Find out what life is really like at Durham University

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A day in the life of a Sociology student

College life

I love Collingwood! The facilities are incredible, and the people are even better. Everyone I’ve met from Collingwood has been so nice and helped me feel welcome to the UK coming from the US. Since year one, I’ve been involved in the Collingwood Women’s Football Club, and I’ve made some of my best friends and memories through the team. The entire football club is amazing and dedicated to connecting to the local community. We’ve put on 24-hour football charity events, charity balls, and partnered with local youth teams to host various tournaments and camps.

I started working in the Collingwood bar during my first year, and it’s definitely been one of my favourite things I’ve done. Everyone on the staff is incredible, and I look forward to shifts just because I get to spend time with them. It’s been the perfect job because it only requires a few shifts every week and is very flexible to fit my schedule.

A short tour of Collingwood

I’ve also been involved in a few volunteer projects around Durham through DUSVO. One project I got involved in first year was residential dog walking where I’d go every week to walk the dog of someone in the local community. The project itself ended, but I’ve managed to stay close with one of the families, and we have regular facetime check-ins every few weeks since lockdown began.

Lockdown – studying and socialising

Covid has obviously changed day-to-day life on campus, but this year I’ve been very fortunate to live in a house with five other close friends. Usually, I get up around 8am and have breakfast. Some days I’ll go on a walk or run around the river when it’s sunny and not too cold, which honestly, thankfully, happens way more often than I was expecting coming to the North East of England. Otherwise, I’ll do a yoga flow or short core workout in the 3x5ft space in my room.

Usually, I do work at my desk in my room, but some days when I’m feeling particularly unmotivated, I will book a slot at the library to force myself into the right attitude to get work done. Sociology is a course geared towards independent study, so I’ll typically only have a few contact hours throughout the week. However, I’ll spend some time reading, listening to lectures, and doing seminar prep each day. After that, I try my best to get work done on my dissertation or any upcoming assignments.

Since being at Durham, I’ve played for both the uni and my college football teams, so that has been a primary source of socialization for me. I’ve made so many wonderful friends from football that I still talk to even though we can’t play right now because of Covid. I’ve also made a few friends through my course, some of whom I met on the first day of orientation in the first year, that I still keep up with.

Obviously, I haven’t really been anywhere outside the confines of my house in recent months, but pre-lockdown I rarely spent the whole day at home. Durham has a lot of really great cafes and restaurants around town. I love to do work in the Library Bar in town as well as in the Student Union café. They always have fun music and a mix of people doing work and socializing which helps me feel more productive. My housemates and I also love the Victoria Inn pub right by our house and the Swan on sunny days. We can’t wait until we can go back again!

I love going on walks and exploring Durham, which thankfully is one of the few activities that’s permitted in Covid times. I also started the process of making my own kombucha and cooking more than I have in the past. I love watching a good true crime documentary or stand-up comedy special on Netflix. I also really like to craft and paint, so I’ll spend time trying to be creative to beat back the monotony of days in lockdown with these activities.

There are lovely walks around the river

Brighter times ahead

At the moment all of my days look very similar. My workload varies as my weeks alternate from having four seminars one week and none the next. However, it’s always been very manageable, and the department staff has been incredibly supportive throughout. The weekends don’t really look all too much different from the weekdays. That being said, my housemates and I try and think of new fun things to do together such as having house dinners and themed nights in.

In years past, my weeks varied quite a bit, I definitely enjoyed that a lot because there was always something new and interesting to look forward to. The train station in town means that travel to other cities has been easy and accessible, which has been one of the highlights of my time at Durham. It’s such a shame that this year has been so disrupted because of Covid, but I’m so lucky and fortunate to live with such close friends so we can get through it together.

Find out more

About the Department of Sociology

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Olivia Parsons

I am from the USA and in my third year studying Sociology. I’m in Collingwood college which is objectively the best college in Durham!
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