Kim: Saying farewell to my college years

Kim is a USQ alumna who studied a Bachelor of Business (Marketing and Leadership) and Master of Management. She originally came from the small South-Western Queensland town of Mitchell, and spent five years living at Steele Rudd College in Toowoomba. She enjoys curling up with a good novel, baking cakes and biscuits, and watching the Big Bang Theory.


I first moved to Steele Rudd College in February 2011 as a very shy and innocent 17 year old who had never been away from home for more than 10 days at a time. Looking back, I can remember I was extremely uncertain about what the next few years of my life would hold. I remember thinking things like, ‘What if I don’t make friends?’, ‘What if I don’t fit in?’, ‘What if I get homesick?’, ‘What if I fail?’ and ‘What if I don’t like what I am studying?’ I had so many nerves and questions, and I now know that most of my fellow college ‘freshers’ felt the same.

In October of 2015, I stood up in front of a room filled with Steele Rudd’s soon-to-be graduates and their families and delivered a speech on behalf of all of us graduating students about the time we’d spent together on college and the amazing experiences that we’d shared. We were all there to celebrate the annual Residential Colleges Valedictory Dinner and after years of study, I was so excited to finally have my turn.

 
The Valedictory Dinner was a great excuse for a new dress!

At the dinner we all shared memories, received advice for the future and were thanked for our contributions to the Residential Colleges community. We laughed and danced late into the night, continuing to make memories and forge friendships at our final college event before moving into the ‘big wide world’.


Celebrating the evening with friends

When putting together my speech for that night, I thought back to my early days on college and all those nerves and questions I’d brought with me on my very first day. I’d been so worried about not making friends but I soon found out that everyone is welcome and no one is left out. It didn’t take long for me to make friends, in fact, the friends I made in my first few days at college are still my friends today. The homesickness I’d feared did set in eventually, but I learnt that it’s perfectly normal and nothing to be ashamed of. My friends stuck by me and helped me through it and I made trips home to visit my family and friends whenever I could. Not to mention the nightly phone calls with my family.


Friends in my first year (2011): Myself, Sophie, Dimity, Cassie and Ash 

While I never failed a course, I did fail an exam in my first semester. I also ended up changing my program at the end of my first year. When I first came to college I had feared both of things happening, but when the time came I was surrounded by support and encouragement and able to stay dedicated to my studies. I’ve always told myself that I would only truly fail if I gave up, and I’m proud to say that I never did. With the click of a button and 9 minutes, 34 seconds to spare, I submitted my last assessment piece for my Masters on Friday 30 October, and with that, I was officially done!

I often hear people say high school is the best time of their life. For me, the years I spent on college will always stand out as the best experiences I’ve ever had. In the years since I was first handed my dorm room key, I have grown and learnt so much as a student, but also as a person. I’ve learnt how to be a good friend, how to budget, how to manage my time and how to overcome the challenges life throws at me. As I stood in front of all those soon-to-be graduates and their families reminiscing on all we’d shared at college, I knew that the friendships I’d forged and the memories I’d made would stick with me forever.

 
A happy snap from 2015: Ash, myself, Sophie and Cassie at Dimity's wedding

If you’re coming to USQ as a Res College ‘fresher’, the best advice I can give you is to make the most of every minute. You will meet amazing people, create great memories and have an in-built support network for anything that life or study could throw at you. Embrace and cherish your time on college, because before you know it you’ll be attending your own Valedictory Dinner and looking back on how far you’ve come! To all new students, good luck with your studies and don’t underestimate your ability to overcome those first-day fears. With that I say farewell to my college years, and hello to all that the future holds!

If you’re moving onto campus to study, find out more about USQ’s Residential Colleges, including Steele Rudd College where I completed my studies, by visiting the Res Colleges website.


Related:

Laurie: Making the move: from boarding school to Residential College

Alice: I want to go home!

Ben: What I've learned in my first year at uni