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Durham Confessionals


By Niamh Boyle – 15th March 2024

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What is it actually like studying at Durham University? What is the best night out for Durham students? Where should Durham students go to eat? What is Durfess? One of our fantastic Durham Ambassadors Niamh give us the craic on a uni as well known for it's intense partying as it's intense academics. [Photo: Niamh, and fellow Durham Ambassadors Cai and Frankie in Zero Gravity HQ].

What is THE student eat spot?

That’s a toughie as there are so many really good places to get food. Café wise I personally really like Leonard’s (hidden and quiet), Chapters (great for sitting in and doing some work) or Cafedral (good vibes and food). For more of a proper meal I’d choose Spags (La Spaghettata) as its good, cheap Italian food and always popular with students. The student wrap meal deal at Lebaneat is great value for money but the wraps by themselves are in my opinion overhyped and expensive.

Best club night at Durham?

Jimmy Allen’s, its free entry, cheap drinks and sh*t music, what more could you want?? Jokes aside it’s my preferred nightclub because you know if you end up there you had a good night. You do also have the additional bonus of it being free meaning that you don’t have to buy tickets in advance.

Worst club night in Durham and why?

The obvious answer here is Klute (voted worst club in Europe at some point) but I’m going to have to say Jimmy’s once again. It is so bad, it's good. And as long as you stay with your friends on the tiny, crowded dance floor you’ll be fine…

Student meme unique to Durham?

Go on Facebook (yep, everyone uses it at uni even when they haven't ever touched it before) and search for Durfess or Tindur. That will explain everything you need to know about Durham (and provides some free entertainment!!).

Honest review of Duz?

Durham is really good for certain things and really bad for others, so it is all about choosing what you want from a uni. For me sports are a big part of my life and I like how big sports is at Durham and the collegiate system is also really fun and provides additional support. Yes, I’m not going to lie and tell you Durham doesn’t live up to it’s stereotypes but that shouldn’t put you off and it can be quite amusing to hear what some people say or how they have lived.

Best thing about studying at Durham?

From my perspective the sports culture here is the best thing about the uni. You have the opportunity to try so many new sports. If you compete at a high level then you can join a Team Durham sport (XC for me) or if you want to do a slightly more niche sport such as fencing there are development teams for beginners. Similarly, on a college level you can join as many of their 20-ish sports as you want at any level and try new sports such as rowing or ultimate frisbee (I didn’t realise this was a sport). I have personally really enjoyed all of this as it is a great way to meet new people and I have met most of my closest friends through doing various sports.

Worst thing about studying at Durham?

I don’t like naming and shaming but I’d probably say the accommodation crisis. Everyone knows about this, and it has been a bit of a mess on the news and everything but it’s not all bad as you are guaranteed college accommodation in 1 st year if you want it. On this note, college accom can be great or a sh*t hole, it really depends on which college you end up at – I recommend choosing wisely! As for the external housing shortage, it is a rush and landlords aren’t the greatest, but it is an essential part of being a uni student. You do also have the option of living in college again if you can afford the student house prices (very expensive!).

Has Durham got any BNOCs?

Not too sure on BNOCs in the sense of uni wide but often you will find each college has their own BNOCs as the college system breaks down the wider uni into smaller communities each with their own characters. You will often find the BNOCs are either postgrads who have been around forever, someone on the JCR or a rugby lad (not to stereotype!).

Cringy activity you have to do once?

Chads challenge or Marys Challenge. The Marys challenge involves holding a shot in your mouth at their bar then running all the way to Cuth’s Bar (I’m not saying the distance, you can find out) with the shot in your mouth and then spitting it back into the shot cup. This is the basics of it but its great fun to watch. The Chads challenge is much easier, it just involves jumping through the Y in a tree outside Chads – a good laugh for everyone walking past.

Biggest uni rivals?

This is going to be expected, but Oxford or Cambridge since Durhams goal of making Oxbridge into 'Doxbridge' seems to be age old. And yes, there are lots of Oxbridge rejects here, but they will all tell you they wanted Durham and are so much happier here. Believe what you want!

What is a piece of slang that gets used daily at your uni?

We love to shorten everything here with some of the best being:

- Billy B (Bill Bryson Library)

- Menty B (Mental Breakdown)

Moral of this is that we take the first word and add a -Y to it then use the first letter of the second word, it is quite amusing to hear some of them.

Thanks so much for that Niamh! If you wanna find out more about Durham, be sure to head into the Community to ask any and every question. If you want to hear about more about what being a Campus Ambassador entails, click this link to find out more.

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