Third-year friendship

Kristen Kipouropoulos (BComm, BIntR '20)
14 Oct 2022

I'm originally from Melbourne and can remember travelling up to Canberra for the ANU Open Day. Within the first few hours of stepping on campus, I got the feeling that this would be the university that I would choose.

The campus was so vibrant and beautiful, and that was even before they did all the renovations to the central parts of the university. In addition to the lovely atmosphere of campus, I got the strong sense of the academic integrity and that I would be challenged - which is exactly what I was looking for in my studies. So, I moved to Canberra to begin a double degree of International Relations and Commerce.

I was studying full time and eventually began working full time too. This meant I didn't have a great deal of spare time on my hands, and I had to really push myself to make friends because my life was so busy and full. By the third year of my degree, I thought I had met everyone I could in my classes, but I hadn't really formed any super strong friendships - until I met Rita.

I did an elective called 'Entrepreneurship and Innovation' and in one of the tutorials I sat next to Rita; we had an instant connection. Both of us were (and still are) super busy people with a lot of ambition, and found our interests and values aligned. She was working and studying full time too, so it was a relief being able to share that experience with someone I felt connected to. Our friendship wasn't built on partying, instead, it was built over study sessions and juggling workloads - which suited us just fine!

I think that not being Canberra-locals made our friendship even more special. It can be hard to build and maintain friendships in a place like Canberra, where people have lived their entire lives and already have their 'cliques'. I think Rita understood that Canberra can be a harder place to make friends, because she's originally from Morocco. With both of us away from what we considered home, we really wanted to build on our friendship.

Now, I am happy to say I consider Canberra home and Rita one of my closest friends. For that, I have my ANU experience to thank.

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Story prepared in collaboration with the ANU Women's Alumni Network.

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