The feels when you're a postgrad student living in a residential college

April 05, 2016
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Residential colleges on university campuses are the hub for the fresh, young, just-left-school first-year students who are ready to take on the world one drunken mistake at a time.  But - and this may be news to some - there are also plenty of postgraduate students lurking in the wings who are also living in residential colleges.  Mixing with none-the-wiser undergraduates can sometimes be challenging, but it’s also somewhat nostalgic seeing students undertaking their bachelor degrees.  If you’re a postgraduate student in a residential college, you’re definitely in a league of your own.

“I remember when I was an undergraduate…”

You’ll find yourself saying this a lot in conversations with fellow undergraduate students - especially when you first move into college.  The majority of your new roomies will be uni freshers, and it will take time to figure out who all the other postgraduates are. Meanwhile, conversation is likely to consist of how everyone’s first lectures went, why they hate this lecturer, and what timetables are like.  To join in on conversations you will most likely be reminiscing on your time in your bachelors to relate to the undergraduate students because, let’s face it, your postgraduate experience of university is worlds apart from their first-time experience.

The majority of students look like babies

Ages vary among postgraduates, but generally students fall in the mid to late 20s bracket. This is by no means old, but coming to college where all these fresh-faced first-years flock, you’ll feel like you’ve entered a time machine.  The question “when did I get so old?” will regularly enter your mind, especially when you find yourself mixing with students who aren’t even legally old enough to drink.


Whether it’s a graduate diploma, masters or PhD, all postgraduates have demanding workloads on their hands.  It seems like you have assignment after assignment after assignment. So, when you hear a fellow undergraduate resident complaining about the 2000-word essay they have due in a month, you’ll just want to shout, “Bitch, please - I could bang that out in one night!”

Weekends are for sleeping, not partying

Residential colleges are notorious for massive weekend – and, occasionally, weekday - parties with lots of alcohol.  While all your undergraduate friends are dancing and drinking it up, you’ll be in bed with some tea, earplugs and a good book. Because after the week you’ve had, you just need a good sleep.

You can show these young ones how it’s done

You’ve been there, done that, and learned from your mistakes.  While you may be in the postgraduate minority of the college, you have a lot of wisdom to impart to your younger counterparts. These undergraduates will get insider knowledge from your undergraduate experience, and you can teach them how to pull a productive all-nighter, how to beat that horrific hangover and how to pick yourself up from that not-so-great grade. But, one thing your bachelor counterparts might be able to do for you is help you relive those unforgettable undergraduate years.

Olivia Morris

Olivia is a lover of gin, everything Harry Potter and all things travel.  She is currently completing her Masters of Media Practice at the University of Sydney.

Image: Quinn Dombrowski, Flickr Creative Commons license