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Where are they now 25 years on? Trinity College’s call out to reconnect with international alumni

Meld Magazine

Mon Aug 03 2015


CELEBRATING its 25th year anniversary, Trinity College is calling on past students who have graced the school’s lecture halls and classrooms to get in touch. We follow the stories of three alumni to find out where they’re at now. 

Gregory Tan, 27
Senior Manager, Social2Business, Sydney

Which year did you graduate from Trinity and what did you go on to study after that? 

I graduated from the February intake in 2006 and went on to do a Bachelor of Arts (Media and Communications), with a second major in Psychology at the University of Melbourne.

Tell us about your career journey after graduating from university?

It took me about three months to get a job after I graduated, but I then started work in Melbourne in online marketing for OZHut, an e-retailer based out in Melbourne’s east. I then moved to Sydney for a role at Social@Ogilvy to start my career in social media. Six years later, I’m still in social media but have been very privileged to have had a fairly accelerated career. Most recently, I led the social media team at ING DIRECT, and I’m now a Senior Manager at Social2Business, a specialist consultancy that focuses on using social media to drive business results.

Can you share some memorable memories from your time at Trinity?

I can honestly say that Trinity was one of the best years of my life! Some of my best memories are cramming for exams with what are now lifelong friends. Partnering up with a group for our final marketing presentation for Media and Communications, and hanging on to the presso boards for four years before letting it go!

Jonathan Barlow, Maureen Vincent and Ron Bell were excellent lecturers/tutors, and kickstarted my interest in Philosophy, Communications and Psychology – and Sue Jobst made EAP a really rewarding experience.

The Trinity ball was heaps of fun, and I still have my Trinity graduation jumper that my friend Steph designed.

What were some of the most valuable life lessons you learnt at Trinity? 

The Trinity experience is definitely one that I’d strongly recommend for international students. I think it stretches you, and encourages you to stretch yourself outside your comfort zone – but eases you into it with a strong community of fellow international students, and an academic support system. The course itself prepares you for university in lots of practical ways, most of all from a cultural perspective. It encourages you to ask questions, challenge ideas, and collaborate on outcomes. It also gives you a compressed, top-line understanding of context, concepts and ideas to help get you up to speed with your Australian counterparts once you enter university.

Anything else you’d like to share?

You only get out what you put in. Pick your subjects with an awareness of what you enjoy, and what you want to do. Take some risks and commit to your assignments and exams. Make sure you make some friends – if you take care of those relationships, they will last a long, long time. Challenge yourself by exploring Melbourne. Get a job. Learn about the city, and try new things. Most of all, make sure you have a good time – you won’t have another year like this one!

Diane Leow, 25
Digital journalist, Channel NewsAsia, Singapore

Which year did you graduate from Trinity and what did you go on to study after that? 

I was part of the 2007 February intake and I went on to complete a Bachelor of Arts (Media and Communications) degree at the University of Melbourne with a double major in Political Science, and subsequently a Master of Journalism at Monash University.

Tell us about your career journey after graduating from university?

It’s been quite a journey! After my masters, in addition to continuing to volunteer at Meld Magazine, I worked a number of part-time jobs including as a public relations consultant with a corporate communications consultancy, and also a property journalist with an online property magazine. I then moved on to a role in marketing and social media, while taking on freelance writing jobs.

The wide variety of experience helped me figure out what I was passionate about and what I really wanted out of my career. Now as a digital journalist with Channel NewsAsia, an Asian news channel based in Singapore, I am part of a team that produces content for its website, app, and social media platforms.

Can you share some memorable memories from your time at Trinity?

Trinity was definitely one of the best years of my time in Melbourne.

One of my best memories from Trinity was Big Noise (I’m not sure if they still run it). It’s where a bunch of students from the same drama group put up a performance on the Bulpadock with various instruments. I remember before Big Noise we all felt like strangers who saw each other once a week; after Big Noise we really bonded.

My other favourite memory from Trinity would be the final drama exam. While my group got off to a rocky start, we worked together on a really solid script. While everyone else was planning something serious, we decided to play to our strengths and create a comedy instead. To our own surprise, rehearsals were a lot more fun than we expected, and on the very day of our exam we weren’t nervous at all. It was great to make our fellow students laugh too. Grades aside, we all left the Evan Burge Building feeling like we did something worthwhile.

What were some of the most valuable life lessons you learnt at Trinity? 

I like to think that my Trinity year set me up for a good eight years in Melbourne. The bad times taught me to push through and get out of my comfort zone; the good times reminded me that there would not be a rainbow without a little rain.

I learned to raise questions in class and debate over differing opinions. I learned to think about any given theory and break it down, instead of blindly memorising it and regurgitating it in an exam. These, I later learned, are essential skills not just for university but also for life.

Anything else you’d like to share?  

Trinity was one of the best years of my time in Melbourne. It stretched me to the breaking point (at the time, anyway). I cried a lot, and laughed a lot. I made lots of memories, but most of all, I had fun learning about subjects and things I am passionate about. It helped lead me to where I am today.

For anyone considering the Trinity College Foundation Studies programme, know this: As your first year overseas, it may be one of the most challenging years – but also the most rewarding. You’ll find support in ways you never imagined – in your lecturers and tutors, your newfound friends, and most of all – yourself. You’ll learn skills you never thought were essential, like budgeting, grocery shopping, and cooking a decent meal.

To make the most of your experience, volunteer with an organisation that supports a cause close to your heart, make friends with people who aren’t like you. Resolve to learn something new – even if it’s something trivial. Find out what you’re passionate about, and invest into it.

Elisa Xu, 24
Recruitment coordinator, tech giant*, Sydney

Which year did you graduate from Trinity and what did you go on to study after that? 

I was in the February 2008 intake and after Trinity I did a Bachelor of Commerce at Melbourne University, majoring in accounting and marketing.

Tell us about your career journey after graduating from university?

After graduating, I took a gap year and worked with Life Expedition and Arrow on Swanston to do community development and student services.  I felt like I had received so much as a student, and was then compelled to enrich the student life of  those who came after me.  After that, I went back to Singapore and worked as a recruiter with Michael Page International.

I’ve recently just found my way back down under to Australia, but in Sydney this time working as a recruitment coordinator for a tech giant that I can’t name.

Can you share some memorable memories from your time at Trinity?

I think the Trinity year is a very special year for most people as it would be their first time living away from home (in most cases).  Studying at Trinity was a huge switch from studying in Singapore and I loved how passionate my teachers were. I can remember each lecturer and how they held such low power-distance and made learning enjoyable.

Mary was such an amusing (and amazing) lecturer who somehow managed to inject high energy and laughter into every accounting lecture and tutorial.  Drama with Danny was heaps of fun, despite the fact that drama was quite foreign to many of us and we were constantly pushed out of our comfort zone. The year ended with some really amazing drama pieces put together by various teams across the entire cohort.

Andrew was exceedingly patient with all of us who dreaded math lectures and tried all sorts of ways to get away with skipping class (not me of course). He was one of those teachers who may appear unapproachable but had a heart of gold and would put in extra time to coach weaker students.  Maureen’s psychology class was like story-telling time as she worked the lesson content into stories and accounts that helped us learn new theories and concepts.  I could go on about the teachers and classes, but let’s stop there for now.

What were some of the most valuable life lessons you learnt at Trinity? 

I’m of the opinion that the most valuable life lessons you can learn are learnt outside the classroom.  I learnt when to save and when to spend (a tricky adjustment students make when they move overseas alone for the first time).  I learnt how to cut hair for risk-taking friends.  On a more serious note, I learnt that having a strong community of friends becomes very important when you’re away from home. Invest in good life-long friendship.

We learnt to hope and pray, give thanks and let go – we nearly lost a course mate to ateriovenule malformation. Doctors had said she may never wake up from her coma, but she did and we gave thanks.  But we also had to let her go as she was not like before and had to be pulled out of Trinity.  It was my year in Trinity that I saw how generous and giving people could be with their time, energy and money and having seen the way people support each other has definitely changed my worldview.

Anything else you’d like to share?  

Work smart so that you have time to play and live a well-balanced life.  You don’t want to party to the extent that you end up not being in a position to select your top university choice, but you don’t want to end the year thinking “Where did my first year living alone in Australia go?” either.  So basically, YOLO, but because you only live once, be responsible and don’t ruin it.

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If you would like to share your career journey like the ones we’ve just profiled, or find out how you can support young alumni and current students through mentoring, internship and other opportunities, please email