You Got Into Uni (or not), What Now?


So last week NCEA results came out, which means that now if you’ve finished school you’re wondering what on earth you’re going to do next. For some of you it will be easy, for some it will be easy but scary and for some you may be very disappointed.

It’s an interesting time to look back on for me because first year was really hard year in a way that I’d never experienced before. I can’t count how many days were spent choking back tears on the bus home from class because I was so overwhelmed, how many nights I spent in the dark in my room. But at the same time it was a year of the hugest fun.

Looking back on that year, three years later I think I can safely say that I learnt a lot. To clue you up I went straight from high school into a Conjoint Bachelor of Health Sciences/ Bachelor of Arts. Originally I double majored in English and History but over time I found that History wasn’t really me and so I dropped it as a major and picked up Politics and Māori Studies papers. I finished my conjoint in the recommended four years without having to do Summer School. I never failed a paper but I did scrape through a couple…

From where I’m standing now I can recognise that uni isn’t for everyone but for me it was brilliant and I learnt a lot so for those of you heading in that direction… here are some tips and tricks :)

So you got in…

  • Enroll as quickly as possible. It’s confusing and hard I know (if you’re enrolling at Auckland Uni then trust me when I say that it used to be harder) but if you’re hoping to do popular courses like Psych then you need to get in quick. You can drop a paper at any time until a couple of weeks into semester so don’t worry if you’re not sure. Just bags a spot before they’re gone.
  • If you haven’t you should get on to studylink asap too…
  • Don’t buy all your books. You may think you need to but you quite probably don’t. Look at the list and do a google search – if you want to buy them then head to the book depository, fishpond or amazon. They are a lot cheaper than UBS. There are also loads of free pdfs online. (And if you’re doing first year health sci get in touch, I have a few books to spare).
  • Don’t spend all your course related on booze or shoes. Having a grand is really exciting but books are actually pretty damn expensive and if you’ve got an old laptop you might want to buy a new battery. You never know when that money is going to be a get out of jail free card (my teeth are wishing I could get it this year I’ll tell you that).
  • If you get the impression that you really don’t like what you’re studying then follow your gut. It’s really easy to change your course.
  • Make your degree work for you. I tried to choose papers that genuinely interested me because I found that the subject matter wasn’t necessarily the whole point – the papers were actually about teaching you how to think in different ways, to analyse, to work things out for yourself. When I graduate in May it won’t be to work a specific job but it’s equipped me with the skills to carve out a job for me. People don’t have life long careers any more and new jobs are created every day. Find what you love, take papers according to what you like and make it work for you.
  • Your first year will be really hard. Don’t be afraid to ask for support when you need it, don’t worry that you’re losing it, or that you’re the only one. It’s intimidating but you can go talk to a counsellor at Uni for free if you need to. Something else I found helpful was to go to Harvest Wholefoods on Richmond Rd and get a personalised Rescue Remedy made up.
  • If you can, take advantage of tuakana tutorials – it’s a good place to make friends.

If you didn’t get in….

  • Don’t despair or feel ashamed , embarrassed whatever. If uni is what you want to do then there are still options. Certificate courses, bridging courses, take advantage of them.
  • It is never too late to go to uni. Sure there are lots of 18 year olds but there are also lots of every other age group.

If you got in but don’t want to go or you just don’t want to full stop…

  • Listen to your gut. Uni isn’t for everyone. I know a lot of people who feel like they had to go to uni and either hated it, learnt nothing, dropped out, etc. Going to uni just because you have to is an expensive exercise. If you feel pressured to by your parents then maybe you need to make a plan for what you do want to do and present it clearly. Telling them you don’t want to do anything probably won’t go down well… but telling them that you don’t feel ready and would like to work or that you’d like to go into a trade or something might.

If you’re still at school…

  • Keep your options open. You never know what you’ll find yourself wanting to do so make sure that you have a good balance of table a and b subjects – then should you want to go to uni you can do anything!

If you’ve got any questions then leave a comment below! If you’ve got some other pearlers then I’d love to hear them :) 


About madicattt

Curator of The Things That Are Good. Sharing the things that stand out in the worlds of theatre, food, beauty and style.
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2 Responses to You Got Into Uni (or not), What Now?

  1. I love this post!
    I couldn’t agree more. When I finished High School, I didn’t get accepted into uni and I started freaking out – though I didn’t know if I wanted to go for sure. I applied for a foundation / bridging course and Auckland University and managed to get in.

    While I loved the course, and meeting new friends was great I found that Uni life wasn’t for me. At the end of the year I was tossing up whether to go to Uni or just work for a bit. I definitely felt like there was a pressure to go to university, from friends and parents, but I decided to trust my gut and ended up working for a few years instead – Loved it!

    100% Agree with following your gut, its a big decision and if you really don’t want to do it, don’t force it on yourself!

    Great post Maddy, super inspiring. xx

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