Written by Larissa Brand
After COVID-19 plagued the world with uncertainty over the past two years, normalcy has re-entered our lives. This year, residential colleges have once again been able to live up to their full expectations of excitement, freedom and fun.
The easing of restrictions has meant that our first years were able to enjoy a jam-packed year of both internal and external events. For second years and later, it was a re-do year for everything they missed out on. It all kicked off with O-Week, where our student leaders organised a variety of events to help new students settle into residential college, university and Melbourne life. From an amazing race in the city to parties and other bonding activities, there was something happening every day.
Simple things like parties at UC (what we call ‘Terns’) and newly introduced game and trivia nights were an exciting addition to our college lives and encouraged a break from our hectic study and work schedules.
Our long-held tradition of High Tables continued on-and-off during the pandemic, however only small groups of students were able to attend each week. Now we have gone back to having these on Monday nights with the entire residential college present. High Tables are an opportunity for staff and students to enjoy a two-course dinner, catch-up and hear announcements and college event updates. Students are invited to sit at the high table as recognition of their contributions to college life.
Chloe, a third year at UC, has lived here throughout the lockdowns. Chloe admits that “COVID threw a spanner in the works when it came to my time at UC… it basically cancelled my first year at college.” However, she says that “it was nice being able to see people in real life and not merely on screens! Having someone nearby to chat and go for walks with was an advantage of being at UC during lockdown.” Post lockdowns, Chloe exclaims that “UC is the most lively and exciting I have seen since being here! Being able to hold events on campus and go out with friends is so refreshing.”
College Events Calendar
This year we have been able to look forward to upcoming college events without having to worry about last minute cancellations. We hosted a fantastic masquerade-themed College Ball at the Plaza Ballroom on Little Collins Street, as well as an Under the (U)Sea themed boat party and a few Terns (UC parties). We also competed in a bunch of intercollegiate sports competitions, including the much-anticipated Rowing Day.
Now that we were allowed to have guests and visitors at the College again, a Family Reception was held to show our families and friends around. We also hosted an Intercollegiate Open House in May and our major Open Day in August, where prospective students and their families toured our college, saw our facilities and talked to our students.
To strengthen our relationship with other University of Melbourne colleges, we took part in Theatre Sports at Queens, Dinner Swaps as well as Battle of the Bands. It’s always a delight to meet other like-minded students and share our unique experiences at college.
Student Life in Melbourne
Outside of residential college, we were able to get back into the real life and enjoy everything Melbourne has to offer. Our residential college accommodation is near the city and trendy surrounding suburbs such as Fitzroy and Brunswick, making it an ideal place to live, with many job opportunities nearby.
University College is located right next to the number 19 tram stop, which goes directly into the city and Brunswick, offering us easy access to beautiful parks for picnics, bars down Lygon and Brunswick Street, as well as the beautiful shops in Gertrude and Smith Street.
Looking back, college was the best place to be during lockdown. We were all in it together and we supported each other through the ups and downs. It has helped us form the close friendships we have today, but we’re relieved that life is back to normal.