After waving my friends off to university in September last year, the reality of leaving home to start at Durham finally began to sink in. It turns out that an October start of term date is both a blessing and a curse! While a 3 month post A-Level vacation was bliss, I had to watch my friends settle into their university life one by one, while sitting at home with a serious case of Fresher’s Fear, anxious to find out about Durham and the experience that I would have at my new home of Hatfield College. For me, leaving home to start university was both an exciting and terrifying prospect and as the countdown to October drew closer and I approached my college move in day, the nerves really started to set in.
But arriving at Hatfield College for the first time on the Big Day exceeded all my expectations. From the moment the car was parked, we were greeted by a group of smiley Fresher’s Reps, eager to help me unload my things and move me into my new room (perhaps feeling a little less smiley and eager after lifting the weight of my suitcases… but smiley and eager nonetheless!) I felt welcomed into Hatfield college straight away, and this really helped put me at ease and made the initial transition from home to settling into Durham a smooth and enjoyable one. After being greeted by a sign with my name on the door of my new room, I was ready to move in and get settled.
The Reps had organised a welcome reception in the bar which provided a great opportunity to mingle and meet some new people. One of the benefits of the collegiate system at Durham, as opposed to the traditional halls of residence at other universities, is that it provides the perfect opportunity to get to know a huge amount of people, as students aren’t restricted to making friends only with the people within their flat. As a medium-sized college, Hatfield ticked all the boxes for me, as I could meet lots of new people in an environment that retained a real community feel.
But no matter what college you choose, the initial mingling and small talk of Fresher’s week can continue to be a daunting experience. So here are my top tips to help you combat the Fresher’s Fear and enjoy the first week of what will hopefully be the start of an amazing few years at Hatfield College and Durham University!
1) GET INVOLVED! The Fresher’s Reps plan a full programme of events and social activities designed to help you break the ice and make new friends, so make sure you join in! It would be rude not to…
2) BRING A DOOR WEDGE.. I found it really helpful to keep my door wedged open during the first few weeks of term, as it makes it super easy to make new friends and get to know your new neighbours as they walk by!
3) MAKE IT YOUR OWN… Try to not be intimidated at the first sight of your empty room but instead see it as a blank canvas! A few posters, pictures (or fairylights in my case!) will make it feel like your home away from home. It sure was an emotional goodbye packing my room up at the end of the year..
4) BE YOURSELF! Cringey as it sounds… just try your best to relax and have fun in Fresher’s Week, and you’ll feel settled in in no time!
Wishing you all the best of luck, and can’t wait to meet you in October!!
Lily Ratnavel, 2nd Year English