What brings you to life?
I love cooking for my friends! There is nothing like food to bring all my friends together. I find it incredible to see how relationships deepen between people just by the simple act of sharing food and I love that I can help that happen.
What do you love most about Durham?
I love the sense of community in Durham. Knowing that you’ll bump into someone on the street and that there will always be someone looking out for you whether it’s on a night out or you’re in the library.
What’s your story?
The summer before I came to university I was in a relationship for 3 months with someone who I quickly realised was abusive – emotionally and physically. When I realised this, I finally built up the courage to end the relationship, using the excuse of university.
Halfway through my first year I was in Klute on a night out with friends and had what was probably best described as a panic attack. I sought help from the Welfare Officer but found myself becoming a bit reclusive. I attended a CU event but didn’t feel it was for me and eventually I just started drinking a lot, going out 4/5 times a week. Yet I still felt a sense of heaviness and detachment from everything.
At the start of second year I was on the way to a fencing match when a team mate I barely knew started talking to me about her faith. I thought she was slightly mad to be honest but when she asked me if I wanted to go along to her church small group where they read the bible together, I found myself agreeing. I went along for a couple of weeks not knowing what to think other than drawn towards it. My friend asked me if I wanted to attend their Sunday service, again I said yes.
I come from a nominally Christian family but I’d only ever really been the type who went when my dad asked me to or on Christmas and Easter Day. I just enjoyed the hymns – who doesn’t?
But the service I turned up to was like nothing I had ever experienced. I found it amusing to watch and listen but didn’t really take part. Again I found something pulled me back the following week but this time I decided to give the service a chance and to get involved. I’m not sure I can ever fully describe what that led to. But the moment that I gave myself up to God, as my Father, and I felt like I’d come home – I felt loved, I felt free and I felt alive again.
I became a Christian as a result – it’s not a quick fix to a problem. My relationship with God is on-going and I still have struggles, but He loves me whole-heartedly and that’s just the most incredible thing.