It’s 10:00am on the Sunday before O-Week and I’m roused from my sleep by shouts of “Freshers up!” and Britney Spears’ “Toxic” blasting down the corridors of UNSW Hall. Bleary eyed, I step out of my room and ask, “Is that me too?” to the floor’s Resident Fellow.
All he says to me is, “Yep, welcome to college mate.”
It feels bizarre being called a fresher, particularly as I’m in my fourth year. “You’re what?” is a common reaction when I tell the other residents, “We thought you were a first, or second year tops.” I’m not sure if this is a good or bad thing, but I suppose their reaction isn’t really that surprising, I have just moved into a residential college for the first time.
Although I missed the college’s O-Week day-time activities because I was on an internship, I had a blast at the events I could attend. The Inter-College Dance Off had an amazing, invigorating atmosphere and the Pub Crawl was a good chance to let loose.
So why did I decide, at this late stage, to move onto campus? It’s a question I get asked all the time.
It just made a lot of sense for me. I was already spending an average of five or six full days at uni because of study, work, and extracurricular activities, and I thought living closer to campus would be more convenient. It would give me more time to pursue my interests (including working at UNSW Engineering as a Student Ambassador) while helping me cultivate some independence. It was something I had thought about in earlier years, but never had the courage (or money) to do before.
To be honest it was a bit daunting leaving the comfort of home (and my mum’s cooking) and I spent ages weighing up the pros and cons of living in a share house, compared to a residential college. But now I’m here, I’m glad I picked a college because of the instant community it offers. The college staff and house committee invest heavily in building a strong, inclusive neighbourhood-feel, and there are a ton of events I’m looking forward to. I’ve already made great friends and met people from all corners of the globe. As home to over 200 people with different cultural backgrounds, interests, degrees, and personalities, UNSW Hall is the most diverse community I’ve been a part of, and I love it.
Among my biggest fears was that someone would steal my food. It hasn’t happened, but it can be an occupational hazard of living in shared quarters with so many people. And talking of food, my friends often ask about how good it is and I’m happy to report – pretty good! Not as good as my mum’s but it certainly exceeds expectations.
So, no regrets and I’m excited about a great year at Hall and getting to wake up much later for those dreaded 9am starts.
Written by: Andy Wang