March 01, 2021
OPINION: Hei āwhina: Tips for rangatahi off to university
By Atakohu Middleton
Kaiako/Lecturer, Te Wānanga Aronui o Tāmaki Makau Rau/Auckland University of Technology
This week, it’s the beginning of the teaching year at Te Wānanga Aronui o Tāmaki Makau Rau or AUT. Ko te wiki tuatahi tēnei o te tau whakaako! I’m teaching first-year students this semester, and I always wonder how confident they are feeling, or pēwhea ō rātou piropiro, as they embark on post-school education.
I also wonder how well-equipped they are. Many of our rangatahi going to a university or a wānanga are what we call “first in family”, like I was. In university-speak, “first in family” means a student who is the first of the family unit, whatever that unit is, to go the university to study.
That means that there may not be anyone close to the student who has been to uni before, understands what it involves and can help the new student find their way.
I therefore decided to ask my uni-student and uni-teacher mates what they would advise (ngā mihi ki a koutou katoa!) and here’s a great list of ideas. Nō reira, tukua ki te ao. Feel free to share this far and wide.
- Don’t be afraid to ask questions â€“ they are the gateway to learning.
- Never suffer in silence. Seek out help for whatever help you need, whether it’s personal or study-related. Universities have comprehensive student support systems.
- Find your tribe. Your day-to-day university friends can make the difference between passing and failing not just at uni, but at the business of living well. Some of the people you meet at uni will become friends for life.
- Get out there and socialise with your fellow students. At parties, you’ll meet the other movers and shakers of the future, among them the tribal leaders, the politicians, and the nation-shapers of tomorrow; these hononga are important.
- Don’t choose a topic for strategic purposes, as in, for what it may bring you later in life, or because it will look great on a resume. Study topics that genuinely interest you; no learning is ever a waste of time.
- Treat uni like a 9-to-5 job. Go to ALL your lectures and ALL your tutorials. Don’t waste this precious opportunity.
- Get to know the kaimahi/administration staff. They know how systems and processes work and can help you out with things that may not seem a big deal in the normal run of things, but which are critical when you’re up against a deadline.
- Introduce yourself to your lecturers. If you can’t make a class, if you’re late or if you’re having trouble, email them. We are here to help you.
- If you are at a mainstream university, make use of a Tuākana programme if one exists. In these programmes, which are run on tuakana/teina principles, senior students help their juniors get to grips with content and study skills. Invaluable.
- Be curious. Be comfortable with not knowing everything. You’re at uni to expand your mind.
- Good writers are good readers; find joy in reading.
- Be kind to yourself. Tertiary study is a big deal and can be very hard work. Assess how you are improving over time rather than comparing yourself to others.
- If, when you were at school, you tended to pull an all-nighter the night before a due date, try and break the habit. A good tactic is to pretend that the submission date is actually the week prior. Finish the work by that date, have a rest then, go back and read it again before submitting. You’ll see dozens of ways to improve it.
- Get eight hours of sleep every night. Both your brain and body need it.
- Get a really tedious, hard job over summer; that makes you appreciate uni a whole lot more. And wāhine mā, don’t be afraid to go after the traditional tāne jobs like labouring or working on a building site; these jobs pay more than many others.
- Finally, there are no shortcuts. Mahia te mahi. Do the work!
Radio Waatea and its board would like to advise that the opinions posted are those of Atakohu Middleton and not the views of Radio Waatea, its management or its board.
Copyright © 2021, UMA Broadcasting Ltd: www.waateanews.com