It’s another installment of Humans of the Village! I’m shining the spotlight on Villagers from all around the country and sussing out how they battle the stormy seas and desert plains of young adulthood on campus. This time we’re checking in at Yarra House in Melbourne and chatting to Brian Allen.
How long have you been living at Yarra House?
Since February 2015.
Where are you originally from?
Wodonga, VIC, Australia.
How old are you?
What are you studying?
I’m doing a Graduate Diploma in Journalism at RMIT in Melbourne. I also did a Bachelor of Arts with a major in creative writing at Melbourne Uni. I like the idea of being a radio broadcaster. I did an internship at ABC Goulburn Murray radio station in Wodonga last year and enjoyed it. I get a thrill out of being on air and I like learning about and talking to other people. Sport and the arts are my interests so if I can report on those areas that’d be fun.
Do you have any achievements in this field that you are particularly proud of?
One of my biggest achievements was being a winner of the ABC Heywire competition in 2011. I wrote a short story about my footy club, the Chiltern Swans. I described a day at the footy and it’s called Footy, the Chiltern way. The story was made into a podcast that was broadcast around Australia and I think that was the first time I was behind a radio station microphone. Perhaps the piece of media I’m proudest of making is the radio story I made while I did my internship at ABC Goulburn Murray last year. I decided to interview the people who are recognised on park signs in the park I grew up in. I got to meet some of Wodonga’s most significant historical figures.
I had a piece published in The Age earlier this year. It was about starting uni and surviving first year. It was an important piece for me because I wanted to share my experience of first year at uni and help newcomers.
What’s your record from getting out of bed and into class?
I’m a runner. Like actually a runner. I grew up doing athletics and as funny as it sounds I’ve incorporated that into my transport to uni. There’s definitely been times when I’ve sprinted for a bus and just made it. The bus driver opens the door and I look at them as I try to catch my breath. My most memorable dash was when I was doing an assignment that was due at 4pm. I worked on the assignment all day and then sprinted down to a bus stop. It was 3:23pm. Eventually, we got to Melbourne Uni and I got off and sprinted to put my hard-copy assignment in the chute. It was 4pm…or just after.
Where is your favourite place to study?
My room where I have a desk and my favourite and famous desk chair. It’s quiet and comfortable. I don’t like noise like music while I study because I get distracted. I’ll just sing along – I like music too much.
Is there a go-to meal you make when your groceries are running low?
Spag bol has always been a favourite. I like fettuccine pasta better so it’s actually fettuccine bolognaise. Great tasting meal that lasts me for three days.
What’s the average amount of money you spend on food in a fortnight?
Probably about $100 on the food that I use/cook at Yarra House. I usually rotate spag bol with meals like lamb loin chops and veggies. Otherwise, I honestly eat out somewhere three times a week. There’s lots of times where you catch up with friends over a meal.
If you could pick the best year of your uni life so far, which year would it be, and why?
I really enjoyed last year. It was my third and final year of Bachelor of Arts and we had a capstone subject for my creative writing major. It meant I was in class with all these people that I’d gradually met throughout the course in different subjects. It was great to see familiar faces and catch up with people.
What do you think your uni experience would have been like if you never lived at Yarra House?
Yarra House is great because you can keep to yourself and opt into social events. I like having the variety of people around who come from different backgrounds and study different fields. It means you live with a bunch of people with different skill sets. For example, at Yarra we have some great musicians. If I hadn’t lived at these two residences, I don’t think I would have balanced my uni and social life as well as I have. As I said, I can get emotionally attached to my work so having lots of friends around has helped me make sure I take breaks and enjoy myself. I believe having a pretty good balance in my life has meant that I have been able to do well in class.
If there was one thing you’ll remember about the Village later in life, what do you think it would be?
The friendships I’ve made. It’s honestly a great place to be at the moment and I’m enjoying spending time with the people around me. Getting dressed up and having a night among friends at the balls has definitely been a highlight.
You can see more of Brian’s published works below.