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Life at Arana

Toga-party

It's all about balance. “Work hard, play hard, and work hard again” is a statement that sums up a typical approach to life and work for an Arana resident.

You can be yourself in our diverse Arana community whilst taking an active part in community life.

Catering to everyone’s needs

Residents at the arana carnival

Arana is youth focused with undergraduates and at the same time supportive of the differing needs of senior and postgraduate residents.

We are proud of our Arana College complex for accommodating students close to campus where they can be surrounded by an excellent number of opportunities for academic, cultural and social growth. We focus on maintaining top-notch facilities, up-to-date student programmes, and quality food services.

Students are encouraged to participate in all we have to offer.

Arana ... proud to be part of the Otago University Collegiate Community

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What does go on at Arana ....Orientation Week a students review - by Jacob Jones 2015 Resident

Day one, Sunday 15th February 2015

Orientation week began with an early start and an hour and a half long flight from Wellington to Dunedin. After shuttling into the city, I arrived at Arana College just before 9am. I was greeted at the door by Michael, a sub-warden of Arana, and was shown to my room. With two big bags of belongings under my arms, the last thing I was going to do was unpack – so I dumped them just inside the door and went exploring. The first morning was full of new faces and introductions, but all 400 of us were in the same situation so it was an exciting, not daunting experience. I ate lunch with six people whose faces I can clearly remember, but names which names blurred into the sea of new people. In the middle of a very social afternoon, we all met for a college meeting. The warden, Jamie, introduced himself to the community, and told us a little about himself – and then we were back to the meet and greet game until dinner. At 6.15 we met for the general intro meeting of Arana College. Academic expectations were discussed, and it was made clear that in return for a place here, we should receive A’s and B’s. It was motivating to realise how privileged I am to be here, as we were given a history of the legacy of past students. Arana is an academic institution, a community of scholars, and I am proud to be a part of it.

Day two, Monday 16th February 2015

The second day started with a huge line to pick up our ID cards, which ended up taking up most of the morning. I had lunch, and then went to watch the ‘Town vs. Gown’ cricket game between the university and the Dunedin City Council. It felt good to be involved in my first university event, cheering with the crowd of students. The ‘Arana Lecture’ was at 3pm, where we were given study techniques and strategies to ace the year ahead. I began to feel that I was in good hands when I was told about all of the hall’s tutorials, and that all of the 2014 students in my degree achieved competitive entry into second year. As a group we walked back from the lecture theatre and made our way to dinner. After dinner was the formal Academic Convocation Ceremony, led by our Vice Chancellor, Professor Hayne, where the 5000 first year students to the university were formally welcomed. The president of the Otago University Students Association spoke, as well as the Chancellor, the Mayor, and Prime Minister John Key. A variety show followed, giving us an insight into just some of the universities cultural activities.

Day three, Tuesday 17th February 2015

The third morning of my Orientation week was tasked with administrative activities for my study. First, I had course approval at the university to ensure that my first year papers were all go. After confirming my study for the year, personal electrical equipment was safety checked at Arana and I made my way to lunch. Although these tasks were fairly mundane, the morning was spent with a new friend, Josh, who is also at Arana and studying the same course. Tuesday afternoon was the inter-hall sports day, and couldn’t have been on a hotter afternoon. We were all placed in 6 person teams to participate in a range of sports from volleyball, to football, to touch rugby. With a competitive but social nature, my team strategized before each game, and ended up winning three, and losing one game. We all wished for a rest, but had little time before dinner, which was closely followed by the donning of bed sheets and ivy in preparation for the annual first year Toga Party. It was a classic first year event which was run by the Students Association, we all piled into buses which took us down to the Forsyth Barr stadium. The Vice Chancellor later reported that there was a very strong connection between the individuals of Arana College, we were clearly buzzing at the experiences and relationships that we were making. The Toga Party was a great way to socialise with people who I was beginning to feel well associated with, and we all felt as if we were part of something big, as we were all clad in the same togas.

Day four, Wednesday 18th February 2015

Wednesday was the most memorable day of Orientation week for me. All of us at Arana College went to different places to volunteer, myself to Dunedin’s “Riding for the Disabled” association. It was great to be part of a big mission to make things better for people who had difficulty doing things themselves. I felt that I was using my privilege of being at Arana to help people in the community, the taxpayers who are funding two thirds of my degree. On this day Arana College collectively gave 1070 hours of volunteer work to the Dunedin community. My group was tasked to clear a paddock that had been overrun with gorse. It was prickly work on a very hot morning, but my new friend Josh happened to be in the same group, so the two of us worked out a system which was easier and allowed us to get more done. I really enjoyed the service aspect of this morning; I’ve done so much back at home for my community so being able to give back to my new home is something that I quickly grew proud of. We got back in time for a fast lunch, before walking down to the Otago University Students Association building to check out the ‘clubs and societies’ afternoon. I was pretty amazed by the amount of groups that were up for offer; there were literally societies for everything – even the “Society of Atheists, Rationalists and Sceptics”. I was immediately drawn to the outdoors clubs; the Tramping Club, Kayaking Club, Geological Association and the Otago University Snow Sports Club. These ended up laying out the basis of my co-curricular life throughout the year. I enjoyed talking to people about our shared interests for the afternoon, and found it interesting to see how much a student can achieve on the non-curricular side of university if they wanted to. After dinner, Arana hosted a quiz night, followed by toast and hot chocolate, before a well-deserved rest.

Day five, Thursday 19th February 2015

Thursday morning’s preliminary lecture gave an insight into the year ahead, and definitely boosted my excitement level for what was to come. Just after lunch was the Arana Carnival, where there were team-building games like jelly eating, as well as a sausage sizzle and candyfloss making. The carnival saw to be a development on our personal relationships as I began to distinguish the sea into recognisable individuals. Continuing on with the tight program, my floor met at 3 o’clock to take part in inter-floor sports. Each floor dressed up with relation to their floor name, and mine being ‘The Gingerbread House’, we were clad black with orange bandanas and paint. Floor sports kick-started further friendships, to a point where, now at the end of the year, we are a very close-knit group. We sat as a floor at dinner, and then had an hour off before a ‘speed meeting’ event, to further introduce each other to the 400 individuals of Arana College.

Most memorable moments

Volunteering Wednesday was by far my most memorable day; I felt that the responsibility of service and the act of giving back stayed with me more than anything else. It drew links back to my service for Gold Duke of Edinburgh, something that I plan to continue with in the 2015/2016 summer break. I also enjoyed being able to make connections with individuals who have the same interests during the ‘clubs and societies’ afternoon.

Looking back on the year

Orientation Week was about making new connections, and meeting people to spend time with for the rest of the year. It is safe to say that during this week, I made friends that I kept for the year and expect to keep for life. Orientation Week acted as the basis of my first year at university. The structure of the week, given by Arana College, helped me to form relationships and extend my personality to a very new way of life. The motto of Arana College is now well ingrained in my mind, Scholars and Scallywags – the idea that we must study hard but also play hard, because this is a very important time of our lives. Arana is an academic college within a greater academic community, and I feel that I have formed solid relationships with staff, and also other students, both from Arana and from the other colleges. I have become immersed in a world of collegiate life, giving me the opportunity to meet, and learn from professors and other top academic staff; and have grown in confidence within what is a very traditional university. By living and breathing in this community of scholars I have learned valuable life skills and academic discipline; and in writing this narrative at the end of the year, time drew to that of reflection, as the first chapter of my four-year journey draws to a close. I remember all the times where I had to choose between scholar and scallywag, yet now the decision comes close to heart; be both. Over the weeks those three words have shaped me to become the man that stands today.