert. If there isn't one already, you could start a thread for offer holders and maybe start to find some people that sound like they might share your interests.

There will be lots of things about going to Uni which will be different and challenging. With an open mind, you may find that you enjoy it more than you think and if not, hold on to the relative shortness of the terms and the speed at which you will be looking for a student house to rent for your second year.

Best of luck!


Thank you! I guess I just idolised the idea of getting really close to my roommates at a bailey college and living with them second and third year (maybe i've been watching too much of jack edwards's own experience?) and for whatever reason i feel like that won't happen at mildert. i know that makes no sense, but i just feel like the people that will have chosen mildert as one of their top priority colleges will likely be more sporty/sciencey than me.

actually SO annoyed about how i ranked the college, i was so dumb about it. my first 7 were very oversubscribed colleges and then it was van mildert. in hindsight, it was obvious i was going to get allocated mildert - especially since i'm applying for english which seems to be a v popular course for the bailey/traditional colleges... i wish i would've done chads/marys/johns or something a bit smarter. i'm so desperate i would've even applied to hatfield as my first choice...

to be honest though, i think i'm just in a negative headspace/rut about it and i need to face the fact that mildert is where i'll likely be next year whether i like it or not.
Reply 6
Original post by Anonymous
First of all of course this isn’t the end of your life - at most it’s a minor blip along what will hopefully be a very long road!

A quick google would suggest that VM has a choir and many other music opportunities/ practice rooms / grand piano etc. Durham states explicitly they do not change allocations unless on medical grounds. I mean this gently but rather than focussing on not getting Chads why not contact Mildert to explore their music options?

Also even if your department is based at say Elvert many lectures may be on the science site / T&LC.

nop, and even if they were that would be like once in a blue moon - so not really a positive to living so far away.

i'm aware mildert has a choir - key word here was "chapel" though. they don't offer or have a chapel (and so do not have a chapel choir) and their college choir is "unauditioned and open to everyone" which is very much not my scene. entirely different to what i meant in my original post - sorry if that wasn't clear.

i do agree i need to shift my perception and current mindset because it will not get me anywhere, but i just can't help moping and feeling really apathetic about mildert, it's just so the opposite of what i wanted from a college. again, it's whatever. i'm sure i'll get over it, i'm just feeling incredibly :/// about uni in general now (which is SO stupid, i get it lol, but i cant help feeling like this)
Reply 7
Original post by Anonymous
Thank you! I guess I just idolised the idea of getting really close to my roommates at a bailey college and living with them second and third year (maybe i've been watching too much of jack edwards's own experience?) and for whatever reason i feel like that won't happen at mildert. i know that makes no sense, but i just feel like the people that will have chosen mildert as one of their top priority colleges will likely be more sporty/sciencey than me.

actually SO annoyed about how i ranked the college, i was so dumb about it. my first 7 were very oversubscribed colleges and then it was van mildert. in hindsight, it was obvious i was going to get allocated mildert - especially since i'm applying for english which seems to be a v popular course for the bailey/traditional colleges... i wish i would've done chads/marys/johns or something a bit smarter. i'm so desperate i would've even applied to hatfield as my first choice...

to be honest though, i think i'm just in a negative headspace/rut about it and i need to face the fact that mildert is where i'll likely be next year whether i like it or not.


Out of interest, what were your first six ranked colleges? Might be useful for others thinking about ranking strategies in the future.

As for your current situation, there will definitely be others doing your subject in your college; they ensure that there is a spread. I know you are concerned about science bias in VM, but there will be other English students and others doing humanities. Besides this, please don’t assume you won’t get on with scientists; many gifted musicians happen to study science subjects.

You can audition for one of the chapel choirs too which will increase your friendship base and enhance your experience at Durham.

I think you will make friends from your course, your college, a choir (if you join one) and any other societies that appeal. I am certain you will find your people. Please try not to worry.
(edited 9 months ago)
My advise is if you feel hesitant, do not go.
Original post by random_matt
My advise is if you feel hesitant, do not go.


And do what instead?
Original post by Anonymous
And do what instead?


Reapply next year and include other choices you would also be happy to go to.
The reason why a gap year may benefit you is to broaden your mind and provide some life experience. It was disconcerting to read the comment 'people more similar to me'. I expect your post was written in the 'heat of the moment' but it shows you are experiencing some nerves about the move to uni.

Also, a gap year may help you to move beyond being upset about superficial aspects such as the appearance of a college.

It is normal to have dreams and be disappointed when real life turns out to be different but think how boring life would be if everything went as expected and there was nothing to stretch and challenge you.

Congratulations on receiving your offer from Durham Uni and I hope your exams go well.
Original post by random_matt
Reapply next year and include other choices you would also be happy to go to.


That’s only good advice if the OP would not be devastated if they then didn’t get an offer next year and if they also had useful things to do in their gap year.

Even if they did get offered a place, there is no guarantee that they would get a Bailey college as there is an element of random allocation in the initial ranking of applicants. If this would then not bother them, that’s fine, but if it would feel like a waste of a year to be no further forward, the risk should be considered.
Original post by Anonymous
That’s only good advice if the OP would not be devastated if they then didn’t get an offer next year and if they also had useful things to do in their gap year.

Even if they did get offered a place, there is no guarantee that they would get a Bailey college as there is an element of random allocation in the initial ranking of applicants. If this would then not bother them, that’s fine, but if it would feel like a waste of a year to be no further forward, the risk should be considered.


Sorry, if the college allocation bothered them that much, then they should not apply full stop. However, if they want to play the lottery again then they will need to reapply. They should apply to a non-collegiate university, if they cannot do that then go find a job.
It’s not accurate to say that people in chads will be “more like me” ALL colleges contain students doing ALL subjects so they will all contain people like you.

Durham is small it is no distance from the Bailey to VM so saying VM is too far from your subject is just silly really.

If VM choir is not to your liking there is the DU chapel choir.

Kindly it’s time to get over it. Having a fantasy that your room mate will be your best friend etc etc is just setting yourself up for disaster. Nothing is perfect, life is full of bumps and it is important to learn to ride these bumps. Even if you were allocated Chads / Castle / Hatfield / Johns / Cuths which I’m assuming were your preferred colleges you could be reallocated in August.

If it’s Chads or nothing is then your best option is probable to go to one of your other Uni offers. But really saying VM won’t have people like you is just ridiculous!
Original post by Anonymous
Yes. I know this sounds incredibly dramatic, entitled, idiotic, etc. But I've genuinely lost all my interest in going to Durham after the college allocation process. I know that it's only for the first year, and I know I'll meet people elsewhere, but I was so unbelievably interested in the collegiate system and being part of my college community, only for that all to dissipate after being allocated to Van Mildert.

I'm SURE it's a great college - do not misunderstand me - it's just not what I was looking for. I was really hoping to live on the Bailey since it seemed like an amazing opportunity since I obviously wouldn't get the chance to live there for my other years of uni, and I loved the idea of living so centrally. Joining a collegiate chapel choir, gowned formals, and living in such a nice looking college were all things I've idolised and I just really feel apprehensive about attending any other college, especially Mildert.

I just don't know how much I'd enjoy durham being 20 minutes away from my subject department (instead of only a 5 minute walk at Chad's - which was also a 4 minute walk from Waterstones), and not having access to all the opportunities offered at Chad's.

I know putting my entire life on hold for a year for the CHANCE to get another college is an idiotic thing to do (I probably won't, especially as it's likely the same thing would happen again) but I'm just so against the idea of attending Mildert over Chad's. The facilities are nicer at Chad's, they have gowned formals, they have a chapel choir, they're way closer to my subject department, it's a way nicer looking college, people more similar to me, etc etc.

I guess what I'm trying to say is - can someone convince me this isn't actually the end of my life...

Hiya

I'm sorry you're feeling this way and I understand where you're coming from, but trust me when I say this- your opinions of colleges as a prospective student changes a lot once you actually start studying at Durham. When I was in your position, I always thought South was the perfect college for me and I never really opened myself up to any other ones; but coming here and exploring the other colleges made me realise that all of them have something good of their own and there wouldn't be any college where I would dread living.

When you say people at Chads will more be 'your type', I think that's a false belief. One, you don't know everyone who's going to either Chads or Van Mildert. Two, it's true that Chads is closer to your department, but all colleges have a fair share of students from all departments so Chads will also have science-y students, as much as VM will have students from your department. As for chapel choirs, you can join the one at Chads without needing to be a Chads student. In fact, that's true for all colleges that have chapel choirs- you can find more info here. You can also attend gowned formals at other colleges if you have a friend there.

When it comes to the prospect of meeting people who you'll potentially get a house with for 2nd and 3rd years, students from literally all colleges do that so I don't think that's something bespoke to Chads. You will find your people, no matter what college you go to. In fact I'd say it's more likely for it to happen at VM because it's bigger so you're not restricted to a small group. I can't help with you thinking that VM has an ugly building, but I personally don't agree with you. Ultimately you're only going to be there for about 6 months because the rest goes away in Christmas, easter and summer breaks so don't let the looks of the building put you off.

I'm not sure if this has been helpful at all, but I do hope you're able to put yourself at ease about this college decision. I know it seems hard right now but it's really not going to matter once you're here and a year from now, you'll probably be thinking how much time you wasted thinking about this for no reason. If you wanna have a chat, feel free to reply below or send a PM :smile:

-Himieka
Original post by Anonymous
Yes. I know this sounds incredibly dramatic, entitled, idiotic, etc. But I've genuinely lost all my interest in going to Durham after the college allocation process. I know that it's only for the first year, and I know I'll meet people elsewhere, but I was so unbelievably interested in the collegiate system and being part of my college community, only for that all to dissipate after being allocated to Van Mildert.

I'm SURE it's a great college - do not misunderstand me - it's just not what I was looking for. I was really hoping to live on the Bailey since it seemed like an amazing opportunity since I obviously wouldn't get the chance to live there for my other years of uni, and I loved the idea of living so centrally. Joining a collegiate chapel choir, gowned formals, and living in such a nice looking college were all things I've idolised and I just really feel apprehensive about attending any other college, especially Mildert.

I just don't know how much I'd enjoy durham being 20 minutes away from my subject department (instead of only a 5 minute walk at Chad's - which was also a 4 minute walk from Waterstones), and not having access to all the opportunities offered at Chad's.

I know putting my entire life on hold for a year for the CHANCE to get another college is an idiotic thing to do (I probably won't, especially as it's likely the same thing would happen again) but I'm just so against the idea of attending Mildert over Chad's. The facilities are nicer at Chad's, they have gowned formals, they have a chapel choir, they're way closer to my subject department, it's a way nicer looking college, people more similar to me, etc etc.

I guess what I'm trying to say is - can someone convince me this isn't actually the end of my life...

Hi there

I'm sorry you are feeling this way at the moment. It is completely up to you to do what you think is best and whether the best option for you is to take a gap year/reapply. I would definitely recommend checking out the UCAS website to get some more information on taking a gap year to help you decide. It also lists a number of things that you can do during your gap year such as get work experience, volunteer, travel etc. Best of luck with your decision!

UCAS - https://www.ucas.com/undergraduate/student-life/gap-year/gap-years-ideas-and-things-think-about

Best wishes

Joanna
-Uni of Kent Rep
Reply 17
Original post by Edna C
Out of interest, what were your first six ranked colleges? Might be useful for others thinking about ranking strategies in the future.

As for your current situation, there will definitely be others doing your subject in your college; they ensure that there is a spread. I know you are concerned about science bias in VM, but there will be other English students and others doing humanities. Besides this, please don’t assume you won’t get on with scientists; many gifted musicians happen to study science subjects.

You can audition for one of the chapel choirs too which will increase your friendship base and enhance your experience at Durham.

I think you will make friends from your course, your college, a choir (if you join one) and any other societies that appeal. I am certain you will find your people. Please try not to worry.


Chads
Cuths
Marys
Johns
Castle
Hatfield
Collingwood
Van Mildert
Trevs
Reply 18
Original post by Durham Students
Hiya

I'm sorry you're feeling this way and I understand where you're coming from, but trust me when I say this- your opinions of colleges as a prospective student changes a lot once you actually start studying at Durham. When I was in your position, I always thought South was the perfect college for me and I never really opened myself up to any other ones; but coming here and exploring the other colleges made me realise that all of them have something good of their own and there wouldn't be any college where I would dread living.

When you say people at Chads will more be 'your type', I think that's a false belief. One, you don't know everyone who's going to either Chads or Van Mildert. Two, it's true that Chads is closer to your department, but all colleges have a fair share of students from all departments so Chads will also have science-y students, as much as VM will have students from your department. As for chapel choirs, you can join the one at Chads without needing to be a Chads student. In fact, that's true for all colleges that have chapel choirs- you can find more info here. You can also attend gowned formals at other colleges if you have a friend there.

When it comes to the prospect of meeting people who you'll potentially get a house with for 2nd and 3rd years, students from literally all colleges do that so I don't think that's something bespoke to Chads. You will find your people, no matter what college you go to. In fact I'd say it's more likely for it to happen at VM because it's bigger so you're not restricted to a small group. I can't help with you thinking that VM has an ugly building, but I personally don't agree with you. Ultimately you're only going to be there for about 6 months because the rest goes away in Christmas, easter and summer breaks so don't let the looks of the building put you off.

I'm not sure if this has been helpful at all, but I do hope you're able to put yourself at ease about this college decision. I know it seems hard right now but it's really not going to matter once you're here and a year from now, you'll probably be thinking how much time you wasted thinking about this for no reason. If you wanna have a chat, feel free to reply below or send a PM :smile:

-Himieka


Thanks so much for your response. I'm definitely self-aware abt how I'm feeling is really idiotic and my conceptions of mildert are entirely untrue, but I was talking to a friend I have who's a first year at trevs who had a similar experience to me. She said she totally understood what I was feeling since exam stress makes us all a little crazy and for her (as well as for me) the idyllic and perfect perception of a bailey college was something she idolised to get herself through such a difficult time, which is defo what I think I did too.

Ahhhhh. I just wish I wouldn't have idolised Chads so much to save myself of such idiotic and unnecessary sadness hahahaha, but it is what it is. I wanted a traditional, smaller college experience and I'm getting something else instead - that's fine. I think it's time I face up to reality and start embracing it, however difficult that may be lol :frown:

Also quick question because I think I remember you saying you studied law on another thread?? Are there many future PGDL students and opportunities to help them in applying for vacation schemes + training contracts applications? I saw there was a society which helped students in achieving 'commercial awareness' which looks really helpful!
Reply 19
Just to add - for anyone in the future who might see this - definitely be smart about your allocation choices. Have an 'aspirational' first choice, and be smart and choose one which isn't actually your second choice, but one which you have a decent chance of getting into. Instead of putting Cuths second (as an english student - which I think reduced my chances of getting in) I definitely might have put Collingwood or Marys second - I might have even sacrificed Chads and put Johns (or hatfield...) first! It's all about playing the game of the allocation process, which I definitely didn't do. Keep in mind what subject you do and whether that will help/hurt your chances of getting a good allocated college. Of course, you might get lucky unlike me, but avoid thinking "oh that won't happen to me lol" because I thought the same and I got allocated to my eighth choice...

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