Wednesday, 5 October 2011


Today is the day after yesterday, and yesterday was my inaugural trip to Durham University.

I had to take a day off work (unpaid) to attend the postgraduate induction day during which I was introduced to the department staff, got the chance to meet some of my fellow students and collected my campus card which gains me that all important access to the library. However yesterday was also the first day of the Freshers Fair and never having been to any freshers events (with never having actually been a fresher) I felt almost obliged to pop my head in and see what all the fuss was about.

Firstly let me just reiterate that I'm 31 years old. Now despite not feeling it, I probably look it so being surrounded by 'real' freshers was a daunting prospect for my ageing neurons to cope with. But nevertheless I persevered and set off on the surprisingly short pilgrimage from the SASS (School of Applied Social Sciences) building to the students union building. On the way I passed numerous young-uns handing out flyers and free stuff to the hoards of excited teenagers roaming the streets like the already owned the place, but no one was handing flyers to me. I'm old. I can't be a fresher, surely. I wanted to have a name badge on saying "don't ignore me, I'm a fresher too!" but alas I fear I would've looked like even more of a plonker and so carried on my merry way until it happened. Someone stuck their bounty filled hand out in front of me and said... wait for it... "free condom?".


Oh well. I'm never one to turn anything down so I sniggered, took it graciously and then sniggered again at the Durham University sticker on the packet before sealing it away in my handbag.

On my entry into the murky depths of the students union building I was hit by a wall of warm dampness oozing from the hundreds of students trying to cram their way through the various halls and rooms to sign up for everything they could and blag as many freebies as they could. I imagine if you spent enough time wandering round and talking to all of the stalls you could probably blag enough free stuff to keep you going for a while, certainly in pens, notepads and sweets at the very least.

I must admit though, I didn't bother grappling with the kids to get freebies. Despite my usual 'owt for nowt' attitude I didn't fancy my chances so all I bothered with was a Durham University Library pen and a free slice of Dominos pizza (I hadn't had breakfast so it came at just the right time). I did however sign up for a couple of societies and have my eye on a couple of others so I'll see what happens with those and report back with any exciting news.

I suppose I had always thought that the whole freshers experience had passed me by so I'm glad I got to go to the fair, if for no other reason than to see how utterly mental it was! And here's me thinking that Durham Uni students would be all civilised and sensible. How wrong I suspect I am.

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