We are pleased to welcome Oscar to the Senior Student role as we look ahead to 2021, and Oscar looks forward to reuniting the Trinity community on campus after a fragmented year. Though, as he tells us below, 2020 hasn’t been all bad.
Oscar Hollands remembers his childhood soccer games being like the World Cup – there were kids from many countries speaking many languages, but all were united by the same game. Growing up as part of an expat family in Buenos Aires, Argentina, along with a short stint in the US, meant Oscar was constantly surrounded by different cultures, and mingling with kids from all over the world at an international school was his concept of normal. Looking back, he realises how fortunate and unique his childhood was. ‘As a kid, you don't really question what it's like for other kids growing up elsewhere, you just accept your reality for what it is. But in hindsight, I think it was such a great experience,’ he says.
Oscar returned to Australia to complete Year 7 and 8 at Scone Grammar School in New South Wales, before boarding at Geelong Grammar in Victoria. His childhood adventures continued when in Year 9 he lived on the school’s ‘Timbertop’ campus in the foothills of the Victorian Alps. Prioritising outdoor challenges such as hiking, skiing and rafting over technology, while also completing the school curriculum, not only taught Oscar valuable life and leadership skills, but also the value of a close-knit community.
Oscar rediscovered this sense of community at Trinity after feeling the warmth of the college during a visit on open day, deciding on the spot that Trinity was the right fit for him.
‘I don’t think I'd ever seen as many smiles per square inch as I did when I came to Trinity,’ he remembers of his first day. ‘There were hundreds of people just ready to get to know you and meet you, and it all felt genuine as well. It’s probably the quickest I've ever settled into a community because you're living there and getting to know everyone, and they want to get to know you.’
At school, Oscar was a prefect at his boarding house, was vice-captain of the swimming team and was one of the academic representatives of his year, and says he tried to be as engaged in the community as his could. That attitude continued at Trinity, where he became president of the Games Society and Student Coordinator of his corridor, before securing the coveted Senior Student role in 2020, which will see him head up the student association into 2021.
This year, Oscar has had the dual experience of living on campus and participating in college life from afar when he returned to his family home in Scone during Melbourne’s second lockdown. Understanding how the lockdowns challenged the dynamics of the student cohort – particularly for the first years who spent limited time on campus – one of Oscar’s goals as Senior Student will be promoting integration amongst year levels.
‘It's through shared experiences that you really integrate, so my main goal as Senior Student will be to create as many shared experiences as possible, such as arts groups, bands, social events and other opportunities that let people find common interests and help them meet people outside of their spheres, particularly in terms of their physical buildings or their year levels.’
Though he admits 2020 has been hard, Oscar has also seen a silver lining as he observed how strong the Trinity community remained despite the disruption to normal college life. ‘In a way it’s been good to boil college down to what it really is, and that’s the people. Because even without the events and other usual selling points of the college, really, it all comes down to the people you meet and the friendships you make. That's definitely been super apparent this year, because sometimes that's all we've had. It's been really great to see people trying to reach out to each other as much as possible.’
With a bit of luck, Oscar hopes his initiatives will help strengthen those friendships and connections … and he’s also got his fingers crossed that he makes the soccer team.
Watch a video welcome from Oscar below.
Thinking about living at Trinity in 2021? Applications are now open.