Find out what life is really like at Durham University

Durham CityStudent experience

Staying in Durham… and staying in

Life in Durham is a bit strange at the moment, to say the least. I’ve decided not to return home to London, which means that for the foreseeable future, most of my time will be spent in my single-story house in Durham with the three housemates who’ve also chosen to stay. It sounds like a recipe for going stir-crazy, but I’ve discovered that sticking to these simple goals is helping to keep me sane.

Getting fresh air

Durham has some pretty stunning natural beauty. I’ve been trying to get out of the house once every day for an early morning run or walk, discovering new riverside paths or woodland trails – there’s hardly anyone about at this time, it suits social distancing perfectly! This is my one venture outside each day, I feel like I’ve gotten plenty of exercise and fresh air, which stops me feeling restless later in the day. If I can’t get out of the house, which for many will be the case, I open the windows in my room for a nice cool breeze and try to sit somewhere I can get lots of natural light.

Eating nutritious, delicious food

Usually, I like to work in the library, which would mean packing a quick lunch the night before or blending a smoothie to grab and go in the morning. But spending the day at home gives me plenty of time to get creative in the kitchen! Supporting local businesses is really important at a time like this, so I’ve been buying my fruit and veg from the traders in Durham Market Hall. Note – this was before the stricter restrictions advised on 23rd March, it is now no longer open but they have a phone delivery service, more info here. I intend to shop there as soon as it is open again to support the local business owners, I encourage you to do the same. I picked up the most incredible sundried tomato bread from the outdoor market last Saturday which I’ve been using for my lunches. I’m also looking forward to baking some sweet treats over the next few weeks so I got a few baking bits and pieces in – you’ve gotta feed your soul, too!

Doing my degree

Not the most exciting goal as that is why I’m here, but sitting down to work on my dissertation really helps to give me a semblance of normality, and makes me feel like I’m working towards something rather than aimlessly whiling away my days.

…but not just doing my degree!

‘Social distancing’ doesn’t mean, no socialising, and as well as movie nights with my housemates, I’ve been video-calling family and friends so that we can stay close virtually, if not physically. I’m even sending letters to some of my friends, since I’m trying to cut down on my screen-time, and writing is a great way to pass the time when I get bored. I’ve also found myself finally having time to do some non-degree related reading: on my bedside table at the moment is ‘The Secret Lives of Colour’ (did you know blue used to be associated with girls and pink with boys? Crazy.)

Most of the part-time work I would’ve had over the Easter break has of course been cancelled – but along with some other student ambassadors, I’ll be set helping with virtual Post-Offer Visit Days and finding a way to chat to prospective students (since the visit days are no longer taking place). I’m really excited to answer lots of questions about Durham, and that’ll definitely keep me occupied over the break (as well as blogging, of course!)

If you’re wondering what it’s normally like in Durham, read other blogs and watch vlogs on this site. Our brand new 2021 Prospectus is out now and the digital version is brilliant as it links off to loads of extra info from students – order yours here.

I hope you’re safe and well wherever you are, and stay tuned for more updates from a slightly quieter Durham!

Sunita Ramani

Hi, I’m Sunita – a third-year English Literature student at Castle. I thrive off taking on a dangerous number of extra-curricular activities, so when I’m not creating decorations for our termly college balls, you might find me in my food element as President of the Vegetarian and Vegan Society, mentoring secondary school students across the North East, or dishing out tea and biscuits as a Welfare Officer (to name only a few!)
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