Who’s in my room?

A friendship formed in their first year at Victoria has continued to flourish for two alumnae, who have since gone on to establish a successful Auckland-based travel gear business.

Science graduate Jordan Abrahams and arts and law graduate Francesca Logan visited the capital to reminisce about their time sharing room B7 at Victoria’s Weir House.

They describe their time at the historic hall of residence as the best of their life—and one that led to them continuing to share a room, by choice, after university.

On a sunny Wellington afternoon, they returned to the place where it all began to meet current residents and first-year students Shayna Valabh, who is studying science, and Sydney Brunsman, who is studying law and criminology.

Together, the foursome spent the afternoon talking ‘twinshares’, travelling and traditions, and traded tips and tricks for navigating university life.

Jordan and Francesca

What’s it like to be in your old room?

Jordan: It’s exciting but also quite freaky. You kind of expect the room to look like it did when you left, but it’s all someone else’s decorations. I do feel some kind of ownership over the room!

Francesca: Nothing’s changed, but it’s quite different at the same time.

Are you still friends with your fellow residents

Jordan: Definitely. We called ourselves a ‘wolf pack’—a group of around 13 girls from B Floor. We’re all still really close

Francesca: The highlight was definitely the friends we made. We even flatted together after leaving Weir House, and stuck together through university.

What advice do you have for Sydney and Shayna?

Jordan: Embrace the whole experience—that first year was a real holistic experience. I remember one night we all pulled our mattresses out of our rooms and slept in the hallway, and we had so much fun.

Francesca: It’s the smaller, more random activities that stick with you after leaving university. So say yes to all the silly things that happen in the hall.

What would you have said if you’d been told that your roommate at Weir House would one day be your business partner?

Jordan: We probably wouldn’t have believed them! On move-in day, we found we had very different personalities, a bit like chalk and cheese.

Francesca: But about three days in we were pretty much best friends. At the end of first year, we spent a summer in Australia together and travelled around Southeast Asia.

Jordan: Our travels led to us starting a business called Elephant Stripes—we sell travel gear that has exciting designs and patterns.

Francesca: It’s worked well because we lived together for so long and we know each other so well. When you’re sharing a room, you learn to communicate effectively so we have a really open line of communication.

Sydney and Shayna

Why Victoria?

Sydney: I came to Wellington because I’ve always loved the city. And I came to Victoria because it’s known for its excellence in law—so I thought it’d be ideal.

Shayna: I agree—I love Wellington. I moved down from Auckland and I love how compact Wellington is. I chose Weir House because the vibe here is really nice and I was wanting a classic university experience.

Was the room what you were expecting?

Sydney: We weren’t initially expecting to be sharing a room, but we both like the room—it’s so nice.

Shayna: We’re really stoked with the view we have of the city. Plus, our room is at the end of the hallway, so it’s more private.

Is this your first time out of home?

Sydney: Yes it is, for both of us. I thought I’d be homesick by now but I’m really loving it.

Shayna: I think we’re doing pretty well so far! I’m looking forward to exploring Wellington more.

Thoughts on having the room of people who’ve gone on to start a business together?

Sydney: Weir House is great because it’s really easy to make friends. Everyone is so lovely and the doors are always open.

Shayna: It’s really cool to know Jordan and Francesca have stayed so close. It’s great to see how complete strangers, who end up in the same room together, go on to big things.