A year well spent

My first year of uni is all done and dusted and it went by quick; so quick that it was over before I knew it. Looking back, all I see is a good year and a decision well made. From moving to UC purely due to economic reasons simply because it offered the highest scholarship, to actually enjoying my time here, I’ve come a long way.

Academic study, work and the social aspect have all been worth the price and the distance from home. I’ve met all kinds of people which has helped me expand my cultural knowledge. I consider myself fortunate to have met so many people and made good friends in such a short period of time; friends who care, who have goals and ambitions, and friends who are trustworthy.

The academic standard of UC is also one of the criteria that drew me here and I am not disappointed! With exceptional teaching standards and an even more impressive student-oriented development approach, UC has checked all my boxes in terms of academic infrastructure and teaching facilities that the usual international student looks for.

Coming from India, a ridiculously crowded and busy country, perhaps the only negative of my decision would be the population and atmosphere of the city. I miss the crowds, traffic and the general urgency that people have in getting things done. However, UC’s thriving student life completely makes up for it by providing a really vibrant campus.

The events hosted by both UC and the UCSA are commendable, especially those that are held to help ease the transition for first years, be it academic or social. In a way, the lack of buzz in the city is probably why UC has such a strong, active student body that keeps and contains all student life on a thriving campus.

To a university that has given me so much I’ve always wanted to give back as much as I can and fortunately, I have had the chance to do so this year. Working for various departments at UC throughout the year I have had the chance to provide my services to this institution and learn how things work from an administrative point of view; and I can gladly say that a large part of everything done is aimed with the best interest of students and the wider community in mind.

Halfway through the year, I realised that I wanted to play an active  part in delivering the student life that UC has to offer and have taken some measures accordingly. One of them, is being fortunate enough to be able to blog on this website which has been my only outlet to communicate to the student base at UC.

UC has a solid mentoring program and before next year, I should be officially on board as a mentor and be able to help anyone throughout the year as needed. Doing one thing at UC always opens up more opportunities and mentoring gives me the chance to be a student leader at both UC Orientation Day and International Welcome for 2015. This, I am particularly excited about as I get to meet and welcome new students and can relate to them entirely as it hasn’t been too long since I was in their shoes.

If I have to give some pointers to freshers, it would be to put yourself out there completely and shamelessly; the more you do, the more you know. This particularly helps internationals, as you have so much on your plate that you barely have time to get homesick. Also, living on campus, at least for the first semester, is highly recommended. It may be more expensive but is totally worth  it.  You constantly meet new people which helps ease the transition because you’ll soon have plenty of faces and names that are familiar.

The last thing I can recommend is to know when to ask for help. Sure, most of the time all of us know what to do and how to, but sometimes you have to step aside and admit that you don’t know something and need help; don’t let your ego or fear get in the way. It is okay to ask for help at any point and personally, I think it’s brave to realise that you need a hand and actively seek it.

At the end of this year, all I can say is I can’t wait for the next year and look forward to what it has in store for me as I know it only gets better from here. I am blessed to have had the opportunities I’ve had and am fortunate to have been able to set up a great support system, both at university and otherwise, and am truly grateful for all that has happened and everything that will.

PhD student and Fulbright scholar Emma Marshall recommends studying psychology at UC

Emma Marshall
Emma Marshall

Emma Marshall is a student who has worked hard and fully immersed herself in her academic experience at the University of Canterbury. She completed a Bachelor of Arts with Honours, and then went on to do PhD research in psychology, which lead her to an amazing American opportunity.

In 2012 Emma received a Fulbright scholarship of $25,000, funding her academic year at the University of Minnesota in 2013. Emma’s PhD research in psychology focuses on the impact of the Christchurch earthquakes on the relationships of couples. I spoke with Emma about her time in Minnesota, the progress of her exciting research, and her plans for the future.

When faced with the decision of which University in America to choose as part of her Fulbright scholarship, Emma wisely based her decision on which university would be most beneficial to her research. The esteemed Dr Jeffry Simpson of the psychology department at the University of Minnesota swayed her decision, with his specialty in interpersonal relationships. On her time at the university, Emma professed “it was fantastic”.

For her PhD research Emma chose to focus on the psychology of couples in relationships in the aftermath of the earthquakes, as “couples capture how people deal with trauma better than individuals”. She noted that couples are also an understudied area in psychology, as they are much more difficult to study than individuals. For more on Emma’s research so far, see this UC media release from July.

Since returning to UC from the University of Minnesota, Emma has coordinated and taught a 400 level psychology course, Intimate Relationships, as well as continued her PhD research. Emma loved taking the course, which she believes also benefitted her PhD work as “teaching sharpens your research”. Emma also intends to continue teaching psychology, as well as undertaking further research beyond the completion of her PhD, which will be around March.

Emma highly recommends studying psychology at the University of Canterbury, particularly to new students in 2015. Her go-to advice for all students in general is to “surround yourself with the best people, and you will emulate them”. Great advice coming from a UC student who has achieved so much!

Have you been reviewed?

If you have been reviewed, support is available.

The University’s Academic Services team emails any student who needs to be reviewed for their courses and the direction they are headed. Reviews are given to students whose grades are of concern and the successful completion of their degree is questionable.

Once a student is reviewed, they are either given a warning, excluded from their award or faculty, or excluded from UC entirely. The University has five criterion on which the decision is based.

However, being reviewed is not the end of the road as there is plenty of support offered on campus to get through it all. If you’ve been reviewed the first thing to do is meet with a Course Advisor and take things from there.

To read more about Academic Progress Reviews, the reasons, consequences and next steps, take a look here.