“Becoming the best version of yourself”: the 2022 academic year gets underway

It seems like yesterday that our newest cohort of Collegians walked through the College’s front gates, met their RAs and collected their key cards, and lugged all their belongings to their new rooms. Later that day they were formally welcomed into the College and signed their names in the College Roll at the Admission Ceremony on the tennis courts, and, after farewelling family members, began to settle into their new lives here at St Mark’s and at university. And now here we are, almost at the end of Term 1, with much to celebrate from the year so far, and much to look forward to.

It has been a term with many ups and the occasional down. With some creative approaches to events, and blessed with a stretch of warm weather that enabled us to hold most activities outdoors, we avoided all but a handful of Covid cases during the crucial first few weeks. The result was a terrific Welcome Week jammed full of the usual training and socialising, late nights and early-mornings – huge thanks to our indefatigable College Club Committee for their cheery hard work and organisation in helping to ensure such a successful start to the year.

Some of the many highlights included a dazzling Arts Evening and fun Quiz Night, and a beautiful Commencement Service in the Cathedral, followed by Commencement Dinner on the tennis courts.

In her welcoming speech to new students, College Club President Caitlin Glascott set the tone for the year ahead, saying that at St Mark’s you “get the opportunity to meet amazing people and become the best version of yourself” and encouraged students to make the most of the opportunities ahead of them. This was echoed by Professor Don Markwell in his Commencement Address, who said:

“That’s a wonderful phrase – ‘become the best version of yourself’. It seems to me that all of us should aspire to become, and should work to become, ‘the best version’ of ourselves.”

Hot on the heels of Welcome Week were the first two SAAUCC sports of the year, Tennis and Swimming, and – in keeping with recent years – these two events saw us off to a storming start in our pursuit of High Table Cup glory as we secured first place in both competitions. Many congratulations to our Tennis and Swimming teams, and in particular to Ben Grima who set two inter-college records in individual swimming events. More recently in Netball, the third sport on the calendar, our women’s team come second, and our men’s team third – we are very proud of the passion and commitment both teams showed in all matches.

After three sports, we have a strong lead in the High Table Cup – with eight sports still to go.

Covid came knocking about three weeks ago, and we have just emerged from a spell in which many of our students were required to self-isolate, either as a positive case or as a close contact. We could not be prouder of how our community has coped with this disruption, with our student leaders stepping up to deliver meals and isolation packs, the Buttery team undertaking gratefully-received snack runs, and all students in our community, whether in iso or not, rallying around to provide support to each other – through streamed yoga classes, online Guess Who competitions, or just checking in with and looking out for one other. It has been a collective effort, and testimony to the profound sense of camaraderie and mutual support that underpins our community.

Other notable points of the term have included seeing four of our Old Collegians being elected or re-elected to the South Australian State Parliament in the recent elections – see the news story here for more on this – and the celebration of International Women’s Day organized by our Equity Officers, Deni and Ben.

We have launched our profiles of 40 St Mark’s women to mark the 40th anniversary of coeducation, and, as we look to celebrate this landmark, we hope to see you at our 40th Anniversary Dinner on Saturday 30 April and at Founders’ Day on Sunday 1 May. Details are here.

Photos by Emerson Fielke, Madison Young, Bianca Feher, Jackson Furst and others.