Harry from Bowral, Studying Medicine
The community in college is built around groups... It’s really good, because you get this tight knit group of friends who you can always come back to, but then seeing how they interact with the wider college community, you get these really interesting dynamics of different personalities of each group.
My name is Harry, I’m a fourth-year Medicine student at UNSW. This is my third year at college. I used to live over near the University of Sydney. I grew up in Bowral and went to school in Sydney.
I spent my first year living in Glebe, near the University of Sydney, which was because I expected to end up there. I didn’t expect to get into Medicine at UNSW, and all of my other preferences were for USyd, so my accommodation choice which happened before university acceptances reflected that. I enjoyed where I lived, but there were a few things - the distance and having to travel each day was annoying and takes a lot of time, and having to cook your own meals, again takes a lot of time out of your day.
In coming to college, that freed up a lot of my time to do things that I enjoyed, and also my academics got a lot better having moved into building that has a bit more of an academic focus than where I was before. My marks improved quite a bit.
When I applied, I got an offer for an interview quite quickly, I guess. Me and my mum came, and had a chat with the Master, which was quite enjoyable actually. It was fairly laid back and I felt like they made an effort to get to know you and what you were about, how you might fit into the college environment and there were lots of different kinds of people here. And then we came up and had a tour, walked around the courtyard. College is kind of built around this central area where people often come in and congregate, and that was cool to see it as a community space...
It’s quite hectic when you show up for day one of O’Week. There’s lots of people milling around in strange coloured shirts, but it’s also really welcoming and there’s a ritual of signing your name in the book with your degree so there’s a record of everyone that’s lived in the building. The upper years are very helpful in setting people’s parents at ease and taking peoples bags up and introducing you to the place.
The community in college is built around groups, and they’re made up of different corridors… and then each of those groups will have their own common room, and they’ll do suppers and organise activities together. They’re overseen by an RA who is a senior student that is there to look out for people and make sure they’re doing well, kind of the first port of call if they’ve got any issues, academic or pastoral that need to be talked about. It’s really good, because you get this tight knit group of friends who you can always come back to, but then seeing how they interact with the wider college community, you get these really interesting dynamics of different personalities of each group.
When they put the groups together, they think about the kinds of personalities that are going to be in there, so you can get these really cool and unique groups of people, and it’s a highlight of returning students’ years to come in at the beginning of the year and see who the new freshers are going to be and the kinds of people they’re going to be hanging out with in the year.
RA stands for Resident Advisor, and we’re a group of older students that are given responsibility of half a floor in college, and we’re particularly looking out for freshers (first year students), but really just anyone. I’m quite impressed by what college has put together in terms of pastoral support, having lived in a few different contexts with schools and other accommodations. I think college is quite unique in that fact. Being an RA gives me an opportunity to be a part of that, and I’ve really enjoyed the experience.
There’s a huge variety of stuff that goes on in college. There are all kinds of people participating in all kinds of things, and it gives you the chance to explore things that you may not have done before. So we have sports of all different kinds, our dramatic productions, there’s band nights, board game nights, lots of parties that are run by our student association, there’s events done by the Christian fellowship. It’s really cool because you see the kinds of people that are really good at sport then some of those same people will be killing it on the stage… People are very keen on getting involved with the community.
I think I’m going to value the friendships from this building the most, moving forward. I’ve built some very close friendships I’ll expect will last a very long time. And there is quite a strong community of ex-collegians who I still see, and I’m excited to be a part of that as I am moving on next year.