Although the NCEA level 3 exams were months ago, I still vividly remember how stressed and anxious I was. My stomach was turning, my head was dizzy, and I felt like I was going to… Who am I kidding? I’m just being overdramatic. I studied for two hours the day before my maths exam. I was not expecting much. I was very stressed and anxious about starting university though. To many people, the transition from high school to tertiary education could be pretty scary and stressful. It was the same for me. However, going through the Summer Start programme helped me calm down a bit.


The basics of Summer Start:
  • Summer Start is a six-week programme allowing high school leavers to start their university journey early. 
  • If you are eligible for the fees free initiative, this programme will be free for you. (There are other charges like the tuition cost that may apply, but the fees free initiative should be able to pay for it if you are eligible.)
  • In terms of academics, Summer Start is the same as any regular summer school semester. The content taught will be the same, just in a shorter time frame (6 weeks). 
  • You get split into different groups, with each group led by a summer start leader who will pretty much help you with anything (these groups are primarily for group activities that might happen every so often).
  • The programme is also available to international students. (Called Summer Start International)
  • It’s not always about studying. Summer Start is filled with fun events and opportunities which will definitely help you enjoy university life more.


Why Summer Start was able to motivate a person as lazy as me:

Being a pretty socially awkward person, I knew making new friends would be a big problem/challenge for me. So one of the primary reasons I did Summer Start was to force myself to socialize basically. Yes, I know the icebreaker games can be awkward and childish at times, but trust me, this time, it’s worth it. Another very important reason was that it gave me a reason and the chance to find and memorize as many toilets and water fountains as I could. (I don’t know about you, but I think finding a toilet that you like is just as crucial as finding where your lecture rooms are.)


What have I gained/learned from Summer Start:
  • The chance to meet so many new people and make some friends
  • Free water bottle and tote bag
  • Become familiar with the functions of canvas and SSO
  • The wisdom of our Summer Start leaders
  • The ability to not get lost and accidentally walk into an AUT building 



Many events were happening, so I will list some events that I thought were pretty fun and/or helpful.

  • Study/help sessions for specific courses held by Summer Start leaders
  • Karaoke night
  • Sports Afternoons
  • Waiheke Island trip (for international students and their +1)
  • Final event (I won’t spoil it for you.)


Final Thoughts:

I always thought of university as very stressful place. Just imagining the pressure and the workload sends me down a spiral of non-stop worrying. Now that I’ve started a regular length semester, I can say for sure that I wasn’t wrong to worry, but I’ve also come to realize that there’s more to university than just the work. So I think Summer Start is an excellent place to start or try out university life. It will show you that university is not as bad as we thought it would be.


TLDR (Too Long Didn’t Read):

Summer Start good, you should do.