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60 Second Interview: English Literature Student

English Literature student Emily Benton talks to us about life at Durham University.


What course are you studying: BA Hons English Literature at Durham University.

What did you study at school/college: A-Levels in English, History, Biology and up to AS-Level in Maths at Chesham Grammar School in Buckinghamshire

Why did you choose this course?
I chose English because it was a subject that I always enjoyed throughout my time at school and it was also something that I seemed to be pretty good at! I wanted to continue studying it, so that's why I chose to carry it on at degree level. These days I think it's important to choose something you really enjoy, you're going to be doing it for three years after all!

Why did you choose this uni?
Durham wasn't actually my first choice when I was looking at universities to put on my UCAS form! On first glance the course was good, but it was quite far away from home and I had never been there. Then when I got my offer, I attended one of Durham's post-offer open days and I completely fell in love with the place! Durham is similar to Oxford and Cambridge in the sense that it has a collegiate system, so in first year you will live in your college with the rest of your year group. The college camaraderie immediately gives you a sense of belonging, so this made me feel that it was a place I could actually picture myself living in and calling home.

What are the facilities like?
The facilities at Durham are top notch. Being a Literature student, I'm in the library an awful lot and the resources are fantastic. In the rare case that the catalogue doesn't have the book you're looking for - they'll get it for you. The sports facilities are great as well and you can either play inter-college friendly sport or perform at university level. So everyone can join in.

What's the student experience like?
I cannot big up the college system here enough. Fresher's Week in Durham is amazing, you make friends all over college, as well as within your corridor and on your course. Remember that feeling when you went to Secondary School of feeling a bit like a small fish in a big pond? University is an even bigger pond! But because of my college I have never felt like that. It has been an invaluable part of my university experience. And in terms of places to party, Durham is a small city, but I actually enjoy the nightlife more because of it! When you go out you will always bump into someone you know and best of all, it's so cheap!

Best thing about studying at your uni?
AGAIN I would have to say the College system. Each College has its own gym (£40 PER YEAR!) bar, library, shop and most importantly, their own sense of community. We have so many college run events such as formals, balls and themed nights in the bar that there is always something in the calendar to look forward to. There are also so many roles that you can take up in College such as bar work, being part of the committee that organises social events, JCR and welfare positions and charity work that all look fantastic on your CV.

Have you done any work-experience?
Yes, it is getting more and more important to find work experience or an internship placement for your CV when applying for jobs these days. I have done work experience both in and out of the career sector I am looking to go into as it gives you a really good idea of what job you eventually want to do! So use those long university holidays to get some placements if you can.

What are your future career plans?
I am looking to go into Journalism after I graduate. Durham has been so helpful in helping me choose and then supporting my career choice and there are loads of extra-curricular activities to take part in that you can put on your CV. For example, I have been writing for the student newspaper.

Any tips for students thinking about going to uni?
Go! They say that your university years are the best years of your life and it's so true. I have learnt so much over the past three years and have also grown so much as a person. But most importantly, I've had so much fun.

For more information on what it's like to study at university, check out the rest of our 60 Second Interview series.