How Melbourne Uni has let Tom study science, music, Spanish and literature all at once

By Emily McAuliffe

For Tom Poynton, the University of Melbourne offers the course flexibility he wants, while living on campus at Trinity College offers both convenience and community.

Tom Poynton

Tom Poynton developed an interest in music during his school years in Bairnsdale, where he picked up the saxophone and bassoon, and when he graduated from high school, he didn’t want to give his instruments up.

When researching universities, Tom found that the University of Melbourne would let him combine a Bachelor of Science with a Diploma of Music, while also allowing him to take subjects like Spanish and literature as part of his bachelor’s degree via the Melbourne Curriculum. It was the perfect combination that would let him explore his interests while working out possible postgraduate study options and his eventual career path.

To supplement his university experience, Tom was keen to live on campus for at least a year in order to meet people and feel a part of a likeminded community. ‘I didn’t really have any expectations, but I knew I wanted to try it out,’ he says.

When it came to choosing a college, Tom was set on Trinity College, given he’d visited the college during high school when attending a music exam in Melbourne. ‘The campus is so nice, it’s beautiful,’ he says of his now home. ‘I love being close to everything, like the city and the uni.’

Tom also found that the students at Trinity seemed to strike a good balance between studying, socialising and other activities like clubs and sport. ‘Everyone has a really strong work ethic, which is great to be around, but everyone has a lot of fun as well. It’s a good balance,’ he says. ‘It’s very supportive and there are a lot of great people who are very friendly.’

Given his positive experiences at Melbourne University and Trinity College, even during the pandemic, Tom recommends that other students who grew up in smaller towns give the big city and on-campus living a go.

‘It's a great experience, even if you can only live at college for a year,’ he says. ‘It's just a totally different world in Melbourne compared to Bairnsdale. It can be overwhelming, but, overall, I think it’s quite rewarding given all the people you meet. Even if you go into the city or to [a Melbourne suburb like] Brunswick, you’ll often see someone you know from college, which is always really nice.’

When you’re surrounded by a tight-knit community, it turns out the big city doesn’t always feel so big after all.


08 Oct 2021