It were as if he had been cut adrift.
"One minute you're there, and the next you're not," Jack Patterson said.
In 2017, Patterson ended one of the most profound chapters of his life when he graduated from Farrer.
Exiting the venerable learning institution provided him with the biggest challenge of his life. He said he left behind what he knew, at "such a tight-knit school", and was "thrown into" the grind of working life.
"That's your life, pretty much," he said, adding: "It's a transition. I found it hard when I was in that stage.
"You're with your mates every day, playing footy every day, and then that sort of gets put on the backburner. It's just a bit of an adjustment, really."
Six years on from his graduation, the former Farrer First XIII player said he was now "settled" and "pretty happy".
Patterson works as a security technician at Advanced Inland Security, he's in a relationship with physiotherapist Olivia Fanning and he was a member of the Bears' premiership-winning side this year.
He said Fanning twice popped his shoulder back in after he dislocated it playing footy this year. The former Swan was sidelined in 2022 following shoulder surgery.
"She's good," he said of Fanning.
Last week, the Bears announced that the utility had re-signed for the 2024 season.
Patterson hopes to lock down a second-row spot in 2024, having started there in the grand final win over Moree in August. It was his fourth grand final triumph at Norths, but his first as a starter.
In announcing his re-signing in a Facebook post, Norths said the former Country under-16 representative was "an aggressive player in defence" - someone who "knows where to be in big moments".
Last season, the Bears said Patterson also played centre, five-eighth and lock. He scored a double in the 40-10 major semi-final win away to Moree, and set up a try in the grand final.
His highlight reel included "a 90m try to seal the win" against Boggabri in round eight, Norths said.
"Big game player!" said the Bears' 2023 co-captain Scott Blanch, a Farrer alumnus who retired at the end of last season.