My name is Hayley and I’m a recent graduate of the University of Canterbury. Last year I completed a Bachelor of Arts with Honours in Media and Communications. I had the most incredible, challenging, rewarding experience as an Honours student, and I’m now a total advocate of postgrad study.
I decided to do Honours mainly because I felt like my university journey wasn’t over yet; I didn’t feel completely ready to enter the workforce in my desired field – communications. So I decided to keep going, not really knowing what Honours would be like compared to undergrad. Turns out it’s completely different, but in all the best ways. I especially enjoyed the closeness of the class. It was a small group of about 14, so we got to know each other pretty well, and having a shared Honours room was a real bonus. A bunch of us would be in there most days and nights trying to get work done, but also having way too much fun.
The workload was intense, but much more focused than undergrad. I completed a thesis of roughly 5,000 words – something I never thought I’d do, and something I’m really proud of. I also created a blog, along with a 7,000 word marketing plan. In creating that blog I learnt some really valuable skills about blog writing, web design and creating YouTube videos from start to finish – all skills that lead to my first job out of university.
Except it wasn’t out of university. One of my lecturers recommended me for a job here in the communications and stakeholder relations department at UC. It started out as a summer internship where I worked for free to get experience, but I ended up staying on a part time basis as a communications assistant for eight months. I worked on this student blog, created video content for UC’s YouTube channel, wrote press releases and more. It was an incredible job that gave me enough experience to get a full time role as a communications coordinator.
In general, I feel like I got so much more out of my one Honours year than I did in my three years of undergrad study. I’m so proud of what I achieved in Honours, because I worked incredibly hard and genuinely feel like I achieved so much. It definitely opened doors for me, and I’m so grateful to be in the position that I am now at the start of my career.
As for my job now, I have business cards, so I reckon I’ve pretty much made it! I’m a communications coordinator for the Downer delivery team of SCIRT. I’m responsible for the communications for all of Downer’s SCIRT projects for three areas in Christchurch. Put simply, I produce communications for these projects, as well as manage stakeholder relations. We also do a lot of community engagement, which includes things like school visits. Pictured above is me with some pre-school kids in one of my project areas. My colleagues and I went in to teach the kids about what work we’re doing in their street and why it’s important. They loved dressing up in their high-vis and hard hats like the workers outside!
In the two months that I’ve been a communications coordinator I’ve learnt so much already, and it’s made me realise that I never want to stop learning new skills and ways of thinking. If you feel the same, then postgrad study is definitely the way to kick-start a lifetime of learning.
If you’re interested in graduate or postgraduate study at UC – download our Postgraduate Prospectus here and come along to our Postgraduate Options information evening on Monday 21 September.