Posted on 09 June, 2023

DHS Scholar at Trinity College

DHS Scholar at Trinity College

By DHS graduate Peter Kalidonis

Peter Kalidonis on why making friends at uni is much harder than you think. Peter Kalidonis discovered that living with family while at university versus living on campus at college results in vastly different experiences … and one option easily trumps the other. Here he explains why.

‘It was almost impossible,’ says Peter Kalidonis when asked if it was easy to make friends when he started university. There’s a common misconception that friendships come easily at uni, when, in reality, it’s easy to feel lost in the crowd.

‘In year 12, you might be with 80 of your best mates every single day – we’d go to school together and spend weekends together as well. Then you go from that to pretty much having no one,’ says Peter. ‘Going to uni by myself, it was really, really hard. I was unprepared for what it would be like, I thought it would be like school and it’s not.’

At the time, Peter was living with his grandmother in outer Melbourne, having moved from Darwin, and spent 90 minutes on public transport each way to attend lectures. The only way he made friends was through playing on the University of Melbourne football team, and discovered that some of his teammates lived at Trinity College. Peter had never heard of a college until that point, but his footy friends seemed to love it, so he did some research and liked what he saw.

‘I then became determined, because college looked amazing,’ he says. ‘I was really lacking a feeling of community and it was something I wanted. I knew that for me to do well, I needed to have that in my life.’

Peter then went home to Darwin, worked a lot, saved a lot, and applied for Trinity College. He was accepted and was also successful in securing a scholarship. His life was about to change.

‘Doing uni this time around, being at college, it’s been so easy,’ he says from the Trinity campus. ‘Everyone’s been amazing and I’ve been able to find a lot of friends, which is awesome.’

Peter has thrown himself into college life, joining the cricket, rugby and social netball teams, and volunteering to partake in and help out with various events and activities. ‘Trinity College has helped me a lot and now I want to give back and make the most of it.’

Peter, who is studying biomedicine, has also found the academic support at college invaluable. ‘The in-house tutorials at Trinity help a lot as they are much more personal than the tutorials you get through uni. You get lots of one-on-one time.’

The networking opportunities have been a huge bonus, too. ‘Coming from Darwin especially, it feels like it's so hard to crack into things in Melbourne. There are a lot of people that have known each other for a long time, and it's hard to get into those circles. But being here, it's like fun and networking combined. There’s all the social stuff now, but then down the track the people you meet at college could be really important. For example, my RA [resident advisor] is fresh out of med school and is now studying orthopaedic surgery, which is what I want to do. He’s been an unbelievable resource.’

Peter has come to love Melbourne too, commenting that there’s something on all the time. ‘In Darwin, you might have one or two events a year. Here, there's something happening every weekend. Like you can go and watch the footy or go and see an exhibition or something. You've got comedy clubs, and my mate and I, we don't even like jazz music, but we went to a jazz bar recently just because we could.’

‘Living at Trinity College has made me feel a part of something. From day one, you feel like you’re part of a big family and you’re always going to be bonded with these people because you’re always going to be part of Trinity. And with all the college traditions and ceremonies, it’s like you’re part of something bigger than yourself.’

Peter’s final words are to not be intimidated by college, particularly if you come from a smaller town or city. ‘I think a lot of people are intimidated, especially coming from somewhere like Darwin. At Trinity, you’ve got these big old buildings and you've got a lot of prestige. It is intimidating, but it's so much more accessible than even I thought it would be and there are just so many opportunities.’

So, what are you waiting for?

To learn more about living at Trinity College, including scholarships, visit

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