Life as a postgraduate is not just about academia. The MCR is a real community and runs a varied social calendar throughout the year encompassing trips, formal dinners, barbecues, parties and much more. Everyone is encouraged to get involved!
Academic Events and Support
Guest Speaker Lectures: These are held regularly throughout the academic year at Durham, across departments and colleges, and are great opportunities to find out more about subjects that you may not be studying, or to learn more in depth about a topic that is already of particular interest to you.
Research Symposiums: These are held in Hatfield at least once a term and are opportunities for students to present an aspect of their work to other members of the MCR, get some feedback, and exchange ideas in an informal and friendly environment. As such they can be valuable preparation or practice for assessed essays, presentations or your dissertation. Each symposium lasts around two hours, with each talk being about twenty minutes long. Students can often, understandably, get sucked into their own subject area, and because the symposiums are organised within college rather than individual departments it means that any one could feature talks on topics as different as physics, history, philosophy, art or current affairs, which makes them both interesting and refreshing. All students are welcome to submit their work to give a presentation, and it always proves a popular event.
Other Research Support: The MCR, supported by the Hatfield Trust, is able to allocate research grants to assist with payment of conference fees, or should you need to travel to look at specific documents for example. Any member of the MCR is able to apply for a grant at various points throughout the year. There is also a Communal Research Fund (CRF) available for putting on research related events such as weekend workshops.
Formal Dinner is held in the college dining hall every Tuesday and Friday during Michaelmas term, and every Friday in Epiphany and Easter Terms. As one of the oldest colleges in Durham, Hatfield formals are laced with tradition, and provide a virtually unrivaled experience. The MCR are allocated 20 seats at each meal, so these are not so rare opportunities to dress up, wear your gown, and enjoy a three course meal for a relatively reasonable price (currently the dinner costs £7.50, and a bottle of wine costs £7) in a great atmosphere. Sign-up is a few days in advance, and guests from other colleges or outside Durham are welcome to come and experience a unique Hatfield tradition.
Throughout the year there are also a number of MCR-only formals, where we get to fill the whole dining hall and have slightly fancier food than usual. There are also special occasion formals such as at Christmas and on Burns Night.
Many colleges, including Hatfield, host Inter-MCR Formals. These are more extravagant than normal formals, are usually themed, and include some form of entertainment, often live music. As if we needed any more excuses to dress up, they are a convenient way to go and nosy round other colleges
The SHAPED programme (Supporting Hatfielders Academic Progress, Employability and Development) involves a wide range of talks and discussions related to academia, study techniques, extra-curricular subjects and employability. A number of the events involve the Lions Network, a network of Hatfield alumni who are happy to be contacted by current students to share career experiences and advice. The programme is supported by college but all the events are student-run, and attendance can contribute towards achieving the Hatfield Award:
Any member of Hatfield may apply for the Hatfield Award for Personal Development. To gain the award, you must show evidence of involvement in at least three of the following five categories:
- College Life
- The College as a Scholarly Community
- Community Engagement and Outreach
- University Life
- Development of Academic Skills
Applications are due in mid-May, and successful applicants are invited to an Award Dinner in June.
Hatfield boasts a variety of sports teams which compete in the college league, and all college members are welcome to take part. These are:
- Football (men’s and women’s)
- Rugby (men’s and women’s)
- Netball (women’s)
- Cricket (men’s)
- Hockey (men’s and women’s)
- Basketball (men’s and women’s)
- Badminton (men’s, women’s and mixed)
- Lacrosse (mixed)
- Ultimate Frisbee (mixed)
- Rowing (mixed)
All the clubs emphasise socialising as well as regular practice.
We all know that sometimes life can present its problems, and sometimes we need help, whether with academic studies or with personal problems. There is a support network within college for such times:
Peer Support: The MCR committee includes a male and female welfare officer. They hold weekly drop-in hours and are available to talk about any concerns or just have a chat, and can point you in the direction of appropriate help.
College Mentors: At the start of the year every student is allocated a staff mentor who you can approach with any concerns, academic or personal.
The Senior Tutor/College Chaplain: Anthony Bash has a dual role as both the Senior Tutor and College Chaplain. As such, he is one of the college mentors but can also offer faith-based support. He is also the person to approach if you are having financial difficulties budgeting or meeting your college bill on time.