Salient: Victoria University Students' Paper. Vol. 25. No. 13. 1962
This article was written by Hugh Mill. a fresher at Weir House, Vic's only male hostel. Hugh is an old boy of Hastings Boys' High School, He is doing an Arts course and thinks he may major in History.
An education is not obtained just by the ability to remember facts. It's a lot more, as everybody at University will never get tired of mouthing at you.
But certain things do underlie it: the ability to be honest and decent in relationships with other people; to bear easily and good-naturedly what is offensive in others; and to be as natural and as reasonable with your associates as possible. These are essential components of that much-laboured idea, education.
Underneath such things as an appreciation for the arts, the formation of one's own opinions and respect for those of other people, and a capacity for logical and intelligent argument, lies the essential need to understand, appreciate and just get on with other people.
Much of this can be learnt at University, but it is in a University Hostel that you have probably the greatest chance to develop and expand your mind and create a proper and keen sense of judgment.
For living with ninety-six other boys requires some changes in the individual to enable him to live more easily with others. This necessity comes with adulthood, when a man must set a lot of his own standards of behaviour, rather than having them imposed on him from above.
This is part of the maturing of character and personality—important if a student is to get the greatest benefit from University, and a wider outlook on life in general.
Boys who have been held in high esteem either on the sportsground or in the classroom at their secondary school sometimes arrive at University with an exaggerated feeling of their own importance. Hostel life can be largely responsible for a change in this attitude, for when selection is on a merit basis, the "intelligent" fresher finds himself mixed with ninety other intelligent students, and a feeling of humility often replaces that of importance.
One of the greatest things about a hostel is its variety. Life anywhere is both exciting and routine, but at a hostel such as Weir, the exciting times outweigh the dull ones. Amusement is sometimes unexpected, as when we found a car parked inside the House foyer, surrounded by no-parking and detour signs early this year.
But the memories that we hold are also of the friendships, conceived here and carried on long after, Arguments and practical jokes, rugby games and coffee evenings—these are where these friendships are born. Of all the ties we make at University, the bonds of these friendships are the longest-lasting and the most rewarding.
The hostel helps to answer the problem that the new student finds in getting to know the University and settling into its way of life as quickly as possible. It is an integral part of the University, and as a result the atmosphere of the University is soon developed.
The fresher gets acquainted with a organization quickly, and this allows him to participate in Varsity functions right from the beginning of Orientation Week. He immediately forms a basis for his activities throughout the year.
The sense of responsibility which comes with maturity must partly be attained by you alone, but much can be taught and developed by example.
Mixing freely with older and more mature students is a process which becomes easier with every year at Weir. By talking with them and heeding their advice the fresher can help himself to cultivate this sense of responsibility to himself and to the community.
These are the advantages of living at Weir or any other Varsity hostel. There are numerous temptations, mostly exaggerated, but they are the temptations of adulthood, and the student can learn to face them in an adult manner, A first year spent at a hostel is never a wasted one — it may at least be a chance for the student to discover his own weaknesses, and at the best a strong and dependable basis for study.