08-Jun-2016 -

Fourth year Kingsman, Ben Gowen shares his views on life at King's...

Having a sister attending The Women’s College and two cousins attending Emmanuel College, thinking about living at a residential college turned into an easy decision.

 

My first experience with King’s College (or boarding for that matter) came when I attended the open day in Grade 11 (2011). Jamie Smith (the Deputy Master) had been to my High School on the Sunshine Coast to introduce himself and explain the numerous benefits associated with residing at King’s while studying. My interest peaked. However, I had no idea of which college I actually wished to attend.

The open days showed me that King’s College was full of guys who were both athletic and smart. I wasn’t the type of guy to play a lot of sports, or stimulate my mind with complex maths problems; so I was unsure if I could really bring anything to the table. After all I was just a kid who grew up on a farm in The Glasshouse Mountains.

I applied to King’s and was accepted in early 2012 – knowing full well that I would be pushed out of my comfort zone! All I needed now was an offer to study a Bachelor of Environmental Management (Sustainable Development) – another success! The first week of College was overwhelming to say the least – it didn’t help that I tore the ligaments in my ankle on the first morning. Nine of us in total came to King’s from Matthew Flinders to start in 2013. However, living in separate Flats meant it was time to branch out – step out and embrace the unknown. I now have a couple of great mates that will be lifelong friends. It’s the enthusiasm, friendship and support these boys have given me that has partly made me into the person I am today – and I am truly grateful to them all. Although many of my mates have now moved on from College, and are living the life of a day student, there are still a few guys around that I know and are there for a chat.

The life at College is more than just the guys you live with; the staff make it all so much more special. Having Mila as my cleaner for 2 years was sensational – she was always there to have a yarn and give me a break from the study. Life at King’s would have been nowhere near as easy without the constant help from Sue, Louise and Jamie.

My third year of study required an entire semester of placement, which I undertook in Nambour. Jamie was fantastic in helping me transition back to living at home, and ensuring my place at King’s was there waiting for me on my return in 2016. For me, one of the biggest decisions every year was whether or not to return to College. As it turns out, it was one of the easiest decisions to make – the thought of having to cook, clean, catch a bus made King’s more appealing than living in shared accommodation. These reasons also combined with the main reason I decided to stay, the College atmosphere and how it helps you grow.

Any advice I would give to any first, second or third year thinking whether to renew their contract, think about how this College has helped you flourish. While at times loud and distracting, it is the perfect accompaniment to any university degree. The support available, through the tutorials and the ease of getting to and from classes, makes it all worthwhile. There are also many opportunities that a College life will provide. There are many functions at King’s that will permit you to meet and greet with a number of high profile individuals, all of which result in starting to build your professional profile. 

Throughout my time at King’s and university, I have spoken with a number of people outside of College life on why I chose King’s. Many noted a perception as to what it means to be a Kingsman, in that we are all about the party lifestyle and have little respect for those outside of the Residential College lifestyle. I must say that for some boys I have seen during my time at King’s, this may have proven true. Some have come to this College and moulded themselves into an image of what is “cool,” and left with the idea that college is all about the banter and the parties. I think it is important here to note that I have found this College to be an excellent institution where it is possible for boys to mature into young men, and progress to first-rate positions in society.

Thinking back on it now, King’s has been an experience of a lifetime, and being in my final year of university, I wouldn’t have had it any other way. The opportunities that have presented themselves to me have been unreal, and I truly believe that I wouldn’t have been able to do as well as I have without the support and lifestyle that King’s has provided.

I must say a sincere thank you to all the staff and mates who have made my time that much more special, the friendships and guidance provided has been surreal. Therefore, I think the only thing left to say is, Wyvern Brother!

Ben Gowen

King’s College (2013-’)