Here are 10 things you should never do as a Durham student

I don’t make the rules x

Whether you’re a fresher or a finalist, here’s a guide to the things you probably shouldn’t do during your time in Durham. On the routine journey from your uni room to your lecture halls, or even into the heart of town, here are the things you wouldn’t dream of doing – except maybe in your nightmares (although that may be a tad dramatic)!

1. Never go up the Cathedral tower until you graduate

Let’s start with perhaps the most well known of them all: You should not go up the cathedral tower until you graduate. If you’re going to listen to one thing then let it be this one, as the fate of your degree hangs on the line…

There’s a superstition that if a Durham student goes up the tower before they have completed their degree, there’s a risk that they won’t ever complete it! So, by never going up the tower until the end of your time in Durham, when you finally graduate it will make for a moment of celebration when you get to see what the superstition keeps concealed.

But until then, just don’t go up the tower okay?

2. Never underestimate the great struggle of trekking up Cardiac Hill

Many students are forced to use this infamously steep slope to get to Upper Mountjoy, so for those disbelieving few of you thinking “how bad can it really be?”, I would say maybe think twice before undermining its extremity. Trust me, you need to be prepared.

Some students prefer to take an alternative route along Rose Street (around the back of the engineering building), but even this has an unforgiving incline and may take you a bit longer. Basically, you should never ever underestimate the leg workout you’ll have to endure whenever you go to this class.

3. Never rely on a Durham bus

Unfortunately, you should never completely rely on the bus system to get you to important places either. For me, there have been many an organised, relaxing day scuppered by an unwavering reliance on the Durham buses.

So, next time you’re favouring the pillow over the 9:00am walk, ask yourself: Can you really afford that extra 10 mins lie in or should you just make the trek? Please don’t waste your student loan on having to get a last minute Uber.

4. Never ignore what’s going on locally

Whether there’s a light show (Lumiere is coming up soon) or a performance at the Cathedral, it’s important to be aware of what’s going on outside of your college. You can stumble upon great events that just may take the crown for some of the most memorable moments you’ll have during your time in Durham. Don’t get FOMO.

5. Never stick around in Durham for too long

Durham is the best city in the UK (probably), but sometimes you just might want to expand your horizons and go somewhere new.

Maybe you’re tired of Cardiac Hill, or running into people you don’t really wanna see. The bright lights of Newcastle are only a quick train ride away and if you’re up for an hour’s ride on the bus to Seaham (forget what I said earlier, this is an exception), you’ll feel that sea air revitalise your Durham spirit.

6. Never leave house hunting too late

We all know this one. In Durham, you should never look for housing too late or you may risk being expelled to the depths of Gilesgate, or with a house that has definitely seen better days (a long, long time ago).

It’s time put put your big girl pants on and get on with it.

7. Never question the weirdness

Never be surprised about the weird and wonderful things you’ll see students do in Durham. From the random fancy dress socials, to freshers’ antics in town, in Durham you truly will see it all!

My advice is to embrace the chaos, and even join in if you can.

8. Never opt out of a post-club takeaway

Pretty self-explanatory really, but you should never miss out on a post-club treat from one of Durham’s renowned take-out spots. Which one you chose is up to you, but just don’t go home without the warm sensation of a fresh kebab in your belly.

*It’s like a reward*

9. Never say no to a college drink

You should never forget to try the college drinks when you visit the bars, and (more importantly) don’t forget to visit all of the college bars during your time in Durham! The Hatfield tickler is sure to tickle your fancy, Some Chad’s disco water is sure to leave you gagging for more, and the Van Mildert Shrek Juice will definitely get your juices flowing.

Keep a record of the ones you go to, and have your say on which college is best (objectively it is Stevo). Will the Hill or Bailey prevail…

10. Never underestimate the challenge of that last one

Don’t misjudge the amount of planning that goes into conquering the ultimate Durham bar crawl. You can configure your own route in a pre piss-up meeting, or use the handy one we’ve made for you here. 

It isn’t for the faint-hearted, but if done right it will be a night you won’t be able to forget…

Or remember!

Related stories recommended by this author:

The ultimate freshers’ guide to all the neighbourhoods in Durham 

The top ten places to BeReal in Durham 

Eight niche discoveries I experienced as an aussie in Durham