Samantha Unger (1993)

Now, while working as a management consultant for Deloitte in the UK, supporting clients going through large scale change, I look back at my time at Queen’s and my first thoughts that come flooding back are ones of sheer fun. There was a sense of the ridiculous and friendship – with memories ranging from jumping up and down on the banks of the Yarra with watermelons… to lounging around in the corridors (literally) in the middle of the night chatting…. to seeing how high boiled eggs could be thrown in the dining hall.   Whilst these friendships may have started amongst the rituals of College life, they have stood the test of time and I count some of my closest friends as those I met oh so long ago at Queen’s.

 Aside from the incredible friendships, I think Queen’s made an indelible impact on me because of the sense of community and support that it gave each and every one of us.  I suspect that university life would have been much harder to navigate without the support structures of Queen’s. Having 200 odd ‘readymade’ friends certainly helped me find a place within university life.

My role as the first female GC President was a great learning experience – only made possible by the fact I had an amazing GC. In hindsight, I think that at the time I was more focussed on simply being accepted as any other president would have been and not wanting to focus on the fact that I was the first female president.  Whilst I think someone’s gender should not impact upon their getting a role – I would have told my younger self to reflect more on the fact I was the first female president.

In so many ways as a society, we have come a long way in the 50 years since women resided at Queen’s.  And, indeed my life at Queen’s was an incredible microcosm of celebrating and supporting everyone, no matter who or where they came from.

However, recent global events are a stark reminder that we can’t take freedoms and equality for granted.  No, I am not talking about a war-torn country like Afghanistan – but Spain.  The aftermath of the Spanish women’s football team victory was a heart-breaking reminder that we can’t be complacent in ensuring our society is a fair and equal place for all.  Michelle Obama so eloquently reminds us: 

“You cannot take your freedoms for granted. Just like generations who have come before you, you have to do your part to preserve and protect those freedoms… you need to be preparing yourself to add your voice to our national conversation.”- during her final speech as First Lady.

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