“Everything is interesting once you understand it.”

For Eligh, it’s all a question of balance.
For Eligh, it’s all a question of balance.

Diploma of Design and Architecture Outstanding Graduate winner, Eligh Wilson, is a big believer in balance. “Architecture is something I’ve always wanted to do, even when I was very young,” he says, “It’s a good mix between something practical and something creative.” Now studying for his Bachelor of Design in Architecture at UTS, Eligh chose UTS College because of its close connections to UTS. “I wanted UTS because it’s a young uni and they’re pretty modern with their courses. I like their technology focus,” he says.

Eligh enjoyed his experience at UTS College. He says, “I always like talking to my teachers – about the work and about random stuff – and I really liked the studio. The final studio project was my favourite. You got to build on something for a whole semester. It was like a real, professional project.” UTS College also helped him reach his goal of studying architecture at UTS. “They got me to university,” he says, “and they were always supportive. I never felt like I didn’t understand an assignment. Everything was very clear cut. I remember, even when I had a dental emergency, they supported me and made things easy. Things like that might seem little, but they make a big difference.”

“You’ve just got to get on with it sometimes”
UTS College also taught Eligh the value of perseverance. “In high school,” he says, “if I didn’t find something immediately interesting, I wouldn’t really try to understand it. At UTS College I figured out that you’ve just got to get on with it sometimes. Everything is interesting once you understand it.”

That ability to keep going served him well, and Eligh graduated with a $5000 cash prize for the highest grade-point-average in the Diploma of Design and Architecture program. The news of his Outstanding Graduate award came on a day when Eligh needed a little lift. He’d just resigned from his job. He wanted to protect someone in his household who was a high-risk if they were exposed to COVID. He says, “Getting the news at that time was unbelievable – it was so good to know everything wasn’t gloom and doom. I told my parents and my partner right away. We ordered takeaway to celebrate, and I think we had some wine.”

Adapting to challenges
Eligh was among the first cohort of UTS College students who needed to adapt to the challenges of the pandemic. “My diploma was online for the first two semesters,” he says, “and then face-to-face for our final studio project, which was good. But studying online wasn’t as painful as I thought it would be. It was fine. I’m lucky enough to still be living at home, and I enjoyed the extra time reading books and walking with Rufus – he’s my 12-year-old golden retriever. I guess the other benefits were being able to get things done more quickly because you’re not commuting. And I kept my room clean. I was more organised because, well, you have to be.”

When asked if he has advice for new students, Eligh emphasises the importance of balance and perspective. “I think you can’t spend too much time inside your head. You need to make time to do things properly, but work can’t be the only thing you do. That’s not going to end well. I like to keep up with friends, get outside on my bike, spend time with Rufus, or read something not connected to my studies.”

Eligh’s hopes for the future are also informed by notions of balance. “I’m interested in equality – social justice,” he says. “I’d like to work on public housing one day. I’d like to be part of making our cities more democratic. I’d also love to work internationally.”