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Residents' experiences

Ashleigh Smith

Ashleigh Smith"Hey I'm Ash! I'm a Bachelor of Nursing student at Otago Polytechnic.1 I was lucky enough to live in City College [now called Caroline Freeman College] during my first year of study in 2016!

"I am New Zealand's 2017 Queen's Young Leader Award winner, which I will receive from Her Majesty the Queen in June. My hopes for my time at City College were to achieve high academic grades, continue my community work and have a good social life as well!

"City College supported me in all my ventures! They found an incredible nursing student tutor for the nursing crew. We met weekly and they provided extra sessions during exam periods. I met some amazing friends during my time there to. All my flatties this year met at City College and we have made friendships that will last a life time! The RAs and staff were incredible and were always able to accommodate to any requests we had!

"I grew up in an incredible very small rural community. We had a very small high school with around 60 students from year 9–13. When I was 14 three of our students took their own lives over an eight month period, including my cousin. This left me feeling lost, angry and confused. When I was year 11 I was offered an opportunity to try and focus those emotions into something positive. Together with a number of youth throughout Central Otago we created Sticks n Stones. Sticks n Stones is about young people helping other young people, promoting youth voice and targeting cyber bullying. It is my work in Sticks n Stones and my passion for changing the perception of mental health in New Zealand that has led to me receiving the Queen's Young Leaders award.

"The awards involves a leadership course through Cambridge University called 'leading change', a mentoring program the help further your community project and traveling to London to meet Her Majesty the Queen and receive the award. I am extremely humbled by the award and hope that I can continue to make positive change in our communities.

"Even now I have left the college they continue to support me! I play for their social netball teams twice a week and they welcome all 2016 residents to get involved with many of their activities. City College to me is more than just residential hall but a community for life."

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Jordi Woodward

"I'm Jords, I'm 18 years old and originally from Christchurch. I am a student at the University of Otago and am currently studying towards a Bachelor of Science in Psychology.

"I was lucky enough to receive a scholarship from Otago University and Football South combined which has allowed me to continue playing football while undertaking my new academic pathway. City College has been incredible in terms of being a really supportive environment which has allowed me to juggle my busy sporting and academic schedules.

"From the variety of different tutoring to the most amazing and helpful college staff and RAs, help is only a stone’s throw away. The sporting opportunities here have also been great, from social indoor soccer to badminton the range caters for every sporting body out there.

"There were many attributes of city college that drew me in here. For example, the layout is amazing and I have become so close with my flatmates because there is such a small number of us and that applies to the whole of the college as well. To me, these people are more like a family, not just people I share a hall with.

"Overall, City College is an amazing space filled with the most caring and catering people you will meet. They have all helped me juggle my crazy football / Uni schedule and to be surrounded by such a tight community has made my move down here so much easier."

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1. Until 2017, Caroline Freeman College (formerly called City College) had a mix of Otago Polytechnic and University of Otago students. Since then, the Polytechnic has opened its own student accommodation so no longer requires spaces at Caroline Freeman College, which is now exclusively home to University students.