Category Archives: Student contributors

Blogs written by UC students.

UC Student Blogger | How the Equity & Disability Service can support you

New Zealand Sign Language Week is coming up soon! One of our Student Bloggers takes a look at NZSL, and the disability-related study support available for students at UC:  

Celebrate this year’s New Zealand Sign Language (NZSL) Week from 21 to 27 September. The NZSL week celebrates and brings awareness to the deaf community here in NZ. It is signed by over 20,000 people and is one of NZ’s official languages.

Here at UC, the Equity and Disability Service (EDS) is here to help with any condition which may affect your study such as hearing impairment, mental health condition, learning difficulty, or any other condition or injury. EDS provides a wide range of services which includes but not limited to:

  • Practical support (e.g. sign language interpreters, peer note-takers)
  • Assistive technology (e.g. digital voice recorders, CCTV, screen reading
    and voice recognition software)
  • Information in alternative formats (e.g. electronic, enlarged, tactile
    diagrams, Braille)
  • Special arrangements for exams (e.g. extra time, separate room, writer).

In order to use the service, you need to register with EDS and need to provide evidence of your impairment such as a medical certificate or a psychological report. For more information, you can visit: https://www.canterbury.ac.nz/equity-disability/

Alternatively, you can visit the EDS centre located on the ground floor of the Forestry building. Office hours are Monday-Friday 8:30am-4pm.

EDS also offer sign language classes. It is open for all UC students and staff and you can find more information at https://www.canterbury.ac.nz/equity-disability/sign-language/

The EDS is also looking for Peer-note takers who can take notes for students who are unable to themselves. It is paid and you can apply it to your Co-curricular Record.

If you want to learn more about NZSL cheek out these links:

Learn NZSL: http://www.learnnzsl.nz/
Deaf Aotearoa: https://www.deaf.org.nz/
NZSL dictionary: https://www.nzsl.nz/
Sign Ninja:  http://www.nzslsignninja.co.nz/ (learn NZSL as you play)

UC Student Blogger | UC Rainbow Community – Finding Your Place

At UC every student should feel happy, welcome, and confident to be themselves. Diversity is an important part of campus life and our differences should be embraced. That’s why UC aims to provide an amazing variety of services to meet the needs of each and every student. 

That’s why we have our very own Rainbow Coordinator, Ari Nicholson, to support students.

Ari plays an important role on campus advocating for the University’s LGBTQIA+ community, with the goal of increasing knowledge and visibility for the 15% of UC students who identify as being members of rainbow communities. 

Ari provides students with advice, and can help you meet new friends by connecting you with other Rainbow students on campus. If there is any part of your UC experience you would like help with, or just for a chat, pop in and see Ari.

Ari’s office is located on Level 1 of the Forestry building (Room 118) and you can visit between 9 am and 5 pm Monday, and 9am to 2.30 pm Tuesday and Wednesday.

More information about Ari can be found here

Aside from a dedicated Rainbow Coordinator, UC offers other great resources for the Rainbow Community as it aspires to provide equitable study opportunities. 

Students can meet to discuss any concerns with UC Diversity Champions and the UC Health Centre can provide counselling services. More information on Student Care can be found here. The UCSA Advocacy and Welfare team is also always there to help you.

To find out more about the LGBTQIA+ support at UC, click here>

Postgrad Student Blog: The not-so-obvious choices

Postgraduate study is a lot more than the degree itself: it’s also a chance to understand the universe, and yourself, in your own unique way, says UC postgrad student Dr Sriparna Saha.

It is often said that pursuing a PhD is a matter of choice, and I couldn’t agree more. It has almost been a year since I started my second doctoral degree at the University of Canterbury. Whenever I have been asked how far along I am in my PhD journey and responded with 1st year of my second PhD, I have seen the look of incredulity on peoples’ faces ending with the same question each time, “Why.”

Why indeed?

It indeed is hard to justify choices to people when things are viewed from a lens of social norm, of things that one is expected to do, or career paths one is expected to follow. Even in academia, conformity lies in pursuing a postdoc as an independent researcher immediately after finishing up a postgrad, and keep at it till one lands a tenure track research position.

What, however, is not obvious is that there may be people who want to experiment and pursue careers that lie outside the spectrum of the obvious.

Academia is replete with stories of how the persistence to pursue a non-obvious career choice is seen as a sign of abandonment. But where amidst all this conformity is the space for the self, to bring in our other non-science passions and interests into the research we care so much about?

This is what I tell people.

While I loved cooking rocks in a highly prestigious experimental lab to understand how continents formed about 4 billion years ago, I felt restricted when I couldn’t bring my art, my interests in writing, storytelling and teaching to the lab.

It took me a while to realize that the postgraduate degree is a lot more than the degree itself. Of course you eventually become an expert in your field, but most importantly, it is an opportunity to understand the universe in your own way.

As with most other things in making life choices, the value of the postgrad degree is relative to what you want to do, and what it is that other people use to judge your version of success. It truly is about learning skills that inspire you each day to enquire and understand the world around you in different ways.

When I look back, I feel fortunate to have worked with people who have given me the space to make these not-so-obvious choices, and supported them no matter what.

At the end of the day, it is not about making it easy, but finding the niche, that space where every challenge can make you realize the value of pursuing your dreams.

This article was first published on 7 September 2020, on the UC Science Blog.

Dr Sriparna Saha is a 2nd year postgraduate student in GeoEducation at the University of Canterbury, where she is using Digital Storytelling for Volcano Risk Literacy. She has a PhD (2019) in Earth, Environmental and Planetary Sciences from Rice University (USA), where she used experiments to understand the origin of continents. She feels strongly for communicating science and art and is continuously looking for innovative ways to blend the two.

Come along to the Change Direction Postgraduate Expo (10-17 September) for a range of information sessions where you can find out more about postgraduate study options and pathways at UC. Check out the timetable and register free here.