Warrane College UNSW | college accommodation for students at UNSW
Warrane College UNSW | college accommodation for students at UNSW

Long-term Warrane resident reflects on six years in College

Roy Atherton

When Roy Atherton, the big rugby player known around College for the past six years for his big smile and red hair, first came to Warrane he wasn’t sure how long he would stay.

As each year passed, he says he considered whether to stay on or move out into a flat with friends, but every time the advantages of staying were hard to resist. And he says he has never regretted the decision.

“I learnt a great deal from being in Warrane for so long,” he said. “The College helped me in particular ways. It helped me understand a lot more about myself. I had a lot of help from the older residents, tutors and Assistant Deans over the years. They helped me to soften and to understand myself.”

“I don’t want to get too personal, but they helped me become more rounded and they helped me to learn to be more humble.”

Roy says he has some great memories of his time in College, particularly of some of the sporting moments when he was serving Warrane as a sports director.

“One of my memories will be scoring a try in the 2012 Intercollege Rugby grand final,” he said. “It was the last play against Basser and I scored after a 60-metre run.”

“The other really memorable highlight was when I was in first year in 2010 and we needed to win the Water Polo to win the Intercollege Shield. We won and everyone jumped into the pool fully clothed! It was a great moment.”

Despite big memories like these, Roy said he thought the little things would be most memorable – like ‘coffee club’ and just going out with the other residents for a beer.

I learnt how to talk to people,” he said. “The whole experience is memorable.”

Another highlight was taking part in a work camp in East Timor in 2011.

“You learn a lot from a work camp,” he said. “I found the people were happier than we are. They were poor but they didn’t have to worry about the things we do.”

After studying Civil Engineering and Business Economics Roy is keen to travel before he begins his professional career. His travel plans include the East Coast of North America, taking in cities like Boston, MIami, Washington and Chicago. He also wants to visit Europe too see some of the places he learnt about while studying ancient history, particularly in Rome where he wants to visit the Pantheon, the Colosseum and the Forum.

When his travels are over he would like move into water management, which he sees as a big part of Australia’s future, but he says he is also interested in roads, trains and buses.

“In the short term I would like to work for a consultancy firm,” he said. “And in the longer term move into management.”

Roy has some advice for younger residents, drawn from his years of experience at Warrane.

“I always tell the first years that the more you put in, the more you get out of College,” he said.

“If you don’t get involved, you are not going to get much out of it. I have found the more you grow as a person, the more you give and the more you are going to get and the more you are going to contribute to the atmosphere of the place.”

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