The University of Canterbury has a proud history of producing high quality graduates and Crusaders stars Ben Funnell, Luke Whitelock and Colin Slade are no exception.
Crusaders hooker Funnell is a Bachelor of Commerce graduate, Whitelock completed a Bachelor of Commerce in management, while Slade did a Bachelor of Arts with a double major in history and media and communications.
Funnell, who majored in accounting and taxation, says he chose to study at UC because of the ability to have a good balance of study and sport.
“I saw Christchurch as having a good environment for sport and also the academic side at Canterbury – there was a good life balance between sport, studies and student life.”
Funnell says this degree will allow him to get involved in any sort of business.
“It has opened up a different way of thinking when you come to look at different problems. You have background knowledge and you have an advantage over people when you have that background.”
Funnell’s advice to students is to make sure you know what you want to do when planning a degree.
“Make sure that you have a good study/life balance and base your degree around what your dream job would be,” says Funnell.
Whitelock says his degree has allowed him to manage his time effectively, both on and off the field.
“The biggest thing I have learnt is time management; I am able to plan ahead. When doing my degree I had to see a lot of lecturers outside of class due to my rugby commitments. They were really helpful and understood the situation. As long as I was prepared to work, they were prepared to help me.”
Whitelock says one of the best things about studying at UC was meeting people from a variety of backgrounds and, despite his heavy workload, he is pleased he kept going.
“The best thing was meeting people outside of rugby and having a really good time in the halls and flatting with my mates. The student life was great to be a part of — it gave me a taste of other things outside of rugby.
“It was tough, especially when we were in South Africa last year. I was sitting in a hotel room studying while the guys were out shark diving. But I am glad that I stuck at it,” says Whitelock.
Whitelock says it is really important to enjoy university and get the right balance between study and social life.
“Enjoy it while you are there. At the end of the day, you have to get the balance right. For me it was good — rugby was an outlet and study was a different outlet and I had a really good time.”
First five Colin Slade says he chose to stay in Christchurch and study at UC not only because of rugby but because of the courses UC offered.
“I studied here because of rugby, but Canterbury appealed to me because of the courses that I was interested in – history and geography.
“University ultimately prepares you for basic workplace skills like meeting briefs and deadlines, and I think that is really important. UC was flexible for my rugby career. It was perfect for me and I had great lecturers. With being away a bit and working online, they were really helpful and it suited me, allowing me to train and get through.”
Slade says that he really enjoyed the student lifestyle and hopes that his degree will give him a head start after rugby.
“I liked the lifestyle of being a student. It suited me to a tee. Being involved with people my own age was really important, at the same time learning to meet deadlines and finishing my work.
“Hopefully, now I have something to help me after rugby and give me a head start in the job market. At the end of the day, I have the qualification so when I eventually hit the workforce I will have a leg up.”
Slade says he is really proud of the fact that he has a degree, despite a few years’ absence from the last few papers.
“I am quite proud of the fact that I went to university and got a degree. I am a big believer that when you start something you try your best to finish it and I am really proud of the fact that I went back and finished my degree.”