How to make this November one to remember

Autumn in Durham truly cements the city’s status as one of the most beautiful places to go to university. The cobbled streets take on even more allure in the glow of the amber lamps, the paths are covered with mosaics of fallen leaves, and there is a certain chill in the air that signals the long anticipated run down to Christmas. Despite the torrent of rain brought by Storm Babet’s unwelcome presence a couple of weeks ago, it’s hard to overlook the inherent romanticised portrait of Durham’s autumn season. 

However, we are also in that stage of term. Halloween has come and gone, Mariah Carey has already announced the countdown to Christmas, and it is easy to feel as though November is burdened by deadlines and responsibilities – a month where it seems there isn’t really anything to look forward to. Whether you’re a fresher who’s experiencing Michaelmas term for the first time, a second year (like me!) adjusting to life outside of college, or a student in their final year, it’s natural to find yourself at a crossroads. Amidst the uncertainty for students still awaiting last year’s results and the new-found stress for those applying for internships, general feelings of mid-term burnout are to be expected. 

So, instead of adding to this romanticised portrait, what does an autumn in Durham really look like for students, and what is there to look forward to? Here are a few ways to make your time in Durham this November the best it can be.

The Lumiere Festival 

Taking place on the 16th to the 19th November, the festival is a perfect way to escape the stress of term. Revel in the beautiful light installations and be prepared to see Durham’s most iconic landmarks renewed and rethought through art. All tickets are free!

Guy Fawkes Night 

There are many different local firework displays and bonfires you can attend this weekend, and all offer a great opportunity to experience something outside of your usual routine. Make memories with your friends and warm up for a new week in the best way! 

Christmas Lights Switch On

The Durham ‘Christmas Lights Switch On’ in the centre of town, on the 27th November, is one that shouldn’t be missed! One of the most exciting parts of Michaelmas term is its lead up to Christmas, so amidst chaotic days running around Durham from lecture to lecture, this is guaranteed to get you in the festive spirit. Feel the stress of term fade away as you sing along with happy crowds and see Durham transformed once again. 

… and Christmas Markets 

Why don’t you make your way to a local Christmas market before the end of term? You can even explore outside of what Durham has to offer – Newcastle and York are only a short trip away! Stepping beyond the ‘Durham Bubble’ can be the reset that you need. 

College Events 

Lastly, of course, it is so important to keep yourself integrated in college life. College events can be some of the most special; by surrounding yourself with close-knit communities that colleges provide, feelings of mid-term blues can be eased.

There are many different ways to immerse yourself in the student experience this November. Ultimately though, what it means to be a student within the romanticised portrait is up to you. The most important thing of all is to look after yourself – and remember, you’ve got this!

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