Category Archives: Auckland campus

WHEN NOTHING GOES RIGHT…

By Eva Izard
Degree: Bachelor of Communication
Campus: Wellington

A step by step guide to handling those below average days.

So, you had a rough day. Nothing went right and despite trying to remain defiantly positive, everything is actually just bloody hard. Sound familiar?

The truth is that we’ve all been there. We all know what it feels like to arrive home and to want nothing more than to curl up into a little ball of nothingness. This sounds serious, but something as minor as the weather can have a serious impact on our mood. But back to the ball of nothingness. Pro tip, don’t actually do that. Don’t curl up. Unless of course you really want to, then don’t let me tell you what you should and shouldn’t do.

But if you want to get out of your funk, stay tuned for my top 10 tips. If they don’t work, then you may feel free to curl up, because sometimes that actually is all you need.

1. Have a good cry (if you need to). Or you can scream, or punch a pillow. Anything that releases the tension. Seriously, it’s never healthy to bottle this stuff up. Listen to your body, feel the emotion and set it free.

2. Take off your clothes. Have a shower. Wash off the day. Wash off the embarrassment, the exhaustion, the workload. Whatever attached itself to you and wore you down, wash it off. Bonus points for using some sort of nice shower gel, you might still be sad but at least you’ll smell good.

3. Put on something really comfy. It might be your favourite tights, it might be your pyjamas, it might even be your exercise gear. If it is, consider going for a run. Running is a great outlet for anger and frustration, so it depends how you feel! If you do want to take it out on the pavement, feel free to raincheck step two. You can come back to that after. Chances are you’ll feel instantly better anyway. All about that #endorphinlife.

4. Boil the jug. This is a very important step because you’re going to need a cup of tea. I’d recommend camomile, but that’s just me. If what you need is an 800ml energy drink, then you do you. Also, even if you make the cup of tea and forget about it, that’s okay too. Sometimes just the idea of it is therapeutic enough, that’s the power of tea (I know, it’s beyond me…).

5. Put on some mellow tunes. You know what I’m talking about, some calming and chill indie beats. This is totally interchangeable, if you’d rather listen to Black Sabbath, I support that! My go to is usually Coldplay, because who doesn’t like to listen to sad things when they’re already sad to make them sadder? Kidding. For some reason it seems to have the opposite effect.

6. Talk to someone. Vent to your flatmate, your mum, your cat – basically anything that will listen (pin them down if you have to). This ALWAYS helps. Sometimes you don’t really even know what’s actually making you sad until you open your mouth. True story. Bonus points if your chosen person (or animal) can offer some solid advice.

7. Don’t scroll away your worries. This is not possible. This is never possible. Avoid social media. The last thing you need is to be staring at a screen seeing what a great time everyone else is having. I repeat, this will not help. Hide your phone somewhere and turn it on mute. Unless it is providing your mellow tunes. In that case I’m afraid you’ll just have to exercise self-control.

8. Cook something nice for dinner. Cooking can be really therapeutic, so take your time. Listen to music or chat with your flatmates while you chop your veges. Not only is the process calming, but you’ll get a really great meal at the end of it. Win/win.

9. Pick up a book. By keeping your mind busy, reading allows you to mentally escape the present. It’s basically like time travel, which is pretty damn cool if you ask me. Plus, it is far more conducive to sleep than staring at a little rectangle of blue light.

10. Collapse into bed. Don’t take your phone. Just lie down and feel the day lift away. You made it. You survived your below average day and you lived to tell the tale. The best thing about bad days is that usually (hopefully) they are few and far between. And do you know what that means? Statistically, tomorrow is going to be better.

So there you have it, my best tips for beating the blues at the end of a really long and really tough day.

Disclaimer – These rules are just a guide based on my personal experience, the most important thing to take from this is to be kind to yourself. You’re only human after all.

Conquering Study Anxieties

By Kaitlyn Tyler
Degree: Bachelor of Communications
Campus: Auckland

It’s the beginning of a brand-new semester. You’ve purchased all the right textbooks, read and recited the course guides, and organised your binders. You’re ready for a full semester of uni, BUT, it hits you like a tonne of bricks. Although you’re up to date with all your readings, you feel emotionally defeated. You’re sleep-deprived, a pro at overthinking, and you can’t relax. In fact, every time someone mentions university you want to crawl back into bed and stay in the glow of your laptop screen.

As much as this goes unspoken, study anxieties are incredibly common. Believe it or not, they can be managed. This blog post compiles some simple but achievable ways into shifting the weight of all those textbooks from your back to the desk.

Establish a set study space

It’s important to establish a space where you study – whether you study strictly at university, or you buy a desk for your room. This so there is a clear space in your room dedicated to that one part of your life. The minute you drag it over to your bed, is when the stresses of university begin to gobble up your nights’ sleep. This simple change results in stronger and more regular sleeping patterns, which is precious during such stressful times. Starting my second year, I soon remembered how important it was to fall asleep and wake up at a reasonable time. By setting an alarm, I made sure I was up to tackle the day, and that I had left enough time to finish all tasks. This also helps study anxiety by not feeling as though you wasted a day or have left things overdue.

Keep your study schedule reasonable and organised

You should schedule your study accordingly – you don’t want to be up at ridiculous hours in the night finishing a reading when you should be working. Organize set periods of time to study each subject that work well around your own schedule. It’s good to have weekly planner that you can take with you day-by-day, so you can establish your agenda for each day. In my own personal experience dealing with study-related anxieties, I invested in a wall calendar, so I can note down class times, assignment due dates, and other important dates. They’re cheap and easy to get your hands on, all you need is wall space and blue tack. Another thing I felt made my days during university a lot easier was going over what I needed to do for the day the night before. It keeps you prepared for the day ahead.

Don’t forget your ‘me time’

It’s cliché, yes, but me-time will prevent study anxieties. Put time aside to go out for a drink, do your makeup, kick a ball around, or whatever it is that helps you wind down. It’s important to have time where you feel like you’re doing nothing that isn’t the time when you’re sleeping. Me-time will keep you feel frazzled, and prevent you ever burning out. You must remember that while university is a commitment of yours, it is not your entire life, and it’s up to you to keep it that way.

Get help

Massey University have incredible doctors, nurses and counsellors that can aid you in your journey to beat study anxiety. I found that group counselling sessions really helped, not only in voicing your own worries, but finding students that are in the exact same position as you. It’s a great way to make friends. You’ll become more comfortable with expressing your own emotions too, especially if that’s something you struggle with. If you want to get in contact with the on-campus counsellors, do not be afraid. It’s one small step to getting yourself back on track. For anyone interested in talking to a professional or becoming part of a group counselling session, I have taken the liberty of providing emails and contact numbers for each campus health centre.

Auckland
studenthealth@massey.ac.nz
(09) 213 6700

Wellington
healthandcounsellingwgtn@massey.ac.nz
(04) 979 3030

Manawatu
s.counselling@massey.ac.nz
(06) 350 5533

Finally, don’t be too hard on yourself. University is a huge commitment, but you must remember that you can totally do it. With the support of friends, family, and professionals, you can push through and succeed. Keep those positive affirmations floating around in your head during stressful times. Believe in yourself. You’ll’ do great!

The International Student Checklist

By Claire Jenkins
Degree: Study Abroad
Campus: Auckland

Moving away from home can be a scary thing, especially if this is your first proper time away, or even studying at university, especially in a new country that isn’t home. I’m a Study Abroad student from the UK currently studying at Massey.

I’ve already completed a few years of study at my home university, so I know the uni drill, and I definitely know what its like to be away from home with NZ being the other side of the world for me!

Below I have compiled a little checklist of things that you should remember to bring (or at least not forget to think about) for those adventurous readers among you, coming to Massey from abroad.

Things to make your room feel like home.

Your room is your sanctuary for the next few months, or even years and you want your space to feel as homely as possible. Whether this be your favourite mug for a cup of tea, or pictures of your family and pets. Anything that provides a little home comfort will work wonders after a long day of study and when you need a cuddle from your mum. I left my favourite tea bags at home and waiting for them to arrive in the post is taking far longer than expected!

Study Materials.

You are here for studying after all! I’m making a really conscious effort to reduce my paper use, not only in an attempt to be more environmentally friendly but also to save the hassle of filing and lugging it all the way back home with me. My laptop is an absolute essential, but a notepad is always handy for scribbling notes. Don’t forget a few pens too. I am a self confessed stationary addict so this has been super difficult for me to strip back and not bring my desk organiser and the contents of my fave stationary shop, but hey – if I can do it, so can you. There is a wide selection of stationary shops here so you can always stock up when you arrive if you don’t have space in your case!

Clothes for every occasion.

That wardrobe you bring needs to be flexible and versatile, not only for weather changes (unfortunately the sun isn’t always shining), but also outfit requirements. O Week will have you needing costume variety, so make sure you pack as much as possible from your hoola skirt to your snorkelers, and don’t forget a white sheet for the obligatory toga party!

Check out where you are staying and what is provided for you.

Don’t bring a saucepan if you don’t have access to a hob. It can be super easy to waste money or valuable bag space if you bring something you don’t need or simply can’t use, if you’re not sure, leave it behind or double check, but don’t worry about something that’s not worth worrying about.

Boring Bits.

NZ plug sockets are most probably different to ones you’re used to at home, so make sure to bring some adaptors. Check with your bank regarding using your cards abroad, most banks may charge a small fee per transaction, so it might be easier to set up a different bank account that doesn’t charge – we are students after all! Either way make sure to double check. Likewise with your phone contract, you don’t want to be charged a hefty bill at the end of the month! Get changed over to an international SIM or pick one up at the airport once you’ve arrived. This way it’ll be much cheaper and you’ll have one less thing to worry about.

If worst comes to worst, you are never far away from a shop that’ll probably have a good alternative to something you’re missing.

Safe travels and happy studies.

How to make your hall/apartment a home

By Kaitlyn Tyler
Degree: Bachelor of Communications
Campus: Auckland

Massey University Auckland may boast a pristine set of brand new halls and apartments, but when you’re far from the comfort of your own bed, it’s difficult for the place to feel like home. Luckily, this feeling doesn’t stick around forever – not only will you settle over time, with the help of these tips, you can tweak your room in tiny ways to make it homelier in the first few weeks.

Add a touch of greenery

It can be a tough transition from living in an environment surrounded in pets to one that doesn’t allow your cat, dog or lizard. The comfort that comes from the loyalty and companionship of an animal is next to none, and it can leave your new bedroom space feeling empty and incomplete.

The first two weeks without my trusty tabby cat proved rough, and so I settled on the next best thing and invested in two tiny cacti plants. Sure, it sounds rather loony, but it’s surprised me how the two little plants have made such a drastic difference to my environment. I find it gives me clarity to have some greenery on my windowsill, and the best part is cacti are incredibly minimal maintenance. If you water them once a week and keep them perched on your windowsill, they tend to do just fine.

I bought my two cacti from the Glenfield Night Markets, which is a great place to pick up other knick-knacks and variations of plants to fill up your windowsill and make your room the tiniest bit homelier.

Keep it tidy

The next tip may be the most random, but I have found it incredibly useful in keeping my room clean and tidy. It isn’t listed under what the room contains, so I recommend that before moving in the purchase of a rubbish bin. It can be easily tucked behind or beside the room’s desk space, and it saves the walk to a bathroom or social hub to dispose of your rubbish piece by piece. When the bin gets filled, simply empty it into the wheelie bins. These wheelie bins should be located outside right by the front doors of your hall.

Fill in the blanks

The rooms of the halls and apartments also provide plenty of blank wall space to fill. You can use the pin board above the desk to pin pictures of family and friends, birthday cards, letters and any other memorabilia to fill your mind with good memories to keep you feeling positive in the first weeks of university.

The pin board is also the ideal space to pin all things university to keep you alert and on track. Take the liberty of printing out your week’s timetable and study schedule, as well as pinning a to-do list for the week to make sure you’re on top of things. I have found helpful to pin a marking schedule on my wall – some lecturers give results in the percentage out of 100, rather than the alphabetical system – so grades are easier to decode. I have also pinned my highest grades of the year on my pin board, just to remind me that when things get tough, I can still do it.

Massey University also allows the use of blue tack and hooks on other black wall space, perfect for putting up your favourite paintings, or posters of your favourite movie, TV show or band.

Establish some mood lighting

Perhaps the most creative tip I have found is the use and creation of mood lighting in my hall bedroom. The small light the sits above the bed provides a blinding, white light – which isn’t ordeal when it comes to winding down – and so my friends and I came up with the amazing idea of creating mood lighting with coloured post it notes. It dims the light, and paints the room your colour of choice.

For the best results, the use of pink and purple post it notes seem to create the most effective of mood lighting. Perfect for a night in with your favourite book or a movie. Home can also be found in the simplest of possessions – so when moving into your new university room, don’t hesitate in bringing your stack of favourite magazines, trinkets, journals, model cars, or records.

Create a haven of comfort

The last and perhaps what I consider the most important of tips is to keep your bed a haven of comfort. A lover of all things soft and fluffy, I took the liberty in making sure I decked my bed out with excellent quality pillows (for the best sleep during stressful weeks) and a fluffy decorative pillow, as well as a super soft blanket meant for a queen size bed (ideal for chilly winter nights).

Moving across the country to live away from family can be a high-stress situation, but it doesn’t have to be uncomfortable. Your room at university is a blank canvas – a canvas to fill with your own character, just like your new home in Auckland.

While this is post is about making the perfect home away from home, don’t forget to call home. It’s all a part of coping – make sure to skype, text and call family to let them know how you’re doing throughout your university experience. Your moving is just as stressful for them – and they’ll always love to hear from you.

A peek into the mind of a PhD student

By Josephine Malenga
Degree: PhD in Human Resource Management
Campus: Auckland

When people think of a PhD, they imagine someone who must be very intelligent and will basically know everything if not most things. But the reality is not quite that; without taking away from the difficulty of doing a PhD, completing one does not make a person an expert in everything or even in many things – a PhD makes one an expert in their chosen research field alone. Any knowledge the person may possess about other areas is independent of the PhD.

We spend a majority of our time researching and uncovering knowledge about a specific area which we can later share with the world. At the end of the PhD you are expected to be the expert in that specific niche that you have created from your research work. However, to get to that stage, it takes a lot of reading, formulating, reformulating, rethinking, procrastinating (at least on my part) and generally discovering.

For anyone contemplating a PhD, I will provide some insight into what being a PhD student looks like, specifically in the early stages of beginning a PhD, which in my opinion will determine how or if you carry on with your intended study.

Before I commenced my PhD, I did a lot of background research on the best ways to make use of your time and how to ensure that you are able to complete the PhD in the allocated timeframe. A common theme was that you should treat your PhD like your job, and in essence it is your job. So my alarm is set for 6.30am each weekday, granted I may hit the snooze button more than I would like, but I try and maintain a consistent schedule. After getting ready and having breakfast and all that jazz, I make my way to campus.

One of the beauties of doing a PhD is that you don’t have to be on campus, unless you have a meeting or other commitment that requires it; but I find that I get more work done when I am on campus, because I can think of it as getting to work, and I wouldn’t spend the day at work binge watching a series, so I find I am more productive.

But there are those privileged individuals who are able to work from home and get the same if not more work done than if they were on campus, and if that is how you work then good on you, go with that. The important part is making it a personal journey that allows you to accomplish your goals in the time required.

Back to the schedule – once I get to my desk I usually prepare my mind by either listening to music while I respond to emails, listen to a podcast or watch a video. I technically get started on work at 9am and that consists of reading articles related to the area I want to pursue, taking notes, summarising key points and organising the literature so that I can find things easily. Before the day is done I will either make a list of specific articles to read the next day or what research I need to do, and by 5pm I am headed home. On very few occasions I have stayed on till later but only when I absolutely have to – which is hardly ever.

My greatest asset through this journey has been my organisation skills, I find keeping things organised goes a long way to ensuring that you don’t misplace important information or miss important meetings. To do that, I have my diary or personal planner that I take with me literally everywhere – you never know where you will get inspiration. In it I have little tabs that tell me where to find certain information, so for example, whenever I have a meeting with my supervisors I place a blue tab on it so that I can refer to any notes from the meeting and keep track of any action items that resulted from the meeting. Pink tabs are for important literature notes that I could not put down in my notebook like statistics that I need to refer to constantly – you get the idea.

I usually work in blocks, the duration dependent on what I am reading. There are some articles that I find more interesting than others, so for the more interesting ones I aim to work in hour long shifts with 10 to 15 minute breaks, and for the less interesting I try to make it to half hour shifts with the same break periods. Sometimes my concentration waivers before the time limit and I have to adjust and take my break then; contrary to popular belief, it is perfectly acceptable to just zone out and take the time off to give your mind a break, as long as you get back to it.

A successful PhD experience is about more than just the thesis you produce at the end, although that is the most important aspect – it also about networking, publishing, teaching and engaging with other researcher. To accomplish this, I attend student meetings, seminars, conferences and other networking opportunities as often as I can, especially in the beginning when you are more flexible to. Doing this has allowed me to meet a lot of different people and to connect with others that I would not have met otherwise, and that is always a good experience. It has also given me the opportunity to talk about my research and to get feedback from people that may not be in the same field, and that insight is valuable.

How you make use of the time you have is solely up to you, but it is important to ensure that at the end of the road, the only thing you have to show for your efforts is the thesis.

Homestay: a home away from home

By Josephine Malenga
Degree: PhD in Human Resource Management
Campus: Auckland

Why New Zealand?

Where is that?

How far away is it?

Will you come back?

All these are questions I have had to answer to family members and friends on why I would choose to study in a place so far away and cut off from the rest of the world. And each time I explain it, I get the same look that is a mixture of confusion and what I would say is pity. But for whatever reason and time period, here I find myself; thousands of miles away from home separated by a vast sea and over a day’s plane trip.

It has definitely been an interesting and sometimes challenging first few months – from the numerous times I have gotten off at the wrong bus stop and had to navigate my own home in one piece to the many strange (to my ears) terms of otherwise normal sounding items (like jandals instead of sandals, lollies instead of candy, tramping instead of hiking). However, navigating this new land has been made far more enjoyable thanks to my homestay family.

I would recommend any international student, especially one who’s never been too far from home to stay with a homestay family in the initial periods of their stay; unless you are a social butterfly and can literally make friends with anyone. Sadly, the introverts like myself will have to make use of this living experience in efforts to avoid being a hermit for the duration of our stay.

A homestay family is helpful for various reasons:

  1. You get in essence a second family that can help you with the ins and outs of settling in a new place, meeting people and the general tips that only a local would know. My homestay family has been so helpful from the day I arrived; with advice on what bank to open an account with, how to save money by getting a bus card instead of using cash, as well as taking me around the city and visiting beaches and the like. I can honestly say that half of the things I have done with my host family are things I would not have done otherwise; and for that I am thankful.
  2. You can never feel too alone. Like I said, I am an introvert, and left to my own devices I will most likely spend nights at home with my laptop watching a movie or series on my own – but it does get lonely sometimes. The good with a homestay is that the family would most likely have had other students stay with them before so they know that it can get lonely and hard for international students, and ideally they are equipped to deal with that. By now my host is aware that I am a homebody, but she is always inviting me out to dinner with her friends and making sure that I don’t feel like an outsider; and that goes a long way during the rare times that I crave the company of others. And as a result, I have opened myself up to the idea of meeting and interacting with new people even on my own.
  3. Food. Need I say more? As a student, sometimes you tend to forget that a nutritious meal is a necessity for normal body functioning. So in order to avoid prolonged periods of munching on chips and noodles, a homestay family allows you to have home cooked meals. Just ensure that any dietary requirements (like allergies, lactose intolerance, veganism etc.) are discussed beforehand.
  4. In my opinion it is a cheaper and more flexible option than on campus accommodation. This largely depends on the location you choose and the terms you agree with the homestay, but there is flexibility that may not be possible if you chose on campus accommodation, and you can always negotiate as your relationship with the family progresses and find creative ways to save a little extra money.

Disclaimer: I have been fortunate enough to find a homestay family that fits closely to my personality, eating habits and general lifestyle; but not each family is created equal. It is your job to do as much research and probing as possible to ensure that the family you pick are a good fit for you. And if not, you should not be afraid to move and find a better option – after all, you will be living with these people for a long time, you might as well at least like them.

Auckland campus residents (of the feathered variety)

By Lucia Hu
Degree: Bachelor of Science
Campus: Auckland

Whether you constantly miss the shuttle bus and hence need to take the arduous trek to Oteha Rohe, or having the difficulty of finding a carpark among the sea of vehicles, you may have missed the opportunity to say “hi” to the locals residing in Albany campus.

As a “no-car” student walking is the only – not to mention also the healthiest – way of getting to and from: university, home, and supermarket (Yep, my life revolves around these three places). However, I have grown to really appreciate walking; being able to take the time to observe everything in your surrounding is truly a bliss.

Even the 5-min stroll -from the forever locked gates- off Bush Road to the rear carpark of the gym there are many resident species you would stumble upon. A regular are Pukekos, you can see them foraging in a group-always alert to any signs of disturbance. Last year, I was lucky enough to see their little grey-black feathered chicks with their weirdly out-of-proportion long legs rummaging about by the gravel pathway.

Australasian Magpies with their characteristic black and white plumage, are also regular birds I’ve encountered during my walks. Later, I learned they are from the same family as Crows Corvidae. Those massive birds have a particularly clever brain and loves shiny metallic objects. Trudging back home during the afternoons, they would creepily peer at on-comers from the low-lying trees by the Bush Road entrance – always watching…

If you hear annoying “seagull-like” calls then most likely they are the spur-winged Plovers – you can always tell them apart by their prominent yellow wattle and beak. I have once seen them chase the magpies in the skys; always reminding me of their presence by their loud screeching calls. I often see a band of around five of them circling above campus accommodations. Students living there are “so lucky” to be woken up every day naturally to the plovers’ alarm calls. I bet they don’t even need to set a morning alarm.

At Oteha Rohe campus, a much diverse range of species has established their homes here (due to Fernhill Escarpment bordering the campus). A rather elegant species is the White-faced Heron, treading on its slender stilt legs across misty pastures – it was such a surreal scene to see on uni grounds!

While the Puriri trees are blooming with a glory of flamboyant pink shades you would not miss the iridescent coloured bird – with a white tuxedo tie – feeding on its nectar. This NZ endemic is the Tui, often I see them perched within Kowhai, Puriri and Flax bushes feeding on their flowers. A definite highlight worth speculating during spring.

During lectures where you literally feel like dozing off (of course it’s not because of the lectuer), you could look out a window and try spotting a Fantail – yes, their tail literally fans out. Other frequent birds on campus are Blackbirds, Song thrush, and I’ve seen Welcome swallows zipping around in their fury of blues and reds.

I’m sure there are many more species out there on campus that I have yet to mention. So why not next time – when you take the opportunity to stroll on campus – try recognising some of these campus residents? You will be amazed at the biodiversity Massey university is blessed with.

The top 10 spots on Massey’s Albany campus

By Ashneel Prasad
Degree: Bachelor of Arts
Campus: Auckland

People always ask me why do you always rave about Massey University – Albany Campus. Their first reaction is always “Its just a normal campus, what’s so special about it?” That’s not it! There’s lots of interesting places on campus, and here’s “Ashneel’s top 10 spots on the Albany Campus”.

10. Chicken wing

Starting with number 10, is the (in)famous chicken wing. Even though I too agree, a golden Ram would’ve been cooler than a golden wing (and that KFC should give us free fried chicken), I’ve gotten quite fond of the wing. Art is supposed to be bizarre, and the wing is what distinguishes the Albany campus from every other campus in New Zealand. And plus its always a fun thing to “shade” the wing with your friends on a “Sunny” day, while eating your sushi.

9. Chaplaincy

I’m always poor Monday to Friday (except Thursday, cause that’s when I get my allowance from Studylink), and Chaplaincy is always my savior. The people over there, are always ready to welcome you with a hot drink. And just petting and playing with “Richie McPaw” (the in-house dog) just de-stresses you. Its the best feeling in the world.

8. The tunnel

Not many people are aware of the secret tunnel that links Atrium to QB Building. The tunnel becomes my savior in the winter and rainy days. When I have a good hair day, and the weather tries to ruin my perfect mow-hawk, the tunnel comes as my savior. And it also gives me a Harry Potter vibe.

7. Ferguson

Who doesn’t love a cheap pizza? Ferguson’s pizzas are delicious and cheap – what a combo! And Thursday nights are always lit. Fergs is the ultimate hangout spot on campus.

6. Massey Library Theatre

This is a hidden gem that I’ve grown to love. Since I’m a media student, sometimes I can’t make it to the screenings of movies. The library theatre not only gives me a world class theater view of the movie, but also gives me and my friends privacy, which normal theatres can’t.

5. The pods

This is the holy grail on campus. Only a certain few lucky people get the pods daily. This is the ultimate.

4. Food for thought

On a really stressful day, all you need is the yummy food from Food for thought cafe, and the regular hi’s and hello’s from friends doing another bachelor’s degree. You’re certain to have your mood brightened up at the Food for thought cafe.

3. ASA lounge

Light music, pool, bean bags, free milo and a friendly ASA executive team – what else do you need? There’s something always on at the ASA, and its fun to be a part of the activities.

2. GYM

If you’re a person like me, you’d be the last one at the GYM. I don’t like to do exercise, BUT if its a fun exercise like soccer, volleyball or just a friendly game of tag, and plus a full length mirror for selfies – GYM has got me sorted out.

1. Dane Mitchell’s Vaporous Sculptural Act

For those getting confused by the complicated title, this is the smoke thing that comes out of the ground, in front of SNW Building. Whenever I’m stressed, I just go and stand on top of it, and pretend I’m Marilyn Monroe. Stress debunked in seconds. And plus its always entertaining to see the Fire Brigade on campus every 2nd week cause some first year student thinks Masssey is on fire.

Embracing diversity and staying motivated

By Itinterunga Rae Bainteiti
Degree: Bachelor of Social Work
Campus: Auckland

“When you decide to go to Uni, come to Massey”, these were the words of Massey’s renowned photographer and educator late Professor Tony Whincup in 2007 when I first met him.

Tony has been instrumental in photographing our islands for four decades and has a rich collection of photographic documentation of our people and culture. His life revolved around Kiribati and many admired him for staging to the world our culture and heritage. I was still finishing high school then but his words encapsulated my inspiration to come to Massey last year July as a starting student doing Bachelor of Social Work. I met Tony through my mother who had worked for Tobaraoi Travel, a well-known travel agency in Kiribati. She was privileged to have worked with Tony as his tour guide and interpreter visiting the outer islands to study and photograph the ‘maneaba’ – a traditional meeting house that is close to the hearts of all I-Kiribati people.

Coming to Massey University was an unregretful decision. I have always believed that through Tony (a Massey professor), a country so small and remote in the South Pacific and its peoples will always find Massey home through his work. Mom is grateful that I made the decision to choose Massey among other outstanding Universities in New Zealand.

I felt that Massey was like a ‘maneaba’ for me in New Zealand. Its big modern buildings somehow reflected the concept of my ideal traditional maneaba that is welcoming and accommodating.

The vibrant and diverse Massey communities from all the world all unite under Massey supporting one another making me less homesick and more school focused. The lecturers, tutors, NZ Aid officers, Pasifika staffs and campus staffs at all levels are very friendly and approachable. They are always there to guide and offer help. They were my families.

The community at Massey was an ideal blend of peoples I would imagine myself sipping a cup of tea with, enjoying the breeze, relaxing and chatting away in a ‘maneaba’ near the lagoon. Their professionalism match our values, level of respect and expectations for everyone in our communities and embraces everyone regardless of they are!

Thus, far, my only regret is not being able to say hello to Tony in person. He would have been very happy to see me living to his advice when we first met. May he Rest in Peace.

What keeps me motivated to study?

  1. Coming to Massey was a rare opportunity for someone coming from the Pacific. Everyone can go to school but there is limited funding hence a competitive scholarship. While I have this one opportunity, and thousands of dollars invested in my study by the people of New Zealand; I have thousands of reasons to finish it to thank my sponsors
  2. Contribute to the social and economic development of my country towards completion of study
  3. Family, Church, and Community expectations, and for Tony!

Kiribati’s blessings of Te Mauri (Health), Te Raoi (Peace) ao te Tabomoa (Prosperity)

7 suggestions for first-time flatters (what I wish I’d known 3 years ago)

By Marieke

Degree: Veterinary Science

Campus: Manawatu

Let me just be clear on one thing: flatting is weird. You go from the relative peace and familiarity of a home environment, perhaps via a detour in the hostels, to crash land in the bizarre new world of sharing a house with relative strangers. No matter how well you think you know your flatmates-to-be, living together will be an education in differences of opinion, lifestyle, and habit.

Who knew something as simple as which type of cooking oil to buy would become such a divisive issue for the new flat ‘family’? Before you know it, you’re having a totally pointless disagreement about something ridiculously minor that you had never considered before, but now realise is a major personal issue. Like I said, weird.

Suddenly sharing a house, and a large part of your life, with a random bunch of people is going to take some getting used to. Hence, here it is – my advice for first-time flatters, based on the things I wish I’d known sooner…

1. Discuss everything! You might want to be really chill and just see how things turn out, but chances are you’ll end up with one flatmate buying a dishwasher then wanting the rest of you to chip in. Better to be clear upfront on what you expect to spend – and what luxuries you can live without.

2. When choosing the flat itself, keep in mind the things that are impossible to change later, but which will really matter when you try to live there. My suggestions: is it sunny, is it insulated, is it on a bus route, and do you have enough car parks… Palmy winters are cold, so keep that in mind.

3. Get onto the internet and power companies as soon as possible, as there might be a considerable delay in getting connected (often one of you will need to be at home at the time too). Turns out it is possible to live without internet, but better not to suffer.

4. Be a bit pedantic with money. Even if you trust someone completely, it’s better to keep everything absolutely clear and above board. Keep receipts for everyone to see, or have a bank account everyone can access. Be aware also that if one of your flatmates walks out without paying their rent, the landlord will come after whoever else they can find that was sharing the lease – so the best thing is to make sure you’re all paying every week. Don’t feel bad about keeping an eye on the finances.

5. Expect to be surprised by your flatmates living habits. Maybe you think morning showers are the only way to go? Maybe people who don’t take re-usable bags to the supermarket offend you, or maybe you can’t believe someone could need so many bottles of shampoo… Whatever it is, there will definitely be instances when what you thought was the ‘only way’ to do something is ruthlessly challenged. Some of these may matter to you, many will not, and many are human differences you will never resolve. Pick your battles, or you’ll spend all your time arguing.

6. You don’t have to stay in an unhappy flat. Sometimes the person you thought would be a great flatmate turns out to be a bossy control freak, and the situation can turn unexpectedly toxic. You don’t have to stay, seriously. There is always a way out of a lease, and it’s better for your health (and maybe your friendships) just to get out of there.

7. Don’t be surprised if you have at least one bad flatting experience. Everyone I know has had at least one disaster or falling out. At least the next time round you’ll have a better idea of who you want to live with – and a great story to tell.

Tips for a successful homestay experience

By Si Yin Qian

Degree: Master of Management – Marketing

Hi newbies, especially those from non- western societies. I am also new in Master of Management ( hope to find some peers here). I have only stayed in my homestay for 2 days, but since I have had working experiences with the western world and New Zealand through different projects, I believe there are some tips I could share with you all. And you can give your feedbacks and suggestions to me too.

1. Get to know each other ASAP
Talk to your homestay family and get to know each other. For example, their life style, timetable, house rules. It is your responsibility to let your homestay family know your DOS & DON‘Ts. For instance, I had to let my family know that I couldn’t eat pork, so they won’t prepare meals with that for me, so it won’t cause any problems between us.

2. Respect the differences and follow the social customs
We all from different cultures with different backgrounds, so differences are acceptable. BUT, we should respect the difference among us. Meanwhile, as new comers we should follow the well-established social customs here.

3. Dive in and make fully use of the resources homestay provides you
As my homestay family told me, KIWIs are all friendly and love to help. If you need anything, just ask and you will receive the help needed. ” Ask, you shall be given”, as the Bible says. Blending in a new culture is tough and we all need to find a way to accelerate the process. Make yourself as comfortable as possible by making fully use of the housewares, for example the kitchen. But do remember to ask for permission in advance.

4. Observe and learn
Learning is always important. As a student, it is the priority and expertise in our life. So make use of your expertise and find the most appropriate way to share the house with your homestay. I believe that it is also the fastest way to prepare us for the future life in this country .

Done With First Year: Passing On My Wisdom

The sound of sad trumpets bellows in the background as I sit at my laptop, writing my last blog of the year. There, there, it’ll be alright. Please, there’s no need to cry. Here, have a tissue. The crazy realization hit me that this week is my final week as a first year university student. From now on, I can no longer say I look lost because, hey, I’m a first year so cut me some slack. It is time to toughen up, pretend like I know everything and face the world head on. I’m ready, Universe. Hit me with your hardest, maybe not right now but in four weeks time when exams are pretty much done because I really don’t need those to be any harder.

blog pic10

 

In keeping with tradition, I shall pass on my wisdom to the young’uns. I have compiled another Fabulous List of the things I have learnt over this year.

  1. Go buy some dental floss.

Your gums are hurting for a reason. Your mom told you to floss for a reason. Now that she’s not in charge of keeping up with the floss supply, that responsibility falls down to you. There are so many things you need the learn to do for yourself, and learn quickly. Luckily, due to natural selection or something like that, it turns out being independent and doing your own groceries is actually pretty fun, because if you don’t then you won’t be able to … y’know … live.

 

  1. Grades before babes, but babes before mental breakdowns.

Grades are important, but having fun is also very important. Just like your body needs rest days when you’re working out, your brain needs to kick it’s shoes off and be a couch potato once in a while. There will come times when you just cannot, cannot, catch a break, and yes, this really will test your mental fortitude, but be sure to reward yourself with a massage or something afterwards and just let yourself breathe. Mental health is important too. Go out with your friends, hit up town, or head to Te Rito for a game of pool. Half an hour of chilling won’t kill anybody.

 

  1. The gym is a great place.

“Exercise gives you endorphins. Endorphins make you happy. Happy people just don’t shoot their husbands, they just don’t.” Or in our case, maybe not our husbands, but our textbooks. For those of you who are unaware these wise words came from a very wise movie, Legally Blonde (2001). I highly recommend you watch it. As Elle Woods so succinctly stated, exercise makes you happy. Releasing your frustrations about how bad that test went, or how annoying your roommates are, on some weights will be a lot more beneficial than, I don’t know, shooting your husband?

 

  1. Learn something.

At the end of the day, you’re at university to be a sponge and soak up as much knowledge as you can. I mean, you’re spending $8000 a year on a degree so let’s make sure we get our money’s worth. In my opinion, there’s no better feeling than putting something you learnt in class into practice in the real world. The only way to get that feeling is to actually learn something. Yes, university is all about having fun and discovering yourself, but it’s also a time you develop that strong work ethic and passion for learning that your whole schooling career has been pushing you towards. Oh god, I sound like my mom. Make us proud, darling.

 

That list barely scratched the surface of what I learnt this year. It was tough, but it was the best year of my life. Man, I’m trying to write a conclusion that would do the year I had justice, but it’s close to impossible to describe how grateful, happy, and excited I am about my experiences here at Massey University. They say a picture’s worth a thousand words, so hopefully this’ll do.

Good luck to everyone facing exam season, and good luck to those who will be fresh out of high school! You’re in for a real treat.

Goodbye room! The Final Diary of a Freshman

Taken in the earlier days of 1.02. That bed is so comfy it is near impossible to get up for a 10am class.

Taken in the earlier days of 1.02. That bed is so comfy it is nearly impossible to get up for a 10am class.

Dear Room 1.02

Congrats, you have scored the best room in the whole village.  No, seriously.  You have the luxury of two windows that let the sun in all day, one of them framing a sweet view of the campus.  The other may look out into the carpark, but you will be the first to know if anything exciting happens, like seeing a clamp finally clasping itself on “that guy’s” wheel who always steals your park.

The view!

The view!

The location of your new abode is very ideal.  It is right by one of the main lecture buildings, so you can leave your room when your class starts and still be perfectly on time.  You are in the closest to The Ferguson which will be your new go-to on a Thursday if that’s your cup of tea (or shot of tequila in this case).  It always showcases a large proportion of Te Ohanga Village, so it makes for a cool night.  Also, since you live on level one it doesn’t matter how stumble-y your state is upon your return, as your journey will be stair free.  Or if you prefer to be a hermit, your room is as far away from the front door as you can possibly be on the first floor, so you can hide away in peace.  It really is a room that caters for everyone.

Pukekos infront of Pukeko hall. Talk about convinient timing

Some conviniently place Pukekos infront of our hall.

I will do my best to get the coffee stains off the desk and find every stray bobby pin on the ground before I leave, and then it’s all yours.  You are now the third inhabitant of Pukeko level 1, room 2.

Not going to lie, I’ll be really sad to see it go.  Even though the halls can seem a bit institutional at times, your room can be as homely as you want it to be, and I definitely have made a home out of mine.  I can hardly remember what it looked like without my constant clutter of pens and paper sprawled over the desk and concert books on the shelf. It definitely hasn’t hit me yet that I’ll be packing everything up soon for another summer of “would you like a 10 cent bag with your purchase?” back in Mata.

But this summer I’ll be going into full time work with a completely different attitude, because now I know the lifestyle I’m saving up for is completely worth the lack of vitamin D.  The whole experience, University work included, has been an absolute blast.  I’ve loved getting to live with so many different people at once, being so close to the beach, and the independence of life away from home.

If you’re coming from a smallish high school like I did, remember you have people from all over the country (and the world) to choose mates from, so there are no worries about not fitting in.  The Halls really are a social butterfly’s paradise.

It’s no secret that University and the Halls are expensive, so much so that I didn’t think that coming to Albany would be possible. It was a massive sense of achievement when I managed to save enough pennies, and all the hours I put in makes me appreciate this year tonnes. So know that if you are slugging it at the end of a 50 hour working week for this room, I know how you feel, and it’s totally worth it.

University and living on campus isn’t for everyone, so I can understand if you hand back your keys early.  But even if you are slightly unsure about coming here beforehand, there is no harm in giving it a go.  Looking back I am gutted that I was considering not studying because University was falsely portrayed as a dim life of thousands of words, APA referencing and a diet of two minute noodles.  Yes, some weeks are like this, but they are easily outweighed by the enjoyable ones. This year has been way better than any I spent at college, but everyone is different so just go with your gut!

Like the last episode of a long running sitcom, in a few weeks I’ll be nostalgically packing my things and leaving my room to you.  Take care of her (seriously, you want your bond back) and enjoy.  I hope this year is as great for you as it was for me!

Much love,

The current 1.02.

Don’t Spend Your Whole Year Being Confused: Part Two

Well the time has come for my last blog of the year and to be completely honest, I’m feeling rather sad about having to say goodbye to this.

I write this currently sitting in my dressing gown after submitting another assignment, drinking tea and with my hair pulled up into a messy topknot… I guess you could say I’ve become well accustomed to the student life.

I’ve thought long and hard about what to leave you with after journeying with me this year and it seems appropriate to end the way I started. So here goes… Don’t spend your whole year being confused: Part Two.

While I thought my last year of high school was an emotional rollercoaster, I think it’s fair to say this year has topped that by a long shot. I’ve laughed more, cried more, loved it, hated it, at times wanted to give up, and yet at other times knew this was exactly where I was meant to be.

Confusion is inevitable in your first year of Uni. It is a massive transition with a lot of new things to experience and get your head around. But it’s important not to let your confusion get in the way of you experiencing new things.

This year I’ve learned that sometimes you just have to role with it and go with the flow sometimes. While I’m a person who likes to know what is going on and likes to have structure in my life, I’ve had to learn that if I just role with my confusion, eventually understanding comes. And this has been evident in three areas:

Uni assessments

As it was confusing starting NCEA in year 11, it was confusing getting used to the new systems of the University. Suddenly an A became a favoured mark on my paper as it no longer represented just an ‘achieved’ but more like an excellence type grade.

It’s a scary thing receiving your first assignment and not quite knowing how much is expected of you and how to write it. But the lecturers know that being a first year student doesn’t automatically make you a genius. They are there to support you with your assignments and answer your questions.

And if you are completely and utterly confused, even after they have explained it, don’t be afraid to ask for more clarification on the expectations.

Home life

As I wrote in one of my previous blogs, living away from home can be very confusing; not just for you, but for everyone around you. But roll with the confusion and make the most of this odd time of having two homes. It’s unique and rather amusing to think about at times.

The internal struggle

Year one of uni is very much a transition year. Suddenly it seems like nothing is the same as what it used to be. And to be honest, that’s rather true. Some weeks are amazing and then the next week you feel incredibly home sick. There are tough weeks, especially in the first semester when you’re still settling in and trying to find your bearings. But it’s about developing endurance through those times and celebrating the successes when they come.

Reflecting back on this year, while it has been incredibly tough, it has been one of the greatest growing years in my life (unfortunately not height wise… but definitely maturity wise). I’ve learned a great deal about myself and realised along the way that I am much stronger than I ever thought I was. I’ve been forced to stand firm in what I believe and be confident in who I am.

The journey of life has crazy twists and turns, but these are the things that mould you and shape you into the person you are.

Well friends, it’s been an incredible journey… one that I would never change a single moment. I hope that through these series of blogs you have been able to get a glimpse into what being a first year student is like. While your experience will be different and unique, go out and live it, being confident in who you are and the decisions you make.

Until next time…

The End?

As I said in my first post, all things must start. As much as something must start, all things must end and as the university year comes to a close, so too does this blog.

A Year Well Lived

This year as been a roller coaster. It’s had ups and downs, and everything in between. It’s had fast parts and slow, times that were frightening and times that were dull. From the relatively relaxed start to each semester to the hectic endings, this year has been… interesting. I’ve learnt all sorts of things, like what an opamp is and De Morgan’s Theorum and how to come up with great ideas for products. I’ve always believed that it is not the simple, straightforward life that is worth living, but instead it is the life of complexities and eccentricities that is the best life. Not to say of course that a simple life doesn’t have its merits. I just don’t think it’s for me. Therefore, by my definition of a good life, this year has definitely added to mine.

A Review

As I have learnt throughout engineering so far, one should always reflect on and review what they have done at the end of any process. This year has taught me a few things. Things that I may need to keep in mind for next year:

  • Do the work as soon as you can. It makes things easier later.
  • Help people if you can. Teaching is one of the best ways of learning (for me at least).
  • Get to know the lecturers. They know everything you are going to be tested on and more.
  • Where you can, pick projects you are passionate about.

Things I reckon I did well:

  • Understood the material instead of just rote learning material. Rote learning may get you the grade, but it’ll be useless in the real world without understanding.
  • Kept going even when it seemed too much. Sometimes your mind can get worried unnecessarily, and it won’t help you.

I hope the above can help those of you reading.

Thank You For Reading To The End

Throughout this year, I have written these posts. It has always helped put things in perspective for me. For that, thank you. If you guys weren’t reading this, a part of me wonders if there would be any point to it. Because of that, I probably wouldn’t write this. Despite that, I would recommend all of you to write down your thoughts on how things are going. When things are bad, it may let you see where the bad stuff is coming from. When things are going well, you can keep it as a reminder of good times for when things aren’t. Once again, thank you for being the reason for me to do this.

Now for the final farewell… perhaps. I hope that I will be able to continue this in the future. If I can keep doing this, I will be able to regale you all with tales of my upcoming summer practicum. I hope you have enjoyed my writing as much as I have enjoyed writing it. So, signing of for the last time this year, farewell, adiue, auf wiedersehen, and goodbye.