Words | Ky Stewart
For some, living with a bunch of other uni students would be their worst nightmare but for me, it has been a lifesaver. Dunmore Lang College is one of the many student accommodation options at Macquarie University and for myself and about 250 others, it’s home.
Before you ask, no it is nothing like the American colleges you see in movies. In my opinion, this is far better and far less culty. Dunmore Lang College, more affectionately known as DLC, is a place to have fun, meet other people you never thought you would, and create a family you never knew you needed. Oh, and it is a place to focus on your tertiary studies too.
You will find us nestled between Robert Menzies College and the ever growing towers of apartments along Herring Road. Blink and you will miss us, but those who you meet here will leave a lasting impact on your life.
From the outside, it looks like the Abnegation buildings in Divergent (you’ll appreciate the 2014 reference once you see it), but on the inside, it is bursting with colour, vibrancy and excitement. If there is one word to describe the exterior (and interior for that matter) of DLC, it would be bricks. Every inch of this building is covered with soft honey bricks. Bricks that residents here have grown fond of over the years. Years from now, if we ever see an Instagram photo of someone with these bricks behind them, we will instantly know it is DLC and be flooded with memories.
I am originally from a small suburb called Kings Langley. Which is kind of near Blacktown but also kind of near Glenwood. Yes, I’m aware that is literally only 20 minutes away from Macquarie but I was fortunate enough to gain a scholarship here at DLC. For various reasons, Kings Langley wasn’t right for me anymore, and DLC provided me with somewhere I could feel at home.
I am one of the very few people who live here who are from Sydney. A large portion of DLC is made up of rural and regional students who come from all over the country. Mostly from small country towns that I had never heard of, and probably would never hear about if I didn’t live at DLC. There are also a number of International students that enrich DLC like breaths of fresh air.
The dining hall is the beating heart of this college. Breakfast, lunch, dinner, weekend brunches, 9 pm supper during exams, Monday night pancakes, Wednesday night toasties, formal dinners – it all happens in the dining hall.
The weekday lunch rushes are always filled with excitement. You’ll either find people buzzing around trying to quickly eat their Friday fish and chips before their class, or those who have just gotten out of bed just in time to make it to lunch. Either way, you will always catch yourself having a chat and a laugh with someone. This is a stark contrast to the weekend brunches, where the smell of bacon wafts through everyone’s windows, cooked by a groggy resident who is still recovering from the previous night’s expeditions.
Every year, the Residential Advisors will go to extreme lengths to decorate their floors with different themes. From Disney and Monsters Inc. to Stranger Things and Star Wars, every floor you enter is like entering a different funhouse filled with memes and cutout photos. The Residential Advisors are like our parents away from home, who give up their time to make sure their floor is supported and having the best time possible.
DLC is also a unique college in that it has various student-led groups that ensure everyone here is respected and made to feel like they belong. There is an established student-led group, called Narrilila (Darug for Standing Together), that promotes Indigenous excellence and ensures that there is a strong connection to culture at DLC. There is also a student-led Queer and Allies group that provides a safe space for LGBTQI+ residents.
I consider DLC to be a micro utopia of what this world could look like if we treated each other with kindness, compassion and respect. The people who choose to live at DLC are compassionate, generous and most importantly, respectful. It is not every day that you can be sitting at a dinner table with people from all over the world and get to learn about their lived experiences that differ so greatly from your own. No one here is categorised by who they are or where they came from. Irrespective of sexuality, gender, class or ethnicity, you are a DLC resident and you belong in this family.
Here you will find friends whose paths would have never crossed if they didn’t bump into each other in the halls, or at an O-Week event, or at dinner, and now they can’t imagine a life where they didn’t know each other. All it took was one small decision to move to DLC and they never looked back.
I could go on about this place for hours, and I’m sure my fellow residents could too. Everyone here has a unique story filled with resilience, perseverance and love. So if you are ever in a class with someone who says they live at DLC, or you spot these iconic bricks in the back of their zoom call, ask them about where they have come from and what they think about DLC. I can guarantee that you will find out so much more about this world than you previously thought.