Find out what life is really like at Durham University

I study for an Integrated Master’s in Chemistry, currently in my 4th and final year and I’m a member of Grey College. My two favourite things about my college are; the amazing proximity of the college to the science site, and since I became a liver out (not living in college) the friends I made whilst there, they are my best friends to this day! I’m going to tell you about a typical day for me….

My typical day

My first alarm goes at 8 am. That’s swiftly ignored. The second one blares at 8:15 and is met with a firm press of the snooze button. Then, when it comes back around after 8 minutes, I get out of bed and cancel the 8:30 alarm before it has the chance to scare me later. I chug about half a litre of water! I’m often parched in the morning, plus I take my ADHD medication and a multivitamin. It’s good to start the day hydrated!

With online learning, things are very different this year. Before the pandemic, I was a returning customer of the Chemistry Café. The food is great, it’s close (literally the same building) to lectures, and I could always count on being able to find someone I know to hang out with there. That includes people in other year groups and lecturers! At home, I try my best to start work at 9 am after a shower and breakfast, but it’s not uncommon for me to start nearer to 10 am. My room has a nice large desk with all my resources on shelves above it and a very comfortable chair, so it gets me in the zone.

On the days when I don’t have a live lecture, I’ll watch one or two pre-recorded lectures and make good notes on them. As a break between them, I do admin such as emails. That takes me up to around lunchtime where I try to make the effort to cook something nice. Then, in the afternoon, I juggle more lectures and also reading for my research project. That makes for a busy afternoon, but I take a break halfway through to do some exercise with the game Ring Fit Adventure!

About to do some exercise with the game Ring Fit Adventure

After that, it’s a quick dinner in time for my society meeting in the evening! As the President of the Durham University Pokémon Society, I, and the rest of the exec (Durham slang for student group leaders), host virtual events to keep our members entertained and socialising through this strange year.

Monday nights are board game nights in my house. Tuesday nights it’s Pokémon Society. Throughout the week I stay in touch with my family via the internet. Fridays and weekends are then free for my housemate and I to watch anime or play games. It’s not rare for the rest of the house to join when we play Smash Bros. or Heave Ho!, and those can take us into the early hours if we’re not careful!

I’m passionate about video games. I have a collection of about 250 games across 7 devices and I follow the news and latest developments in the video games industry. If I’m not playing games, I’m either listening to the History of Egypt podcast, watching an anime, The Crown, or reading books known for their controversy. Think HP Lovecraft, Perfume, Lolita, that kind of thing.

Just a few of my books and games

Once it’s time for bed, I gradually work my way from intense games on my consoles to more casual mobile games and eventually to a sleep podcast. It takes a lot of effort to trick my mind into sleep!

How much work I have each day really depends on contact hours, committee meetings, and how much time I get to devote to project work. Most weeks I do stay on top of things by getting a few hours of work in during at least one day of the weekend.

Getting involved

It’s my second year as my year group’s representative on the Department of Chemistry’s Staff-Student Consultative Committee, and my first year as the Undergraduate Representative to the Board of Studies in Chemistry. Student communication is more important than ever this year with online learning.

Another thing I greatly enjoy is communicating science to others. The department has a very active Chemistry Scouts and Guides group for whom I have volunteered many times and I also got to help out at our very own local Celebrate Science Festival.

Find out more

About the Department of Chemistry.

Download our latest prospectus here.

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Paul Timothy Davis

Hi, I'm in my fourth year studying MChem (Integrated Masters) I'm from El Salvador / Canada / United Kingdom (yes, it’s confusing for me too) and I'm a member of Grey College.
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