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SHAG week



Image result for SHAG week

It’s SHAG week and in case you didn’t know, that means Sexual Health and Guidance week. Be sure to look out for additional information around college and go along to the C-card sign up as well as our SHAG themed formal which is taking place this Friday 3rd February. Also, remember that you can pick up condoms, dental dams, lube and other supplies from the Welfare drop-in sessions (these are posted on the Facebook page).

Sexually transmitted diseases are very common and it is important to be clued up about how you can prevent getting them as well as what to do if you think you might have one. Sexual health tests and treatments are free on the NHS and there is a nearby clinic that offers these services.

50% of men and 70% of women don’t develop symptoms when they have chlamydia. Going for a test is simple and entirely confidential (unless you or someone else is in danger). It is a very contagious disease and can be carried from someone who has it to their sexual partner, especially when a condom isn’t used.

Chlamydia and gonorrhoea are the two most common STIs in the UK and are both treatable if detected, though gonorrhoea is getting increasingly difficult to treat. If they go undetected, they can have knock on effects for sexual health in later life and they usually won’t resolve themselves. It’s always worth getting tested if you’re worried.

Sexual health can also be related to wellbeing and enjoyment. It is always your decision whether you want to have sex…consent is everything and you should never feel pressured to do something that you don’t want to do. It’s also a good idea to talk to your partner about any sexual health history that they might have to further reduce the risk of you contracting an STI.

Under the laws in the UK, you cannot give consent for sex if you are drunk. Being drunk is also not counted as a defence if you do have sex with someone. So always make sure that you are both happy to do it.

Make the most of SHAG week and try to find out as much as you can about sexual health. As ever, we offer confidential support if you ever have any worries or concerns so don’t be afraid to drop in to see us.



















“It’s the best year and the worst year of your life”

“It’s the best year and the worst year of your life”. Those words meant nothing to me this time last year, but a fourth year quoted them as I geared myself up for the elusive year abroad. As a language student, it’s something you’ve looked forward to since you were about 14. You fantasise, you plan, you lust. Where could I go? Who will I meet? Study or work? What’s out there? It’s all a complete fantasy. And yet now we’re here – we’ve all gone and moved abroad. This isn’t a holiday; we live here. And we’ve completed the 6 tonnes of paperwork to prove it.

I’m now 4 months into my year abroad and currently studying in Beijing but I’ll be off to work in Madrid in the summer, before whizzing back to Durham to start my final year.

China has been the definition of weird and wonderful. I’ve done some truly incredible things… I’ve hiked up the Great Wall as the sun set, camped overnight, and woken up at 4am the next morning to watch the sunrise. I’ve visited South Korea, a place I never thought I’d go, and even got to see North Korea with my own eyes; a surreal experience. I’ve been flown to Shanghai to perform a medley of British songs including the Spice Girls and Rick Astley for Britain’s Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt. And watched the National Flag hoisted at dawn on historic Tiananmen Square. Between us, we’ve dined with the British Ambassador, visited China’s answer to Blackpool, starred in Chinese adverts, watched the Olympic medal winning gymnastics team practise, and even popped to Inner Mongolia. Plus, our cleaning lady costs £4 an hour.

In addition to the novelty extras, it’s the reason we’re really here that most of us find the most rewarding – learning that language. It is genuinely so gratifying to see your language skills put to use and improve every day.  I only started learning Chinese when I started at Durham, and now I’m surviving in Beijing. Classroom learning is one thing, but I’ve learnt so many more practical things by immersing myself in the language here than I ever could in Elvet Riverside. This week’s goal was to find out how to order my single shot latte. Tick!

Speak to anyone on a year abroad though and you’ll discover what lies behind the façade of the great Instagram picture. For all the highs, it can be hard and we’ve all had a couple of wobbly moments. Friends aren’t as easy to make as they are in Durham, the language barrier is real, as is loneliness, the time difference can really suck, and you miss all the 21st birthday parties. There’s also no Flat White in Beijing, squat toilets have become the norm, and Brexit has made the pound really, reallllly weak. We can claim it’s character building all we like but sometimes life seems pretty tough and we long for the comfort and familiarity of Durham.

But we don’t live for comfort and familiarity. The more you see of the world the more you realise there is to see. There is so much out there; you just have to burst the bubble. As cliché as it sounds, this year is hands down the best thing I’ve ever done, and if I had the power I’d make everyone do a year abroad. A holiday is one thing, but by living and throwing yourself into a country you get to discover a whole other side to the world you thought you knew. I’m nowhere near halfway through my year (terrifying or lucky?), but I’m already grateful for how much my time here has shown me. I’ve met some really cool people, been to places I never thought I would, and challenged myself to do things I wouldn’t previously have dared. A year abroad is a unique and inspiring experience, and a challenge I’d recommend to all. It’s easy to see every day how much I’m growing as a person… no thanks to the dumplings. 谢谢!

The Lions Network

The Lions Network is just one of many unique aspects of SHAPED.


The Lions Network is a collection of alumni for a number of different sectors. Their contact details are available to members of Hatfield College, meaning you can contact them with any queries you may have about either the sector itself, or how you can go about getting experience in the area.


Currently, the Lions cover the careers listed:

· Accountancy and Management Consulting

· Advertising Marketing and Pr

· Armed Forces and Emergency Services

· Banking, Investment and Insurance

· Business Analysis and Consultancy

· Charity and Development Work

· Creative Arts and Media

· Education and Education Management

· Engineering and Science

· Health and Veterinary Services

· Hospitality and Event Management

· Human Resources and Recruitment

· Information Technology

· Legal Services

· Manufacturing

· Politics, Government and Public Administration

· Property Management and Surveying

· Retail Sector

· Self-Employment and Small Businesses

· Sport

· Yachting and Yacht Brokers


This extensive list shows that there really is something for nearly everybody. Each of these career areas has at least two Lions whose details are available for contacting.



If you want some questions answering such as whether your degree is right for your career plans, or what to include on your CV, these alumni are there to be contacted! They can give more tailored advice than any advice you can find online, and they are just an email away. All you need to do is access the Lions Network Careers List via DUO and select the career you are interested in. From here you can access specific information about each Lion as well as how best to contact them. Worried that you’ll be annoying them or wasting their time? The answer is, don’t be! They WANT to be contacted with questions in order to pass on their advice.

Follow this link and have a look for yourself:


Helping a Friend with Mental Health Issues


Eight out of 10 students (78%) say they experienced mental health issues in the last year, according to a survey by the National Union of Students(NUS), so chances are you will know someone who is suffering.

Whether it’s just an acquaintance or your best friend, it’s always difficult to know how to approach them, and this can start to affect your own mental health.

The most important step is communication. Sometimes it’s easy to assume that talking to a friend about concerns over their mental health will make the situation worse, but they’re probably desperate to talk to you about how they’re feeling. Starting the first conversation can be hard, but approaching them in an open and non-judgemental way will show them you’re there to listen and means they’ll be more likely to open up to you. Regardless of how the conversation goes, it’s important to be honest and let them know that whatever happens you’re there for them.

There are also many avenues of help you can suggest to your friend if they want it, both in college and the university:

  • Welfare are always available to talk to and offer advice, whether your friend visits themselves or you go on their behalf. They have drop-in hours on most days of the week, and a new online service
  • You can also talk to Eleanor (Assistant Senior Tutor) in her open hours, or arrange a meeting by dropping her an email
  • The university has a free counselling service which all students can use by going to drop in hours or sending them an email (counsel.service@durham.ac.uk)

There are also some great resources on the Uni website, such as this flow chart which gives an idea of what steps to take if you’re concerned about a friend’s mental health:



If you’re worried about going behind your friend’s back if you decide to talk to someone on their behalf, don’t be. You don’t need to mention their name, and the college support systems are always happy to give advice anonymously. Sometimes it can be really useful to talk to someone who isn’t as invested in the situation as you are, and it can be a great way to see things from another person’s perspective.

It’s also important to remember that you’re not a trained therapist – there’s only so much you can do. It should not be down to you take take full responsibility and bear the weight of all of your friend’s problems. This can be an incredibly hard thing to accept as a friend because you’ll want to do everything you can to help them, but this shouldn’t be at the cost of your own health. Make sure that you have your own time to relax and de-stress.

If you have concerns at any point during the year about a friend, the college support systems are always available to help. This is as much about your own welfare, as it is about theirs.