Another year, another new load of fresher’s – the first hurdle: freshers’ week. Each college has their own traditions but they do stay pretty similar unless you are of course at Hatfield and are woken up at 7 am every day with the clattering of pots and pans, and that isn’t from the kitchen making breakfast!
Freshers’ Week, as daunting as it may be, is a great way to meet new people and to get to grips with college and university life. The best advice would be to get involved! Each college provides something that every student can find to suit them, whether that be in the form of clubs, societies, events, the bar, academia and much more. Use induction week as your way to explore what your college has and begin to find your footing – I’m sure it won’t take you long!
To calm your nerves let’s explain what Freshers’ week may be like for you. Firstly, on arrival you will be greeted by your Fresher reps (Freps), these are students from your college in second, third or fourth years, they know exactly what it is like to be in your position. Your college Freps will give you a very warm welcome and will help you move into your room, get you settled and help you complete items on your checklist. They really are super helpful and friendly and are always happy to help so do not hesitate to ask them anything. The day is yours to get unpacked and mix with your corridor/roommate – if you find you have nothing to do then there will always be a chill-out area, usually the college bar where you can chill and chat.
When evening settles, most colleges start the night off with a formal, an important part of your time at Durham where you get to eat with your fellow students and other members of the college, depending which college you are at you may get the opportunity to wear gowns, in true Harry Potter style! The night will continue with an event organised by your college, such as a White T-shirt Party, Full Moon Party or fancy dress nights (tip – bring all your fancy dress to uni, it really is useful!) and of course there’s always the infamous Klute nightclub (once voted the worst in Europe, so you have to visit!). If this isn’t your thing though, don’t worry, every college has other options available like a film night or game night in the common room or tea, toast and chill. Your night is what you make of it, there’s something for everyone.
All week the Freps will continue to be there to help you, there are various information sessions, the Fresher’s Fair and College fair are where you are able to sign up to clubs and societies. Don’t worry about remembering all this as you can work out your personal schedule, including talks from your academic department, library tours and college events on your personal induction planner which is on the welcome and induction webpages.
One of the main parts of fresher’s week is Matriculation – this is absolutely compulsory and makes you an official member of Durham University, this takes place in the magnificent Cathedral, it is truly magical.
Another part of Freshers’ week that is very unique to Durham is meeting your college parents and siblings. Your college ‘parents’ are second years who are given ‘children’ who do a similar academic course to them and they are great at supporting you throughout your entire time at University. During the week, there will be a night called ‘Parenting Night’, whereby your parents take you and your family somewhere to get to know you better.
There really is nothing to worry about, your College will give you THE best welcome. If you still want to know more about Fresher’s week read Lizzies blogs about her experience.