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

Watsons at Warrane: Old boys Andy & James on their memories of college life

Andrew and James Watson pictured together after representing the NSW Suburban Rugby Union team earlier this year


When chatting to two Warrane old boys about their time at the college, Watson brothers Andy and James definitely had one thing in common – their favourite memories were sport-related (hello, rugby grand final wins, and beating New College for the Sports Shield!). And really, who can blame them?

However further discussion showed that affection for their Warrane days ran deeper still. Currently both working at Macquarie Bank, the boys were residents of the college at different times. However their motivations for moving in were similar: both because of the positive things that they had heard about it; and to enjoy a more active university experience.

“I’d had my brothers and a few friends who’d stayed there before and they all had great experiences,” said 22-year old James, who lived at Warrane for the second and third year of his four-year degree (Commerce, majoring in Marketing and Finance).

“I wanted to engage more with university life, which is a lot easier to do when you’re living on campus as opposed to travelling in every day,” said 25-year old Andy, who was a Warrane boy for the second year of his Double Degree in Economics and Arts at UNSW.

“I think probably the biggest impact was seeing a lot of the other guys, because otherwise university can be very independent,” he continued. “But when you’re living at college, you see the effort that everyone else puts in, and it makes you want to put in more effort as well.”

Talking to the Watson brothers, it’s clear that Warrane was more than just a place to live – and that their time there helped them to do more than just thrive academically.

“There’s a much broader form of education – you’re not just educating the mind; you’re educating the individual,” said Andy. “There’s an emphasis on developing the people who live there.”

James had similar things to say: “We had tutors that would catch up with you every two weeks… which I found quite beneficial. Not just improving my uni marks, but myself as a whole.”

It’s no wonder then, that they attribute certain habits and other aspects of their current lives to their college experience.

“I credit a lot towards Warrane,” said James. “Career-wise, getting contacts has been one thing that has been quite helpful – it’s quite an easy way to meet people, if you know they used to go to Warrane… Also it did do a lot for my work habits… I had tutors and peers there helping me form those study habits which greatly improved my work ethic.”

For Andy, Warrane was a great setting to practice the art of real conversation. “It was a good place to talk about current issues – to have debates, to have arguments,” he said. “I guess getting outside your comfort zone in terms of your own beliefs, and being able to discuss them with other people, and put forward a sensible and logical argument.”

With a Catholic chaplaincy, living at Warrane also gave the boys a chance to grow in terms of their faith.

“The way they approached it was very supportive but not pushy,” said James. “I found that sort of encouraged me in my own personal intent to pursue my religion a bit harder… Yeah, it’s definitely had a lasting impact.”

“I guess one of the big ones at Warrane is that you can go to mass every day,” said Andy. “And that’s a habit that I started developing… trying to get to weekday mass.”

And then of course there was the social aspect – both Andy and James still maintain friendships with others they met at Warrane College.

“I really enjoyed living with a great bunch of guys,” said James. “You’re living with maybe 25 guys on your floor; all different personas and walks of life, but everyone gets on so well.”

“If you want to do something… If you need advice about something; if you need help with university work; there’s always someone there,” said Andy.

“I’d say a lot of it would be based on the camaraderie and trust that everyone has in each other,” said James. “I think one perfect example is that no-one really has locks on their doors like other colleges do… It’s just part of the college spirit.”

So how would they recommend the college to others?

“I would say go up to any random Warrane student, and ask them what they think – it’s as simple as that,” said James. “You will not find many people, if any, who are disgruntled with Warrane… I think anyone could tell you how good Warrane is.”

 “It’s a fantastic place to go to really get out of your comfort zone,” said Andy. “You meet a lot of people, and university takes on a completely different experience.  Yeah, I highly recommend it.”