All posts by lem79

UC Student Blogger | Managing Fear of Failure

While waiting for your exam results, it can be challenging to manage the fear of failure. It’s important to connect with others and talk about how you’re feeling, you’ll likely find that most people do experience this fear when something’s important to them. You can have a chat with your mates about it, or find a Student Care Advisor to get some advice, read more>

UC student blogger gives their personal experience of academic failure and how to manage this as part of your journey to success. 

“There is a certain anticipation that comes with seeing your results. A hopefulness, even if you know the result is not going to be good. That was my experience in my first year; my first taste of academic failure. When my transcript flashed up on screen, the sinking feeling of knowing I had failed a required course was unmitigated by my expectation that this would be the outcome. Back in the exam room, I knew I was in trouble when I flicked through the assessment questions. It was heavy on the topics in the course that I did not do well in. Throughout the course, which took place in semester two, I had been burned out. My first year had been overwhelming; I was quite meek in those days, and the pressures and busyness of campus life proved a hard adjustment. I also feared the possibility of failing an exam, and rather than seeking support, it was easier to just push through and see where I ended up, but in this case, it landed me in a less-than-ideal place.

Catastrophe. That is what goes through our minds when we fail a course. It makes us question our abilities, worry about the progression of our degrees, and feel like imposters among our peers. But it should not be this way. In most courses, there will be those that struggle, and those who fail. In that course it would be my turn. It felt like my academic potential had disintegrated over a failed grade. In that moment, very little could bring me comfort, but I soon realised it was not the catastrophe it is made out to be. The sun rises tomorrow. Study plans are adjusted. The degree goes on. There are ways forward.

I shuffled my priorities around and retook the course the following year. Whereas some people might be empowered by having a second chance, I
found it difficult. I had associated negative feelings with the coursework, and as it turned out, there were concepts I needed extra help with too. Call it determination or arrogance, but I did not seek that help.

Fortunately, I still managed to pass the course on attempt two, with a C+ grade. My parents congratulated me on passing the course, knowing the stress the first attempt had caused, and we used it as an excuse to reflect on the highs and lows of the university experience. I thought of how different the experience can be for other people. To me, a C+ was a chance to celebrate moving forward, and to know what areas I needed to keep working on as I transitioned into more advance courses. On that same evening, somewhere there was a student receiving a similar mark who may have been deeply disappointed by it, perhaps disproportionately. It hinges on attitude, both our own and of those around us. I suspect most of us suffer from a narrow view of success, and the false notion that there is one straight path to our goals.

There are ways to deal with failing a course: opportunities to retake courses, including summer programmes if time is a factor, and services to get extra help and practice academic skills. The UC website also has a dedicated page with advice on how to manage failure, which includes a number of helpful resources, my favourite being the “Famous Failings” page which lists the hurdles of some of the world’s most successful people. Read more here>

Failing a course is a chance to evaluate and consider the next step; it is not the end of the path, even though sometimes it can feel like it is. Eventually, failure reaches us all in some way. After all, failure of some kind is part of the process in acquiring new skills and achieving goals, and in that way, it is part of life.

I continued my degree despite my setback, and I am now enrolled in postgraduate study. It is interesting to think back to the panic I once felt, knowing now that there are ways forward. The sun rose. Study plans were adjusted. The degree went on—and it can for you, too.”

Find more information on ways of managing fear of failure is available here>

It’s UC’S 147th Birthday! Let’s celebrate our legend Tā Āpirana Ngata

Today marks 147 years of UC history. As we celebrate our Foundation Day, we’re spending this week reflecting on the triumphs of some of our legends.

“E tipu, e rea, mō ngā rā o tō ao.
Ko tō ringa ki ngā rāakau a te Pākehā, hei ora mō te tinana.
Ko tō ngākau ki ngā taonga a ō tīpuna Māori, hei tikitiki mō tō māhunga.
Ko tō wairua ki tō Atua, nāna nei ngā mea katoa.”

Born into the Ngāti Porou iwi, Sir Āpirana Ngata’s early years were strongly influenced by his father Paratene, and his great-uncle Rapata, who imbued him with a strong sense of loyalty to the Crown. As native speakers of te reo Māori, they both insisted he also learnt Pākehā knowledge and skills as they believed this could help him to improve life and conditions for the Māori people.

At Te Aute College, Ngata learnt the classics, was prepared for matriculation, university and the professions – and, along with all Māori students, was strongly encouraged to have pride in Māori and instilled with the mission of saving their people from social disintegration.

By 1893, when he graduated from UC with a BA in political science, followed by an MA and an LLB in 1896, Ngata was the first Māori to graduate from any University in New Zealand. He then dedicated his life to reforming the social and economic conditions of the Māori people.

Through his life, he became a renowned leader, land reformer and politician. Elected as a member of Parliament in 1905, he remained until 1943. As Minister of Māori Affairs, his Māori Land Development Scheme, inaugurated in 1931, was one of the greatest achievements of his Parliamentary career.

In 1949 Apirana Ngata wrote in the autograph book of schoolgirl, Rangi Bennett,

“E tipu, e rea, mō ngā rā o tō ao. Ko tō ringa ki ngā rāakau a te Pākehā, hei ora mō te tinana. Ko tō ngākau ki ngā taonga a ō tīpuna Māori, hei tikitiki mō tō māhunga. Ko tō wairua ki tō Atua, nāna nei ngā mea katoa.”

“Thrive and grow for the days destined for you.  Your hands to the tools of the Pākehā, to provide physical sustenance.  Your heart to the treasures of your ancestors as adornments for your head. Your soul to God to whom all things belong.” This became much quoted as a vision for Māori youth.

Ngata was knighted in 1927 in recognition of his services to Māori communities and for his efforts as Chief Recruiting Officer during the First World War. Throughout his life, he contributed profoundly to the revival of the Māori race spiritually, culturally, and economically.

New Zealand paid tribute to this remarkable man in 1999 by embedding his portrait on the New Zealand $50 note alongside the Porourangi Meeting house of his iwi and the Kōkako bird.

Interested to learn more? Check out the rest of our legends here>

It’s UC’s birth-week, let’s celebrate our legend Beatrice Tinsley

Tomorrow, Tuesday 16 June marks 147 years of UC history. As we celebrate our Foundation Day, let’s spend this week reflecting on the triumphs of some of our legends.

One of the most creative and significant theoreticians in modern astronomy.


Whakanuia tō tātou whetū tārake o te whare kōkōrangi! Known as “Queen of the Cosmos” Beatrice Tinsley’s work has had a profound influence on what scientists know about stars, the galaxy and the Universe itself.

Deciding by the age of 14 that she wanted to be an astrophysicist, she graduated from UC with an MSc in Physics with First Class Honours in 1961. She then completed her PhD on the evolution of universes at the University of Texas in just two years, receiving marks of 99% and 100%.

In 1974, she left Texas for a one year fellowship at the Lick Observatory of the University of California, before gaining an assistant professorship at Yale University. She became Professor of Astronomy at Yale in 1978, the same year she was diagnosed with melanoma.

She continued to publish until shortly before her death in 1981, producing over 100 scientific papers in her short 14 year academic career. She received a number of honours and accolades for her work. In 1986 the American Astronomical Society established the Beatrice M Tinsley Prize for outstanding creative contributions to astronomy or astrophysics and the University of Texas created a visiting professorship in astronomy in her honour.

The immense importance of her work was finally recognised in Aotearoa New Zealand in 2010 when Ngā Pou Taunaha o Aotearoa | New Zealand Geographic Board named a mountain in her honour. Mt Tinsley stands at a proud 1,537 metres in the Kepler Mountains of Te Whakataka-kārehua-ā-Tamatea Fiordland, 15 kilometres west of Te Ana-au.

Now UC Science precinct’s impressive timber framed building, is also named for her. Interested to learn more? Check out the rest of our legends here>