- Our Trip to Manchester – by Hannah and the Rachels April 21, 2013
Like all good blog posts, this one begins with a fairytale…
Once upon a time, in a land far, far away, a young man by the name of Joseph Angus Fleming Green made a very important decision. He decided, against all advice, to venture to a hitherto unknown land known as The North in the pursuit of higher education. Like any brave knight, his destination was a castle atop a hill, full of fair maidens. Joseph was full of good intentions and was planning to find a virtuous damsel in distress for the rescuing. However, once he arrived, it became clear that none of the damsels were in need of a saviour, as this is the 21st century and women are perfectly entitled to slay their own dragons with equal pay. Disheartened, Joseph found himself at a loss. One day he was wondering through the statue gardens, doing some soul searching and trying to find a new purpose in life, when he stumbled across a hidden cabin. The sign above the door was written in some foreign tongue and he had to crack a difficult code in order to gain entry, but this was no problem for our brave knight. He proceeded with caution into the cabin, where he encountered the most beautiful and enchanting creatures that he had ever laid eyes upon. He thought to himself “Finally, I have found my true calling; to serve these heavenly beings and do everything in my power to enrich their lives in any way that I can. I will not rest until their every whim is satisfied, their hearts desires are met and they are truly and utterly joyous.”
Seven months later…
Hello from the aforementioned beautiful and enchanting creatures. Allow us to introduce ourselves. We are Little Rachel, Tall Rachel and Hannah, collectively known as Hannah & the Rachels. We have taken it upon ourselves to guide Joey through life away from Sheffield (we should probably apologise at this point). I would love to be able to tell you that Joey has fulfilled his pledge from earlier, but that would be stretching the truth slightly too far. He has given it his best shot, though, and provides us with great entertainment (particularly when singing or dancing). We have been petitioning for quite some time now to get our names on the Family Green blog and, after granting him copy approval, Joey has finally conceded. As the astute amongst you may have gathered, it is currently the Easter break and so the four of us have no business being in the same place. What happened was that, in spite of our incredible self-sufficiency, we all missed each other terribly and needed an excuse to have a break from revision. Our prayers were answered when the beautiful Tall invited us all to her lovely home for a couple of days of respite.
We arrived in Manchester one blustery Tuesday morning full of anticipation for the 48 hours of fun ahead of us. The trip got off to an excellent start with two members of the party being on the same coach of the same train for over an hour without crossing paths. We had a fabulous day taking in the sites of the city followed by a relaxed evening filled with board games and lounging. The next day, us girls did what we have been longing to do for quite some time now; took Joey shopping. Despite his initial protestations, he reconnected with his feminine side and eventually got into the swing of things. We left the Trafford centre several hours later, significantly poorer and laden down with bags. Our generous host then treated us to a local delicacy known as ‘salt & pepper chips’. Having heard an awful lot about these we were afraid that they would not live up to expectations; however thankfully, they did not disappoint.
The rest of the evening followed the same pattern as the one before and we all went to bed satisfied with a day well spent. As I type this, we are all sitting on the bed trying to make the most of our last hours together before the inevitable moment when we have to go our separate ways once more. We have had a truly magical couple of days and wanted to share it with you, loyal followers of the Family Green, as we were not convinced that Joey would be fully able to.
Sadly, this post has now come to an end. We hope that you have enjoyed it and will invite us back to blog again. Until then, enjoy your lives and be excellent to each other.
Hannah & The Rachels
- Professor Joey February 13, 2013
Today, I went to the pub with my College Mentor. The system enforced here requires students to have a mandatory supervisor, to check up on you from time to time and make sure you’re okay / work is fine / haven’t imploded due to the sheer stress of being a Durham student. Unfortunately, many of these mentors don’t tend to keep in contact with their mentees (or mentards, depends where you’re from), and can go through most of the degree completely helpless, stranded in the sea of graduate unemployment – or so I’ve heard. Frightened by this, I eagerly emailed my respective mentor, and persisted in meeting up. We ended up going for a pint.
His name is David, and he works in the social science field. Upon googling him just now, it turns out he’s quite a big name, but that doesn’t surprise me – he’s quite the character. We had a general chat about life, about how to present yourself at an interview and sell yourself to a potential employer in such a way that they think the sun shines out of your bottom – for want of a better phrase. However, one of the things he mentioned specifically is that I should definitely consider teaching. Up until now, I never really gave it much thought – I’ve always wanted to be something tekkie, like an international spy who hacks into criminal organisations to bring them to justice, or even just that guy who lives in his mothers basement and plays guitar hero for days on end. Teaching is a whole other ball game, but David loves it – not necessarily because it’s a very important job to have, but because you get to interact with so many different kinds of people.
I’m sure you’ve heard that “humans are social animals”. Well, they aren’t lying. The majority of us – bar a few exceptions, such as said basement dweller – get a buzz from social interaction, and take a lot of comfort knowing we have friends. Teaching seems to embody this aspect of social interaction with any other subject you can think of – you can teach Medicine, you can teach Harry Potter – heck, you can even teach P.E. Although it won’t make you a millionaire, David insisted that in itself, having the opportunity to teach others is a reward in itself.
Oh, and he taught me how to drink two bottles of whisky and not get drunk. Sweet.
As I like to think this blog post was more enlightening than entertaining, here’s a picture of me trying to be a window.
- Christmas Break and whatnot January 11, 2013
Coming back home for Christmas and the New Year seemed fairly odd, having not previously seen my family for 3 months. Upon returning, I noticed several things had changed – not big things, just small things, like there was another table in the conservatory, to accommodate the small number of people that now resided in the household. In a way, I was flattered that they had taken measures to numb the inevitable sadness caused by my departure.
Being back with the family was lovely, though. Oh how I had the hectic lifestyle I was so used to. Not that Uni wasn’t hectic – all that work I was doing took up a lot of my time! *cough* Luckily for me, I was never far from Durham as 3 of my wonderful Uni friends had come to visit me in my abode, travelling from distant lands noone has heard of, such as ‘Shropsheer’. Spending Christmas with the family was as crazy as always – seeing my cousins and my grandparents was lovely. Unfortunately I couldn’t enjoy it for too long, as we all had to attend a music course on Boxing day. Great timing.
The music course was fairly tiring (as it always is) but the Planets was a great tune, and seeing all my music friends there was good, and I enjoyed telling everyone my crazy adventures in the City of Durham. The course finished just in time to prepare for New Years, which was also good – the theme this year was 1920’s, but after some frantic panicking by the females of the Green family (not naming any names), the dress code was broadened to ‘Glittery and Glamorous’. The boys loved donning their favourite glittery dresses they had been saving for this momentous occasion.
As for now, it’s back to Durham for Joey. I have enjoyed my stay with the Greens, it’s always a pleasure. Try not to miss me too much.
- Roommates November 23, 2012
For most Universities, sharing a room with another student is a rarity, and mostly viewed as an unfortunate incidence. However, at St Mary’s College in Durham, the room swapping system forces the majority of students to share at some point in the first year.
Before I came to Uni, I was given a slip to return with some of my interests, and whether I would mind sharing a room in my first term. I ticked the box, eager to experiment with the novelty ‘roomie’ concept, and sure enough, upon arrival I was greeted with my double shared room.
The idea of sharing a room is one I thought I would find comfortable – from a young age, I shared a room with my twin brother, until we got to the age where we both persisted in having personal space. However, I found that sharing a room at University is a much different experience.
I won’t spoil the surprise for those who are going to end up sharing a room, but let me tell you – it’s quite difficult. Even if they are the most friendly, generous and considerate room mate to have, as time progresses you begin to crave personal space, and look for any means to have a lie down in piece – whether it be going to a library, or photocopying their timetable so you know exactly when they’re going to be out and can factor in your snooze accordingly (hypothetically, of course).
However, there is a benefit from having a room mate. Seeing as how my twin is down in York, I felt that I might get lonely and homesick. Having a room mate softens the blow – there’s always someone around, and meeting lots of lovely people here helped me settle in nicely.
In summation, having a room mate is an altogether different experience than having a room to yourself, whether for better or for worse. Some people despise their room mates, and some people become life long friends with theirs.
And hey, maybe they’ll give you biscuits from time to time. One can only hope.
- Uni Life and Stuff November 3, 2012
As the novelty of university slowly begins to wear off – despite only being in Durham for roughly a month – people have adapted to their surroundings and formed a somewhat orderly timetable for their weekly basis. Life at University revolves mostly around work (though I’m sure many of my peers would disagree), and attending the various social events around the college.
Many societies arrange socials in order to allow people to get to know each other, make friends and generally have a good time. The first social I went to was for College Badminton. As with most society organised events, the social had a theme – this one involved bringing a partner and going together as a country that participated in the Olympics. My friend and I chose Japan, which became fairly handy as many of my friends stay in a Japanese block along with many Japanese students, who were all able to draw Kanji all over my arms. That night escalated fairly quickly, as I ended up getting tied to my partner for a considerable amount of the evening. Hilarity ensued.
The next social was for Dance. Having taken dance as an option at my school for 3 years, I thought it would be appropriate to keep it up at University. The social had a circus theme, which I took as an opportunity to bring out the guns by going as a strong man. Despite their not being as many people there as the badminton social, it became a great night out with my friends, despite me looking very silly.
There have been many other social events as of recently, and my peers have taken great pride into putting a lot of thought into their costumes and outfits – Halloween was a particular favourite (my friend and I went as ‘Dedward‘). However, a lot of them have been formal events – there was a Freshers Ball, which was black tie and had a free casino and dodgems, and the most recent Michaelmas ball, which was held at college and consisted of a 3 course meal followed by a céilidh.
My first month at Durham has been absolutely brilliant, and although this blog post has become more like a diary than anything else, I have many more stories to tell! However, if you’re reading this Mum, I promise I’m doing lots of work too!
- Freshers Week at Durham Uni October 16, 2012
I’m told that moving to a new place with unfamiliar surroundings is one of the scariest experiences one can have. I didn’t find this as much when I moved to St Mary’s, mainly because as I arrived on the drive I was greeted by what appeared to be a man dressed as a griffin, and several helpers rushing out to help me carry all my bags inside. I was immediately welcomed into the college by all the smiling faces, and to make things even easier I had stayed in contact with a few people I met from the open day a while back, which helped me make friends with a lot of lovely people.
Freshers week involved going out every night to a different event – there was a toga night, in which I won the prize for ‘Sexiest Toga’, due to my poor tying technique revealing my right breast bare for the world to see. I was awarded a chestplate, which I wore proudly the entire night. Also, that night featured my fairly drunk interaction with my friend which can be seen on the freshers video here: http://www.youtube.com/
Along with toga night, there was a boat party night, which was rather self explanatory, and also a silent disco night where we had to dress up as something we wanted to be when we were older – I naturally went as a superhero.
One of the nights was ‘Parent’s night’ – St Marys works on a family system, where first years are assigned 2 parents and a sibling. My mother is a bubbly freshers rep, my Dad is awesome and my sister is lovely. We have good genes in the family. The idea with parents night is that the parents of the family provide their children with drinks for the night – my parents were rather good at this, leaving me not being able to remember half the night…
Through freshers week I managed to introduce myself to most people in St Mary’s, and have met a lot of lovely people. The atmosphere is so relaxed and chilled that anyone can talk to anyone, which generally makes the university experience so much more enjoyable.
The week following freshers consisted of the introductory lectures to all the modules I’m taking. Most of them seem pretty straightforward, and whenever I have been assigned work I have done it almost straight away (apart from now!). By studying computer science, I have been assigned many tasks already that have been rather challenging – if anyone is interested in studying CompSci, try programming a UTM using Langton’s Ant!
I have joined many societies with my friends – on Mondays I have Mixed Voices, on Tuesdays there is normally a formal (a posh dinner, and coincidentally I’m also on the committee that helps organise them), otherwise I do social Ballroom dancing, on Wednesday (‘sports day’) I have Dance, then Rowing, then Badminton! On Thursday I have DUOS which is the main orchestra at Durham. The other days I generally take part in anything that seems to be happening at the time.
Computer Science has 24 contact hours a week, keeping me very busy indeed. As work gets progressively harder, I may have to drop several societies so I can concentrate on my work! Sad face.