Durham is a picturesque historic city in the north-east of England situated on river Wear. It is home to the majestic Durham Cathedral and Durham Castle, both UNESCO world heritage sites, which serve as the seat of the Bishop of Durham. The panoramic cathedral tower, visible from every part of the small city, gives Durham its unique character. In addition to the historic and political position that it enjoys, Durham is primarily a student town. The University of Durham, established in 1832, is the third-oldest university in England following Oxford and Cambridge. It graduates over 18,000 undergraduates and postgraduates every year, making the city an interesting blend of ancient history and young energy. Durham is perhaps the most notable for its panoramic long trails and green grassy contours along the river. My favorite, unarguably, were the summer barbecues on the riverside on a nice sunny day, although you could seldom count on the English weather to not be gray and gloomy.
I moved to Durham in the fall of 2014 to start my doctoral studies. I joined Hatfield College, the second-oldest among the sixteen colleges in Durham University, and lived in a college provided accommodation for the first two of my four years in Durham. The college system in Durham, similar to that in Cambridge and Oxford, works differently compared to the same in, for example, India. While Indian colleges typically host their own academic staff, offer autonomous courses, and organise lectures under administrative supervision of the university, colleges in Durham primarily cater to the social needs of the students, with all academic programs being handled by the university directly. Hatfield college was founded in 1846, taking its name from the Prince Bishop of Durham and last Warrior-Bishop in England, Thomas Hatfield. Hatfield boasts a large Victorian campus on river Wear east of the Cathedral hosting over 1200 residents. During my time living on-campus, I served in the postgraduate student body "Middle Common Room (MCR)" as the IT Representative, mostly having to do with designing and managing the MCR website.
During my third year, I moved to a lesser-happening part of the town with my friend Leo, who would be my house-mate for the rest of my time in Durham. It was quite a bit of walk from work, but on most days it was pleasant walk. At first, I had my anxieties about leaving the safe-haven of college accommodation out into the real world, but living with Leo turned out to be one of the best decisions of my life. He is a resourceful friend and an amazing cook with an in-the-moment outlook towards life, which nicely complemented my generically more introverted approach to things. Around the same time, I also started hanging out with Mike and Omar making the quartet of LMAO, each of us working towards our PhD in high-energy physics. The fondest memories I have of our gang are the lunch-time Capriccio mondays at a local pizza place.
For some bizarre reason that I still can't fully comprehend, Britons have decided to classify theoretical physics under mathematics. As a result, I was placed with the mathematics department for my PhD studies.