As Michaelmas Term draws to a close, one is bound to reflect on all that has happened these last few months. My experience of Michaelmas Term as a second year – ‘Michaelmas Term: Take Two’ you could say – has certainly cemented Michaelmas Term as one of the most magical in Durham. But it has definitely not been without its challenges, and the comparison to last year’s experience is inevitable. So here is a rundown of my experience as a second year, but also the highlights of this term as we press replay, take two, and look back at all that has happened.
For me, this term has been slightly more rigorous than first year’s Michaelmas as the demands of second year have set in. From applying for internships, the impending deadlines and spending just a bit too long in the library – where it moves past productivity to just pure exhaustion – this term has had a lot of challenges, but the magic of a first year Michaelmas has not been fully lost!
Something that has shaped my experience of this term has been the movement from college accommodation to living in a house, as it has provided a completely different atmosphere to last year. From processing that extra layer of responsibility, dealing with the dynamics of living in a much more communal space, where it almost feels like a family, and being far away from our old college rooms, it was definitely an adjustment. And, of course, this topic of housing is especially pertinent when we talk about Michaelmas.
The annual rush for housing occurred once again, and raised the same problems and stress for students as in previous years. The problem is not necessarily the lack of all housing, but of affordable housing. The Palatinate released a report about Durham’s housing market which compares its staggering rise in costs to other university cities. There are also now reports that colleges have raised their prices for next year. So where do we go from here? Unfortunately, this may only be answered next year, as we look onwards to next Michaelmas Term.
However, on a brighter note, students finally got their results back and one major talking-point of this term was, of course, Lumiere’s return to Durham. Filled with beautiful displays nestled amidst the iconic Durham landmarks and scattered across the city, this was a true highlight of term. The cathedral was transformed by warm, oscillating lights – controlled by the pulse of visitors at a central ‘pulse point’. And this certainly was an experience at the very heart of this year’s Michaelmas term experience!
It has been an undeniably hectic term – full of changes, socialising, ’adulting’ tasks and deadlines, and I know that the last week or so until Christmas is one of reflection: wondering how time has possibly moved this fast, whilst also realising just how long we’ve been in Durham for. I find the end of term very sentimental, and try to cram as much as possible into the last week before everyone goes their separate ways.
So, one last thing of note is this: as the last week approaches us, and December begins, here are some things you could do to end term on a high!
In Market Square from the 1st December to the 3rd, this is a great opportunity to see Durham all Christmassy before you head home! With 200 traders and lots of entertainment, this is great for any last minute Secret Santa shopping.
These are only a short train ride away, so why not head to either Newcastle or York (or both!) to enjoy what their markets have to offer?
3 – One last visit to your favourite college bars
If you haven’t paid a visit yet to your favourite college bar, you still have time! This is definitely one on my list as it’s a bit of a trek to get there, but whether on the Bailey or the Hill this is a great way to spend an evening with your friends before term comes to an end.
4 – Go to your favourite Durham restaurant
I’m sure people have different favourites, but there truly is no better way to spend an evening in Durham – especially one before the break!
5 – Do a house/flat Christmas dinner
This uni house tradition never ceases to bring everyone together, and it’s a great alternative to no.4 on this list. You could even do both if you’re feeling particularly festive and sentimental.