It’s fair to say that when I first came to Durham and to Hatfield I had no idea what to expect. There were some things though, which were more predictable than others. In this blog post I’m going to have a light-hearted look back upon the things I couldn’t have expected from my first year, and what I would have said to myself at the start of the year…

1. You will create some very interesting memories in the dining hall
Phones are infamously banned in the Hatfield dining hall, meaning the dreaded concept of human interaction is pretty much unavoidable. It could be that you will have that one formal you remember forever for all the right or wrong reasons, it could be that you have an encounter with the infamous catering manager – Daryl – who you will no doubt become familiar with during your time in Hatfield, or it could just be something hilarious you and your new-found friends discuss over dinner, the dining hall will become a central hub to many parts of your Hatfield life. 

Dining Hall

2. You’ll make trips to Tesco far more often than you think you will
With Tesco but a 2 minute walk from Hatfield, and a source of many essential things such as snacks for any time of the day, a wide selection of alcoholic and non-alcoholic drinks, and the less exciting business of toiletries, you will find you spend maybe more time in Tesco than you do in the lecture theatre. Registering for a clubcard should be seriously considered…

3. One decision may change the whole course of your university experience
You will often be faced with the decision of whether to go to some event or society or not. Often it will be tempting not to go. However, simply going to one of these things could be the best thing you ever did. It sounds horribly clichéd, but it’s true. It’s much easier to regret what you didn’t do than what you did. 

4. A microwave may explode
Not much more to say about that really, other than be careful when using the microwaves.

5. The fire alarm will go off and it will only go off when you are sleeping
The fire alarm seems to have a strange knack of knowing when you are sleeping and choosing to go off at those times. It will wake you up, it will at first terrify you with its deafening volume, but you’ll know it’s only going off because it doesn’t want you to burn to death, so you’ll forgive it eventually.

6. You may find you get really involved in something you hardly knew before
The number of societies to get involved in in Durham are endless – quidditch, baking, knitting, sewing, photography, sky-diving, rowing, to name but a few of the opportunities you may have. You may be able to see they satisfy both thrill seekers and those who have the inner soul of an 80-year-old. All are available and all can be embraced.

7. You may develop a weird obsession
Whether it be a certain love for a leafy green vegetable, becoming a non-stop tea drinker, or becoming weirdly fascinated by butter knives, all have been known to develop as obsessions for Hatfield students. Fear not if this happens to you, IT IS NORMAL (well sort of). If this is you, make sure to play up to your special quirk. Talking about spinach when applying for important positions has a far higher success rate than you would think…


Bradley Sims, 2nd Year Engineering 

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