Find out what life is really like at Durham University

DepartmentsStudent experience

Day in the life of a second-year Psychology student

University life is unpredictable and it’s safe to say that no two days are the same. My time at Durham generally consists of rushing between lectures, work, college, and my house. I wake up at around 6:45 on most days, but admittedly I will push this back as far as I can if I have been working the night before or don’t have a 9 am. Snoozing for 45 minutes has become part of my daily routine and is something I will be working on in 2020!

No matter if it means rushing, I will always have breakfast before I properly start my day. I’m really not one of those people who can skip it and I’m baffled as to how people can wait until lunch before eating. My breakfasts are very boring: a simple cup of tea and a slice of toast to fuel my morning. Luckily this term I only had one 9 am lecture each week, with the rest of my lectures, practicals, and tutorials taking place in the afternoon. Living in the viaduct means it takes me around 20-25 minutes to walk to the science site, with an extra 5 minutes if I have to walk up the dreaded Cardiac Hill. I really didn’t realise how lucky I was last year when I lived in College and only had to walk through Grey College to reach the Psychology Department, compared to this year when I arrive there unable to breathe and hyper-aware of my poor fitness!

Dotted around my lectures I try to fit in time for ‘Participant Pool’ experiments. In Psychology we have a ‘Participant Pool’ system, meaning that over First and Second Year we have to do 20 hours of other students’ experiments and log these in order for us to be able to do our own research in our Final Year. These experiments generally last 20-60 minutes and can vary from being online surveys that can be completed anywhere to computer-based tasks that have to be completed under the supervision of the experimenter.

About 2-3 times a week you’ll find me working at the DSU as part of the commercial staff team. My shifts are usually around 4-6 hours long and are spread between the Riverside Bar/Café, Kingsgate Café, and the Nightbus. I think of the Nightbus shift as a ‘night out but not a night out’ shift, as it is 9 pm – 2 am (roughly the timing of a night out), makes me struggle to wake up the next day because I am exhausted, and I leave the house at around the same time my friends are getting ready to pre, depressingly.

I do College Cheer and am on the all-girls Main Team and the new Pom Team. We practice a few times a week, and as I am the Treasurer for the team this term I ordered our stash (featuring exciting ¼ zips for the first time) and will be ordering our competition bows and uniforms over the Christmas break.

As far as meals go, I will either pack a lunch to take with me if I’m busy or come back to the house for lunch if there’s time. For dinner, I either cook something fairly easy in reflection of my basic cooking abilities or I’ll have popped something in my mini slow-cooker earlier in the day. This is great because it saves time and means I can come back to a hot meal when I’m done for the day.

If I have a free evening it’ll be spent either hanging out with friends, watching Netflix, or face timing my boyfriend, who unfortunately goes to a different university 250 miles away!

Thank you so much for reading this insight into my life at Durham, I hope you enjoyed it!

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Amelia Findlay

Hi! I’m Amelia, a Second-Year Psychology Student at Van Mildert. You’ll most likely find me between lectures on the science site, working at the DSU, training for Mildert Cheer, or on Instagram @ameliafindlay.
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