First-year Commerce student Nathan McDonald and 2016 VUWSA president Jonathan Gee discovered not much had changed at Weir House since Jonathan left in 2012. The walls were the same colour, toast was still everyone’s favourite food and the fun and friendly banter between floors was enduring.
The two met in room D-19, where political enthusiast Jonathan gave Nathan some pearls of wisdom for his time at Victoria, encouraging him “to really make the most of all the opportunities” he has.
What’s it like to be in your old room?
It’s really weird to come back. When we came in and walked past the laundry, I remembered that distinctive smell, which reminded me that I’m back at Weir House. I remember this was one of the only rooms that’s walls were painted the same colour as the wardrobe. There were some mismatched rooms on the floor. I was happy to get the colour coordination.
Highlights of staying at Weir House?
I think the highlight for me was being part of such a great university community here. I came from an all-boys high school that was structured and sometimes strict, so leaving home I had newfound independence. University is a very liberal, open-minded place so it was great to come out of my shell and Weir House was very much a part of that.
Did you meet your neighbours? Are you still friends?
A lot of people were really social and probably not people who I would’ve normally been friends with, but my neighbours were really cool. We went through Law School together and still keep in touch. I’m actually now flatting with a friend who I met at Weir House. There is a great community at Weir House, not just within the hall, but within each floor.
How has the room changed since you lived here?
The room looks kind of similar to what I remember—most things in here are pretty much the same from when I was here in 2012. I think the only difference is that the wardrobe door has been painted. But apart from that, it’s like I had never left.
What advice do you have for Nathan?
Just to really make the most of all the opportunities that he has here. I really enjoyed my first year in a hall and I got to know a lot of people. I think it’s important to know that doesn’t end—when you leave Weir House or when you finish your first year—that university community continues. So make the most of that supportive community and make as many friends as you can, because there are so many of us who are still friends today.
What are you studying?
I’m doing a Bachelor of Commerce with a major in Accounting. It’s lots of number crunching and that’s what I’ve always been interested in. So far it’s been pretty good—all the teachers have been good at explaining things. There’s a few people on my floor taking the same courses as me so we walk to class together, which is nice.
Is this your first time out of home?
Yes. It’s all new experiences and having to fend for myself, which is not what I’m used to. It was a bit nerve-wracking my first week—having to try and find my way around, seeing all these new faces—but I’ve managed.
Why Victoria University?
I am from Wellington and thought living in Weir House would be nice because it only takes five minutes to walk to class. Also, I already had a job in Wellington and it was important for me to keep that and keep saving while studying.
Was the room what you were expecting?
Not really. I’d seen my older brother’s room at his university hall and that was really cramped. But when I first walked in here, I was really stoked there was a sink in my room and lots of storage space. It’s so nice.
Thoughts on having the room of someone who’s gone on to be so well known around the University?
I guess it does make me feel proud to be in a room where someone like Jonathan was. Who knows? Maybe his success will rub off on me and I might go on to great things too.
What do you like to do in your spare time?
I’m a big fan of computer gaming—I like games like League of Legends and Skyrim. I also like reading.