Boarding opens opportunities: Meet Olivia Putland

For Old Collegian and co-Dux of her cohort, Olivia Putland (2019), living in the Clarendon boarding house saw her learn important life-long skills that have held her in great stead for all she wishes to accomplish.

“There are so many opportunities at Clarendon, especially within the boarding house,” said Olivia. “I am someone who wants to take advantage of all opportunities that come my way, so living in the boarding house meant that I could try new things, including co-curricular activities which I participated in most days of the week.”

Following her time as a student, Olivia commenced studying medicine at Monash University. During this time Olivia was selected to travel to the University of Notre Dame in Sydney for the day in the life of a doctor program. Now, in her third year of study, she is engaged in hospital-based placement and is working at Monash Medical Centre.

“Although I considered other health pathways, medicine was always on the list of potential careers for me,” said Olivia. “I was very lucky to have many peers who were also aspiring to study medicine and this collective desire helped encourage me to work hard for what I wanted.”

After realising how much she enjoyed being surrounded by her peers in the boarding house, Olivia moved into Mannix College at Monash University in 2020. She was named Residential Advisor during her second year and, this year, was selected as the Senior Residential Advisor. The role sees Olivia work closely with the college administration on decisions that affect students and has assisted her in further developing her leadership skills.

Olivia was gifted a scholarship to attend Clarendon in 2018 after taking it upon herself to apply and sit an exam. Being the youngest of three children in her family, if it weren’t for her scholarship, she would have not been able to attend the school.

“For my family and I, the scholarship was a sign that Clarendon believed in me,” said Olivia. “For that I am so grateful, as I knew I would be able to flourish in the environment and give back to the Clarendon community.”

Highlights of her time within the boarding house include learning organisation skills and how to take care of her herself and her peers. Under the care of now-Head of Boarding, Kirsty Walsh, Olivia learned to be proud of her own accomplishments.

“As a strong female leader, Kirsty helped me develop an ability to reflect on what I had achieved and not let those accomplishments get lost in everyday life. Furthermore, she taught me to be my own biggest advocate.”

For students commencing their time at Clarendon, whether they are a day student or boarder, Olivia extends the following advice.

“Take advantage of the opportunities you’ve been given,” said Olivia. “The earlier you realise the doors Clarendon can open for you, the more beneficial your experience will be. Staff and peers within the boarding house are there to support you to try something new and represent the school, so get involved in all they have to offer!”