In some ways, exam period has felt rather anticlimactic, I think that’s mostly down to luck with my timetable, but I haven’t felt overly stressed (this time at least). I’m now on break as Thursday evening was my last exam (yes there are night-time exams – it’s kinda horrible), for my Academic English paper.

Perhaps the only positive of night time exams is seeing the city all lit up afterwards

Which I thought I’d take a quick moment to talk about, because it’s a bit of a unique situation. As I’ve probably mentioned before, I have to take an Academic English course this semester due to not meeting the ‘Academic English Language Requirement’ set by UoA. All domestic students need to meet this requirement, which can be done on the basis of your New Zealand high school qualifications or prior tertiary study.

However, this is where things get complicated. As an Australian citizen, I count as a domestic student, but I didn’t complete high school in NZ, so the only way for me to meet the language requirement, regardless of my Australian High School results, was to take this course. The same applies to NZ residents/citizens who have moved back to NZ after finishing high school abroad (including, obviously, in Australia).

Fortunately, it is not a difficult course by any means, and it just takes up a slot as a General Education paper in your degree, but it certainly can be a frustrating experience. It was the only class that I regularly missed this semester seeing as it is aimed at English second language speakers, so the content could be quite dull. I guess it’s just part of university bureaucracy. I’m mostly just glad I got it over and done with early rather than find out later that I need to do it.

But, back to exams

The halls all have noise & alcohol bans in place during the exam period to help as well

During the exam period, there are a bunch of handy things put in place by the uni and halls to make studying easier. The libraries and student commons have longer hours and in the OGGB they open up a lecture theatre and labs as study spaces – thank goodness, because the OGGB is always packed already during the teaching period, let alone exam period.

Then back at Huia, our dining hall is open at night as a silent study space – so if studying in your room is too distracting, you don’t even have to leave the building for somewhere better. During the first week of the exam period, known as “Stress Less Week” there was also the *free* provision of tea & toast each night on the ground floor. The RAs make a real effort to make sure we are supported through our first exams, and they also ran extra little events such as study skills workshops and even mindfulness colouring! Which had an encore event because it was so popular!

Tea, toast & textbooks!

Also with the semester coming to a close, we have to reconsider our catering option for next semester. While most people are staying on whatever plan they currently are on, I know a few partial/self-catered folks moving to fully catered and vice-versa. I’ll be staying on partial catering because I still feel like it’s a good balance between having control but also not having to think about meals too much.

Something I wondered before coming to uni was what the norm was when it came to going home for the holidays. At the Easter holidays, most the New Zealanders (and especially Aucklanders) went home for most the time – leaving just the international students here, seeing as the mid-sem break is so short, an expensive airfare abroad isn’t worth it to a lot of people. But for this longer break, it’s a bit different. All my international student friends are flying home to see their families again for the first time since arriving here. And most of the domestic students are going back too, for at least some part of the break, be it literally one night for one of my friends, or a full four weeks for another! Me, I’ll be splitting my time pretty equally between Auckland and visiting my family in Tauranga.

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Rory Tait

Hi! I'm Rory, I'm originally from the UK but I grew up in Australia and now I'm studying a Bachelor of Commerce and Diploma of Language in French at the University of Auckland!

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