Customer in the Spotlight: Tess Robb
Updated: Nov 3
Local Swinburne University student Tess Robb not only studies full-time, but she also volunteers for her student union, participates in multiple university clubs and societies, and works casually as a nanny. “I like to keep busy or I get bored.”
Tess grew up in Torquay with her grandparents and is the youngest of four siblings. She attended Surf Coast Secondary College where she was the sports captain and also gained her passion for law, putting it down to well-taught legal studies classes.
Tess is now in her second year of a Bachelor of Law and Bachelor of Criminology at Swinburne University with hopes of becoming a criminal lawyer after graduation, because “defending someone who can’t defend themselves seems morally right to me”.
Due to the pandemic, her classes are online with an on-campus workshop or tutorial only once every four weeks, which is unfortunate for Tess, who would much rather have in-person classes as it gives her a reason to get out and about.
The past year has been a period of adjustment for Tess. She moved out of home in 2020 during her first year to live with roommates at Swinburne Student Residences in Hawthorn, only to move back to Torquay halfway through the year to study remotely during the second lockdown. As of February 2021, Tess has moved back to Hawthorn living at UniLodge with plans to move back to Swinburne Student Residences next semester. She hopes to reside on-campus as long as she can, as “I enjoy the community and sense of belonging I feel at residence”.
Although study and assignments take up a good portion of her time, Tess is still active in university life. She volunteers for the Swinburne Student Union, is a member of the Swinburne Film Society, plays social lacrosse, and has recently tried out for the position of the mascot Razor the Razorback, with training hopefully beginning next semester.
Outside of her many different activities and hanging out with friends on campus, Tess also sometimes leaves the Swinburne area, however less so now that university is in full swing. At the start of the semester in March, Tess and friends would go to events or clubs in the city, but as the workload increases her life has become more and more Hawthorn-centric.
For Tess, a typical week in Hawthorn includes Tuesdays “reserved for Beer Deluxe”, Thursdays at the campus pub Hammer & Swine, daily visits to study at the Swinburne Library, and meals at local favourites Taco Bell, Dumpling King, Fonda, and The Glenferrie Hotel.
Tess hopes to find more volunteer opportunities within Swinburne as well as the broader Glenferrie community, perhaps in the areas of tutoring or local council.
With Glenferrie Hawthorn located right at Tess’ doorstep, she has become very comfortable and familiar with the area because “everyone is so nice here”. Tess loves the atmosphere and that it is a “clean and well-kept community” where she “can tell a lot of work goes into it”. Also appreciating the distance from the CBD and the vibe here, “I love living in Hawthorn as it has the city feel to it without the crowds”.