As I reflect on my experiences over the past three years, some very fond memories come to mind. As I pulled up to the Turning Circle three years ago, I remember being greeted by enthusiastic Freps (Fresher Reps), eager to help me settle in to my new home. Those first weeks were incredible. I still remember roller blading alongside my new friends and feeling a sense of comradery and family that is unexplainable. Of course, after their own Freshers’ Week, many students get the chance to be a FREP themselves, and they are instrumental in welcoming the new cohort each year.
I’ve also been involved in the Tech Committee here at College. We have helped put on some of the best events in Collingwood. We grafted for two weeks to design and make a light up Collingwood sign for our Spring Ball, transformed the dining hall with beautiful hanging paper lanterns for Winter Solstice, and we’ve even used lights so powerful that telescopes have captured their beams! We now warn the astronomy department before our Freshers’ week events! I have made some of my best friends through the Committee and it has given me memories I shall always remember.
An annual highlight for all Collingwood students and staff has to be Collingwood Day: a chance for all members of the College to come together on the Meadow to celebrate after the exam period. Over 1000 Collingwood students attended this year, singing and dancing to our live bands, including Abba, The Beatles and Robbie Williams! Thankfully the weather was on our side, and the 1000 emergency ponchos we had ordered as a contingency remained in their boxes!
The opportunities for students here at Collingwood, and at Durham University, are endless. Whether you want to do sports, music, drama, student politics, or a combination of everything, go for it! All of these experiences help us to develop personally and academically, and I think it is safe to say that Durham students graduate with newfound confidence, as well as an abundance of transferable skills. That is the reality of the colleges: they help us to become our very best selves.
Do the things you love
At the dinner last night, the guest speaker was Alex Macqueen, Collingwood alumnus and talented actor. He had the whole room cringing as he told a story about being unable to swallow his food at an important law dinner when he was training to be a barrister. The moral of the story: when your job makes you so stressed or unhappy that you encounter such a predicament, stop. Do something that you love. Draw on the skills and talents you develop during your time at Durham, and pursue something that makes you happy. After this life changing moment, Alex returned to his dream profession of acting, and has since brought us some outstanding and memorable performances as Neil’s Dad in comedy series, The Inbetweeners and Julius Nicholson in The Thick of It.
I hope that Collingwood graduates remember Alex’s message, and know that, even though they might be leaving the physical grounds of The Wood, they will always be a treasured member of the Collingwood community.