Frustrating things only Durham students would understand

Walking on Church Street can exponentially raise anger levels


Going to Durham University is, for the most part, a wonderful experience. It’s also an extremely specific experience; Durham is full of unique traditions and activities such as matriculation and gowned formal dinners, not to mention the Cathedral being a UNESCO World Heritage Site. However, this specific experience can also manifest itself through certain frustrating things that your home friends will just never understand.

1. Vague Tindurs

There has been a recent trend of increasingly vague Tindurs that are a source of great frustration. Clearly Durham students are desperate for some form of confirmation that someone, somewhere is madly in love with them.

But Tindurs using only one initial (or even none!), giving absolutely no context, descriptions, or dates, and signing off with the infuriating “ykw xx” serve no purpose except to feed into delusions about that one person you made eye contact with for 0.2 seconds in the Billy B about eight months ago. They’ve been thinking about you too since then…right?

2. Narrow pavements

Along with the start of a new academic year at Durham, comes an abundance of Durfess posts about how to walk in Durham. The bottom line, and this shouldn’t really be news, is to make room for others. A lot of the pavements, especially along South Road and Church Street, are barely wide enough for two people to pass each other.

Therefore, if you are walking with a friend or, good heavens, a whole pack of them and someone is coming in the opposite direction please just go single file for five seconds so they can get past without being pushed out onto the road. The road is actually not just an extension of the footpath, but is for cars to hurtle past – ever heard of them?

As a second year who has put up with this annoyance for a year AND was shoved off a footpath the other day only to land in an ankle-deep puddle, I have been left with no choice but to just slam straight into you if you don’t have the common decency to make room.

Do not even get me started on slow walkers.

3. Lost campus cards on Overheard

This one is a particular bugbear of mine, but I know I am not alone in my frustration.

Losing your campus card is extremely inconvenient; you can’t get into the Billy B unless you get a temporary pass, will have to pay £10 to replace it, and most importantly you may not be allowed entry to Bailey Bars – the panic!

So, if you come across a lost campus card and post it on Overheard, we get it, you’re a Good Samaritan and should be nominated for an OBE.

But Durham students’ Facebook feeds are already pretty clogged up with Durfess, Tindur, and thousands of other Overheard posts, so the likelihood of the owner seeing the post is quite unlikely before it disappears into the ethers of the Facebook algorithm forever.

However, their CIS code is literally right there on the card, giving you a direct line to them – just send them an email. No need to make a big song and dance about it; you don’t have to post on Overheard and they don’t have to deal with the embarrassment of having an entire uni know they lost their card.

As a Durfess once said: From now on we will just assume you’re looking for attention and want everyone to know how wonderful you are.

4. The Durham Bubble

Before coming to Durham, I had heard of the Durham bubble but had no idea how small it actually is.

I would wager a bet that as far as degrees of separation go, everyone in Durham is one degree away from everyone else. The more time you spend in Durham, the more convoluted the spider web of your connections becomes.

Having a lot of mutual connections can be great as making friends is easy if you already have a lot of people in common. But it can also be extremely inconvenient.

You really have to gossip at a low volume as the walls literally have ears. Seriously…nowhere is safe. The Market Square Tesco queue is particularly risky, as I have found out.

So think twice before ranting in a college bar, maybe about someone particularly obnoxious in your seminar, as the chances are their roommate/housemate is sitting at the table right beside you.

It’s best to never use full names, or better yet, stick to a pre-agreed code name.

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