When Paddy walked into the dining hall at Victoria House, he was overwhelmed by the response from current residents who cheered when they saw him.
Just like when he was a student, he collected a lunch of vegetable soup, and then sat down at a table with Criminology, English, Film and Media Studies student Jack Lockhart, who lives in what was once Paddy’s room—G18.
The duo spent a rainy Wellington afternoon chatting about their experiences of Victoria House. Paddy told Jack that he was glad camera phones weren’t around to capture his student antics, about the epic party that “shook the foundations of Vic House” when New Zealand won the America’s Cup and shared some advice about making the most of his time at Victoria, “because you’re not going to be young forever!”
Why did you chose to come to Victoria?
I was living in New Plymouth and really wanted to get to a big city. I came to Victoria because I wanted to study politics, but mainly because my mates were coming here! I remember being pretty immature—Mum would make my lunch right up until I left school.
The one thing I remember is there were lots of similar people to me here at Victoria House, and I found instant friendships.
What kind of student would you say you were?
I’d never done that well at school, but I feel I came into my own at Victoria. Initially, I had no idea what I was going to do. I played pretty hard and worked pretty mediocrely for the first couple of years, but by the end I was knuckling down.
How does it feel to come back?
I never thought I’d get tears in my eyes coming back here—it’s surreal. I haven’t been back in 22 years, but this has brought back a lot of good memories. It was a really special time in my life when I was in this room. You think it’s going to last forever, but it doesn’t.
In fact, when I left, I couldn’t wait to see the back of the place—to go flatting and have some freedom. But, it’s awesome to be back—I feel like staying the night!
What’s it like to be in your old room?
It’s still the best room in Victoria House. The room hasn’t actually changed much except for the curtains and carpet. I’m pretty sure the crack in the window was there. The only thing that’s missing is my Pulp Fiction poster—I thought I was pretty cool with that.
Also, no one had computers. Our essays were double spaced and handwritten on refill. They had started to set up computer labs on the Kelburn campus. I remember talking about someone at Weir House who had a laptop in his room—they must have been wealthy.
Why Victoria House?
It’s quite small compared to some of Victoria’s other halls, so it has a community kind of vibe to it. The dining hall and lounge areas are quite close and everyone knows each other. It definitely has some character. You get to meet people from a bunch of different places and backgrounds—it’s a really good experience.
What kind of student are you?
I don’t necessarily always have my face in the books but I really enjoy what I’m studying. If you’re doing something you’re really passionate about, it’s a lot more fun. You’ve got to play hard too—that’s just essential, especially when you’re moving away from home.
What are your future aspirations?
I’m hoping to go into the film industry—that’s the one thing that I really love to do. I feel I’ve been quite lucky in the fact that I know the one thing that I’m really interested in doing. I’m hoping that it all works out. It was one of the reasons why I chose Victoria because Wellington has a great arts and film culture. It’s also a place you meet a lot of great people to collaborate with.
What do you think about currently having the room that was once Paddy’s?
I knew who Paddy was but I never thought in a million years that I’d be in the same place that he was—let alone the same room and building.
It’s encouraging to know because he’s been successful in journalism. I’m hoping the room rubs off and gives me some luck.
At the end of the afternoon, Paddy told Jack that he was glad to see that his old room was in good hands. “She’s a goodie—the best one at Victoria House, I reckon.”