UCSA President Sarah Platt says UC is the place to be in 2015

It’s already coming up to four years since the February 22nd earthquake in 2011 that so drastically changed circumstances at the University of Canterbury. Although the changes may have seemed slow for those of us who stuck it out for the last four years, a lot of progress has been made and now 2015 is set to be the best year yet since the quakes. Talking to the ever bubbly and optimistic UC Students’ Association (UCSA) President Sarah Platt about the upcoming year has me feeling excited about the future at UC, and also jealous of new students beginning their studies here in 2015. Not least because of the amazing opportunity for new full-time domestic students to have a return airfare paid next year for an exchange to an international partner university – subject to ‘satisfactory academic progress’ of course. But it’s a great incentive, which Sarah agrees is “an incredible opportunity that people should take full advantage of”.

Something else to keep an eye on is the old UCSA building on Ilam Road. According to Sarah, this year there will be “some tangible progress with our UCSA building. I think for us that is the number one thing at the UCSA that we’ll be focusing on in 2015”. From talking to Sarah I get the sense that 2015 will be the year that the University of Canterbury will emerge from its earthquake-damaged image and finally showcase its new direction. Sarah excitedly spoke about the upcoming year, saying “2015 is the first year that the University’s really had control of their own destiny – with our insurance settlement and all of these sorts of things – we finally get to take control and actually have some key direction in where we want to go and where we see this university campus taking us in the next few years, which I think is a fantastic opportunity”.

Despite some interruptions at University, the response to the UCSA’s 2014 survey of student’s health and well-being suggests students are certainly making the most of campus life. Over half of the respondents indicated that they are a member of at least one of the clubs on campus, which is a testament to the vibrant and unique campus culture at UC. According to Sarah “we have over 135 clubs, so there is definitely something for everyone”. And the wide range of clubs is only a small part of UC’s fantastic student culture. Sarah says “student life at UC is the best on offer in New Zealand because of our campus culture, it’s unmatched. There is something for everybody here and it’s a really inclusive campus and one that is really easy to get involved with. I think that’s something that’s not really replicated anywhere else in New Zealand”.

So if you’re about to join us at UC in 2015, get excited, and lucky you! It’s a really exciting time with lots of improvements to the campus as well as a lot of amazing new opportunities available. Sarah’s advice is to “get involved in everything that is on offer here”, so make sure you do! See my full video interview with Sarah here…

Checklist for uni!

  1. Textbooks: One of the hardest things at university is trying to catch up once you fall behind. Make sure this doesn’t happen to you and start 2015 off on the right foot – be prepared with the required textbooks for your classes.
  2. Note taking equipment: If you write your notes out in an exercise book then buy enough books to last you at least through first semester. Or if you choose to type them up on a laptop or tablet, then check your device is in working order and your files are organised for the new year. You can also never have enough pens, and highlighters on hand so chuck a few extras in your bag!
  3. Check your online timetableBefore you’re on campus try to sort out any timetable clashes as it’s impossible to be in two places at once! Also don’t forget to choose your tutorials, labs and other classes online…you’ll want to grab a spot before it’s full. The online timetable planner is really handy!
  4. Sign up at the UC RecCentre: As long as you pay your fees and levy you’ll get free access to the RecCentre, so make the most of it! Sign up online before March 1st and you’ll be able to get in with your Canterbury Card for the whole year.
  5. Enrol at the UC Health Centre: As a student you can receive subsidised quality healthcare right on campus! Sign up by February 20th otherwise you’ll miss the strict deadline and be stuck paying for doctors visits while other students get them for free. If you’re an international student it works a little different as you must have insurance cover, so talk to the friendly Health Centre staff about that.
  6. Get a Parking Permit: To park on campus you need a permit or a Pay and Display ticket, or your car will be clamped which isn’t fun at all! You can purchase a permit if you need one from the UC Security Office on 114 Ilam Road. Don’t forget!
  7. Tickets for UCSA OrientationYou won’t want to miss out on these two fun-filled weeks! Read my previous post about Orientation 2015 here…
  8. On your first day back put some money on your Canterbury Card: This will enable you to use the internet and print at UC. It may take half an hour for the money to load on, so do it at the start of the year and you’ll always be prepared!

Work at UC while you study

Student Jobs @ UC
Student Jobs @ UC

I have always seen UC as a great place to study, socialise and work and I’ve been highly fortunate to enjoy the best of all these.

All through the year, different departments at the University  of Canterbury advertise frequently with various positions that are aimed specifically for students.

Working while you study can be highly challenging but at the same time extremely rewarding and working on campus while you study just makes it easier.

Working for a university (and more so for UC) looks good on your CV and teaches you valuable and transferable skills. All the supervisors are extremely patient and accommodating of your work schedule as they fully understand that university is your priority.

The best way to keep an eye out for jobs on campus is UC CareerHub; select “StudentJobs@UC” from the drop down menu under “Type of work”. You should log in using your UC student username and password.

Occasionally, student jobs at UC are posted on the Student Job Search website, but your best bet is to follow CareerHub.

So if you’re keen,  get yourself some valuable skills and build some lasting internal connections.