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A day in the life of a History student

Durham univesrity college fancy dress

Hey there! I’m Jess Lord – a second-year history student from Josephine Butler College! I love living in Durham and studying history – I particularly enjoy international history, which the Durham history department is fab for – this year I’m doing Japanese and American history courses!

Frepping fun…..

Freashers week

I love getting involved at college, I’m currently JCR vice-chair and this year I was a frep (‘fresher rep’) which was a lot of work – but also a lot of fun! Getting to know the freshers was great, and helping to guide them through freshers week was a really rewarding experience (although the lack of sleep was pretty challenging at times!)

Anyway… it’s a bit tricky to do a ‘day in the life’ of a historian (as we don’t have a jam-packed academic timetable like the scientists amongst us!) – So I’m going to try and explain some of the things I get up to over the week…

Most days I have a lecture in the morning (normally mid-morning, we historians don’t really like getting up early!). Sometimes I also have a seminar too (smaller groups, more discussion-based) – but these are more irregular, whereas lectures are weekly. This term I’m really enjoying my module on Robin Hood in particular – the lecturer is fantastic, and the content is so interesting! I didn’t realise there were so many possible candidates for the real ‘Robin Hood’.

College family…

As my contact hours are pretty limited, I tend to enjoy travelling around the many coffee shops of Durham in my free time. This week I met up with my college wife (yes that is a genuine thing!) for coffee and cake at ‘Tealicious’ and we planned our next family gathering together (we have four college children between us – freshers who are also studying history!). Durham is full of great little coffee shops and tea-rooms, and three years is just enough time to experience them all…just! Check out my other blog about the coffee shops of Durham. 

About once a week I do a shift in JBs at college – as Butler is a self-catered college, we have a small kitchen serving lunch and dinner throughout the week for when livers-in want something a bit different, or simply can’t be bothered to cook! My shift is normally about four hours, and it’s fairly relaxed – it’s nice to chat with other students whilst you are also earning a little bit of extra money!

Variety is the spice of life….


Some of the other things I’m involved in include 1:1 tutoring with the SCA on a weeknight (a voluntary scheme, helping young people from local schools with GCSEs and A-Levels), JCR meetings twice a term, and occasional visits to the Union Society on a Friday night if they have a good speaker or interesting debate! Formals also happen a few times a term – I went to a fantastic one on Halloween, it was fancy dress and everyone made such an effort, it was a really great night!

That’s what I love about university and what I love about my course… no two days are the same – some days you’ll do a seven hour stretch in the library and finish an enormous essay (and then head home and eat lots of ice cream), whereas other days I’ll have a lecture, seminar, a few meetings at college, work, and then meet up with friends for dinner or drinks – no two days are ever the same!

Anyway… that’s all for now, a little about me and a little about what I get up to – you’ll be hearing lots more from me so don’t worry!

Jessica Lord

Hello! I'm Jess! from Josephine Butler College, I've just graduated with a History degree. I loved my degree because it was so wide-ranging, my modules varied from Japanese political culture - to a study of Robin Hood! I got really involved in college life, I was the elected Services Officer and I 'frepped' (fresher rep) during freshers week! I love Durham (not just for its many coffee shops!) and choosing to study here was most definitely been the right decision.

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