‘A Day In The Life’ with Lee Sample

This week the Foundation Centre blog launches ‘A Day in the Life’. This is an opportunity for past and present FC students to share insights into everything from their daily activities to their Durham University experiences.

The first feature is written by Lee Sample, a current Geography student here at the Foundation Centre.

“Hello, my name is Lee Sample, I’m 23 and from London. So a bit of an introduction to myself. Prior to coming to Durham University and applying to the Foundation Centre, I was a soldier. I served in the 1st Battalion Scots Guards and other infantry regiments for 7 years. In that time I had completed various military courses and training exercises both domestic and abroad. I had also been deployed and fought in Afghanistan with ISAF forces twice, in Helmand province both in Lashkar-gah and the upper Gereshk valley. My motivation to coming to university is quite straight forward, whilst serving in Afghanistan last year I was wounded in action on a close quarter battle engagement on my patrol base south of Sangin by a grenade that have left me with injuries and scaring that will last a life time, as a result I am to be medically retired from the forces. I decided that due to my young age (relatively) that I should attend university. The Army and my regiment were great in both supporting and financially aiding me in my transition to civilian life. My friend and fellow soldier completed the foundation year last intake and progressed onto Geology and once I spoke to him I knew this is what I wanted to do albeit in Geography. I then decided to live out with my friend.

afgan 2 (1)slma e (1)

I find the commute into the Foundation Centre to be quite easy due to the majority of it being downhill. The same cannot be said on the return leg of the journey, however it’s all good fitness, right? I acquired a cycle bike and I use this almost daily. I find Durham Is small enough that owning a car is not much of a problem.

Since I am progressing onto Geography my classes mainly consist of social science orientated lectures and some numerical skills. By far my favourite class is ‘Introduction to Science’ on a Friday as I find the variety of subjects extremely interesting. A great perk of being at university is seeing the diversity of the student population. We are from all walks of life and ages vary greatly, yet we all seem to get on and help each other out in our subjects and learning process. One of the first things I had to change before starting here was to change my military attitude as I was used to being a junior level commander and led a team of 8 men on operations however I found everyone to be quite laid back and very friendly, staff included.

Since I have attended Durham university I find the diversity and choice of sport to be one of the great things about the institution. I used to play rugby in the army and in civilian life however I have been following American football for years and when I went to the fresher’s fair I was surprised to see that the university fielded their own team. So it was settled, I had to join.  We train as a team four times a week as it is the university team, as opposed to being college level, a fair bit of commitment is required. Each training session lasts for no less than 90 minutes and sometimes we train fully padded up and others it’s a helmets only session. This season we are playing very well, currently sitting 2-0! We have just taken on 7 American post grad students specifically recruited for their football experience. So fingers crossed that we can keep our good score sheet clean!

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The college experience is what makes Durham University so special. I knew straight away when I decided to live out that I would have to make an extra effort to be seen in college and make friends. Out of sight and out of mind and all that. So I make a habit of popping into Hatfield college at least twice or even three times a week. It also helps if you’re extroverted, the last social I attended at college was a black tie formal where I was invited to sit on the college executive table. Quite a social night which winded up in meeting and greeting even more friends.  All this social and friend making was a result of a spectacular fresher’s week, which in my opinion is a terrific idea.

994951_10151961008638104_515029083_n                                                                              A photo from the Hatfield College Halloween Social 2013.

So all in I now have 4 years here at Durham University and Hatfield college and with the help and education I receive at the Foundation Centre coupled with my own work ethic and determination I am sure that I, and everyone else, at the Foundation Centre should have no problem in obtaining a degree from a world class university.”


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