“Try something new.” It’s the mantra most people hear from their friends and family before they go off to university for the first time. As cliché as it sounds, it really is the best thing you can do. Ask almost anyone at Durham and they’ll likely tell you they tried something new when they were a fresher or at some point during their time at university. Chances are they probably don’t regret it either.
No-one is asking you to join DU water polo if you’re allergic to chlorine or mooting society if the thought of standing up and arguing about the law makes you come out in a similarly uncomfortable rash, but you should give something new a go. You might not enjoy a society or club once you have been to the first session or social and that’s ok, you don’t have to go back. You might also love it after five minutes and make some friends who make your entire Durham experience incredible. There’s also the possibility that the first session may not grab you, but might improve if you persevere; the choice is yours.
If you’re coming to Durham with specific talents and already know what hobbies you’re going to do at university, that’s great. I don’t think that should stop you going to the Fresher’s Fair and finding out about what else you can get involved in though. You never know what little extras and social activities can add to your life on top of singing, running around Durham ‘assassinating’ people or playing your favourite sport.
I say all this because I wish I’d taken my own advice. I played basketball during my first year, which was fun but it was only in second year that I really pushed myself out of my comfort zone and started Hatfield Women’s rugby, something completely new. I never would’ve dreamed that one year later I’d be co-captaining the Hatfield team (girls, seriously do try it out) and as you read this be taking part in DU rugby pre-season. I’ve met some of my best friends playing rugby and am very glad I went along to a training session one cold November night last year. So don’t let anything in Durham put you off; the weather, the risk of missing college meals or the pull of Klute/Jimmys instead.
The point is, it’s never too early or too late to try something new. Push yourself out of your comfort zone this year, because that’s when all the fun happens.
Good luck and enjoy ☺
Phoebe Smithdale, 3rd Year Law