Kia ora, this will be my last ever blog post for The Inside Word as I am graduating from the uni! I thought I should take a walk down memory lane as I get closer to my graduation ceremony every day.

I’ll never forget my first day of uni. Walking through campus knowing I was finally enrolled in classes and could finally say I was a student at the University of Auckland. I now sit at my desk writing this blog post after submitting the final assignment of my degree. The last three years have been such a rollercoaster for me. 

I started my first-day bright-eyed, bushy-tailed, and ready for the three years I had dreamed of for the last 10 years. On my first day, I was lost in the clubs expo where I wanted to join so many clubs such as the Stray Theatre Company, the meat club, and one of the youth political wings. I eventually made it to my first class where I met a really good friend of mine and we became study buddies for multiple courses throughout our first year. 

We sat together for both GENDER101 and POLITICS109 for the first semester and confirmed we were going to study SOCIOL103 and THEOREL101G for the second semester. 

However, the university experience only lasted for 3 weeks before the government put the country into an alert level 4 lockdown. I had to learn how to use Zoom at the drop of a hat and spent the rest of the semester working from home. I finally made it to semester 2 where we spent another 3 weeks on campus before the government found 4 cases of COVID in Auckland and we were thrown back into alert level 3 restrictions. We eventually beat COVID for a second time and we made it back. Friends! I could see my friends again! In 4K! Without Zoom! Was AMAZING!

So yeah…  My first-year experience wasn’t great.

I started my second year and was hopeful this would be the one. The first year experience in my second year. This year was where when my degree got wayyyyy more interesting than ever. My courses became more specialised like digital ethics, comic books (yes, I did a whole course about comic books), and journalism. Through this, I attended a press conference with the Minister of Immigration and questioned him and the government on border exemptions.

I made a close group of friends where we would help each other by giving constructive criticism on each other’s journalistic articles, and essays and studied for those terrible tests that made us want to cry. You should have seen me shaking in the lecture theatre waiting for the test to start. But hey! I finally got the university experience I’d imagined!

We went on to the second semester and we ALMOST made it halfway until the Delta variant reared its ugly face into our lives. We went back into an alert level 4 lockdown and it was the longest lockdown we had ever faced as Aucklanders (the rest of the country, you guys don’t know what a lockdown is). So yeah. I wasn’t a fan of that.

Eventually, Omicron came in and we had to spend the first 6 weeks of the first semester was online. It wasn’t the same, but at least we had an end in sight. We made it back and it was really special when lecturers knew your name even after all that time online. 

Eventually, the action kicked in. Went into a television studio and got some practical experience, made some ads for brands with the potential of getting them used, I also conducted my own research on topics we find really exciting. The lecturers were really supportive and brought in industry professionals to help us in our research and who we could reach out to. So some students were able to get in contact with professional athletes and their management teams. Some people were able to get internships with companies. 

There were too many directions I could go in within my degree to get me into the media and communication industries. I’ve been aiming for an advertising or marketing life after uni.

Now, I’m here. The end of university life. I’ve written more than 50,000 words throughout the last 3 years, I’ve worked a job in the same time which has taught me about the professional world through writing reports and managing teams and I’ve been able to make amazing friends who I’ll bring with me throughout life. 

My time at university may not have been the most amazing experience, but it’s the opportunities that came through in the time I have been on campus which have been amazing. We’re at a completely different end of the pandemic from when I started uni, so I can assure you, the amazing experiences I had while on campus are going to be more regular than they were when I started. Pandemic or not, university will teach you about yourself, persistence, and friendship.

As someone who has made it to the other side of this rollercoaster institution, I would encourage you to apply for the university. It’s going to challenge the way you think about the world and how it runs, it’ll help you find your way into a career you really want to get into and you’ll make amazing friends along the way. Thank you so much for joining me for the last couple of years reading my blog posts and watching me grow from the 18-year-old I was to the 21-year-old I am now. Enjoy university, it’s a one-of-a-kind experience I will never forget.