It’s pretty surreal – I’ve unofficially finished my Bachelor of Science at UoA, pending my final grades coming in. It feels like yesterday that I was logging on to my first Zoom lectures, learning where everything is, and getting to grips with how things work at the uni. It’s pretty reasonable to say that I’ve gotten a good foundation in science and biology from my degree. But looking back, I’ve gotten far more than just knowledge…
I gained a better sense of what my future could look like.
When I was in high school, I didn’t really know what my career would look like in a few years time, and I wasn’t really sure what I was going to do. Once I settled on a Bachelor of Science, I was a bit nervous that I would get to the end of my degree and still not know what I was going to do. But this hasn’t been the case at all. Getting to try a little bit of everything – both within biology, and within science – helped me realise where my degree could take me, and what my future could look like. There’s so many degree options and postgraduate degrees that you can choose from at UoA, and the opportunities are endless. What I also found really valuable at my time so far at UoA is the careers service – I was able to book an appointment with a careers advisor who talked me through my options and helped me realise what careers are out there, and what I could do with my degree.
I figured out what I’m really passionate about, and where my strengths lie.
At high school, I knew I was good at sciences and especially biology, but I didn’t really know whether I was good at a specific discipline of biology, or if another science might be for me. Through my BSc, I figured out that the marine-based aspects of biology is something I found super interesting and continued studying through to my final year, and I also found that microbiology, immunology, and cell-based content are things I’m also very interested in. Additionally, through elective courses I took, I’ve also found that I really enjoy neuroscience – which led me to do a summer research scholarship on the brain. University is the perfect time to figure out who you are and what your strengths are – and it’s definitely been a highlight of mine to find my interests within science.
I developed skills in more than just science.
If you do a science degree at UoA, you get the opportunity to take elective courses within science to broaden your degree and knowledge outside of your major, and on top of this, you get non-science courses to also complement what you learn. Getting the opportunity to study a variety of things within science and outside of science was so rewarding, and I’ve definitely learned skills beyond science. Also, while you learn technical theory and lab techniques, you also learn things beyond these, relevant to science. Personally, I discovered the value of changing the way you communicate scientific knowledge based on your audience to help people with different backgrounds understand concepts, which I didn’t know much about before coming into uni – and that’s just one example.
So, with everything I’ve learnt, here are my final few tips:
1. You might feel a bit out of place at first – I definitely did, but as you get into a routine of coming on to campus, figuring out where all your classes are, and how to stay on top of your course load, it becomes second nature pretty quickly.
2. Ask for help when you need it, no matter what it is – there’s lots of help at UoA, including student hubs, counselling and health services, and your lecturers and tutors.
3. The UoA map is very very useful – for room numbers, keep in mind that the first three numbers (eg: 109) correspond to the building (in this case, the library), and the last three numbers/letters are the floor and room (eg: 109-B28 would be the library, the basement floor – B, and room 28). You can find the map at https://maps.auckland.ac.nz/wayfinding
4. Things might not work out the way you imagined, but they will work out – if you’d ask me when I first started what I thought I’d be doing, I’d tell you what I started off with – a science and design conjoint in computer sciences and biology… and that’s not quite what I’ve ended up with. But like I said, at university, you get to learn not only about your majors, but about who you are. It’s okay to change what you do as you figure out what you want to do.
Hopefully this convinces you that there’s a lot more to just getting a degree at UoA – and how valuable studying here has been!