AUT Uni Life

You need more than just a degree!


By Brooke Stevenson

You’ve probably read the title and thought what?? Years of study and thousands of dollars spent and it’s still not enough? Yup you’re right… well kind of.

Having a degree is great and is ultimately what’s going to get you through the door. But if that’s all you’ve got to offer, then I’m afraid you’re in for a shock.

Don’t worry! To have what employers are looking for isn’t going to cost you anymore money, it’s just going to be a matter of getting involved and getting experience. I know we always hear things like “you need 5 or more years’ experience” or “sorry, you don’t have enough experience” and you’re sitting there wondering how you’re going to get experience when no one is willing to let you start somewhere? Well, I might have a few ideas that could set you in the right direction!

  • Being able to work in a team is a massive skill to have and you probably do it more often than you realize. Being a part of a sports team, choir, part time working in a team-based environment are all examples you can use to demonstrate that you have experience working with others.
  • Don’t be afraid to sell yourself in an interview. This is a moment where it’s totally acceptable to discuss all you have achieved and all your strengths. However, it’s also okay to be honest with what you’re not so good at, after all, you’d hate to get a job acting like you’ve got all the skills they’re after and then be left having no idea what you’re doing!
  • Studying is great and all, but they’re probably going to ask what else you did during your time at University. So, it could be a good idea to get involved in some Uni clubs or have a part time job! Something you could get involved in within AUT which looks great on your CV and teaches you so many skills before entering the working world is the AUT Edge Award.

A degree will only get you so far! Your involvement in other aspects of life and your character are going to add value to your degree. Don’t sell yourself short, apply for everything and get involved in whatever you can!

Three things you can do to celebrate 125 years of Suffrage


By Jessica Marshall

Hey guys! Guess what? This year, this month in fact, is a big one if you’re a woman and you like voting. That’s right, the 19th September marks 125 years since women in New Zealand gained the right to vote!!!!

I get it, it doesn’t sound like much for those of you who’ve had the right to vote for the entire history of democracy. To you, it’s not a big deal, right? And, I suppose it’s not a big deal if you’re apathetic about voting. But, for those of us who’ve only had that right for 125 years and vote every time the opportunity arises, it’s actually a big deal – or at least, it should be, not least of all because we were the first in the world to grant women that right. Yeah, we were so ahead of the curve that it took our colonial overlords, Britain, 25 years to catch up.

A little while ago, I got the opportunity to attend the conference for the National Women’s Council, an organisation founded by the great suffragette Kate Shepard. If you’re unfamiliar with the different movements that have involved women over the years, it would be an eye-opening experience – actually, it’s rather eye-opening even if you’re familiar with them. It’s also pretty cool because former Prime Minister Helen Clark was the keynote speaker. The big message I got from that conference was that we’ve not actually moved terribly far in terms of women’s rights from the 19th September 1893. As Helen Clark put it at that event, women’s rights are always at threat of slippage.

So, what can you and I, all of us students on our limited budgets, do?

Educate Yourself

How many of us, in the aftermath of the first #metoo revelations, still aren’t sure what sexual harassment is? Or, how many of us knew that the sexist joke that bloke told us in the café took it a little too far? How many of us knew that sexual harassment doesn’t only affect women? Come on, you can put your hands up. There’s no shame in not knowing.

Huh, fewer of us might have been aware than we thought.

Okay, how many of us know what the gender pay gap is? How many of us think it’s a myth? How many of us have – at one time or another – blamed it on something like motherhood or a woman’s likeliness to be in part-time work? The gap is 12% here in New Zealand, and those excuses we use? Yeah, those only affect 20% of employed women, according to research from the Ministry of Women. For a break, here’s College Humor’s take on the issue:

Did you know that Climate Change is going to affect women worst? Seriously, according to Ireland’s former President, Mary Robinson, “Climate Change is not gender neutral.” Women are, according to a report from the London School of Economics, more likely to die in a natural disaster than men. Why? Well, I can’t give you a definitive answer – I’m definitely not an expert in the subject. But, if you’re interested in the subject, there’s a great photo essay from UN Women you can look at.

Look, I’m not suggesting you spend hours upon hours reading feminist theory – as much as I love the subject, I’ve always found the theory a little heavy-handed and overly academic for my liking. But, you should definitely read up on some feminist issues – I highly recommend reading any of Jessica Valenti’s columns for the Guardian or the New York Times, or you can always read Roxane Gay’s book, Bad Feminist, for a basic and quick read.

Go to Some Events

It sounds like a pretty random thing to suggest but, in reality, this is a great way to show some support and/or interest. I’ve provided a short listing below (don’t worry, they’re all free events)”

  • Are We There Yet? – Auckland War Memorial Museum is celebrating the 125-year anniversary of women’s suffrage with an exhibition on the women’s rights movement and the treatment of women in New Zealand. It’s a really interactive exhibition too – and there’s a movie.
  • Wāhine Take Action – Another exhibition on women’s rights in New Zealand (I know, there’s a lot), this time run by Auckland Libraries in the Central City Library.
  • Sunrise Celebration – If you’re an early riser, or have some time to kill before that 9am lecture starts, it might be worth it to head to Aotea Square on 19th September for 7am. The Prime Minister will be speaking and there will be a performance from New Zealand Poet Laureate Selina Tusitala Marsh among others.

What Can I Do From My Couch (or Bed - Don't Worry, I Won't Judge)?'

You could write out a tweet. Or, if you’re looking for something a little more challenging, you could do what I’m doing now and write a blog post.

There are some pretty awesome films out there too. A few favourites? My Year with Helen (dir. Gaylene Preston), The Color Purple (dir. Steven Spielberg), Erin Brokovitch (dir. Steven Soderbergh), and there’s always Wonder Woman (dir. Patty Jenkins).

Or, there’s a really cool thing going on at the moment. The Women on Wikipedia Challenge urges you to find a woman – she could be a writer, an artist, a community figure, or an activist – and search her up on Wikipedia. If she doesn’t have a page, write one. If she does, then fill in the gaps if you can. Then, post it to the Facebook page so that everyone else can read it.

So, have fun celebrating these 125 years of suffrage, I know I will.

Getting rid of stress


By Brooke Stevenson

So we are officially past the start of the semester and are creeping towards assignment overload (some of us are already there). This means that most of us will be starting to experience the stress and pressure that uni life as well as everyday life brings. It’s important in times like these to take a step back when things get too much and not let the stress take over. Easier said than done I know; but here’s a little advice that might benefit some of you and help you cope with it all.


Exercise truly is the best way to clear the mind. Whether it be a 10 minute walk or
a 1 hour gym session, anything that gets the endorphins moving is going to increase your happiness and release some stress. Not to mention help you focus if you’re trying to write an assignment.

Talk about it

The worst thing you can do is bottle things up, there is only so much someone can take. If you’re feeling stressed or overwhelmed the best thing you can do is talk about it with someone you trust. You could discuss it with family, friends or the trusted AUT Counselling and Mental Health Team.

Get organised

Buy a diary or a calendar because I promise you it’s going to become your new best friend.
Writing things down is a way of getting things out on paper and being able to visualise.
You’re able to see what needs to be done as well as when you have time to spare. Storing all that information somewhere other than your mind is going to give you a sense of relief and control.

Sleep well

I know its hard balancing day to day life and still managing to get enough sleep. They say the recommended sleep time is 8 hours, but sometimes that doesn’t seem possible when deadlines are nearing. All I can say is be kind to yourself, if you know you have an early start try set a reasonable time to get some rest
(even if that means missing out on watching an episode of your fave TV show).
You’ll be thankful in the morning that you had that extra hour or so to sleep and
you’ll be more energised and ready to take on the day.

Take care of your body, it’s the only one you have!

Finding the perfect work-life-uni balance


By Loren Luisa

Hey all you students out there!

We’re officially four weeks into semester two. Congratulations on making it this far! Now’s the time to remind yourself that you made it through the first semester, and you’re almost halfway through the second semester. Make it through the next eight weeks and then bring on the Christmas break (unless you’re gearing up for summer school that is).

If you’re like me, then you enjoyed a nice inter-semester break and delved into your savings (eep!). So, now is the time you’re starting to realise that maybe that wasn’t the best idea. Well, there’s no time like the present to start raking in some more cash. Now you’ve got a good grip on your schedule for this semester, why not start thinking about how to get a good work-life-study balance? Or, if you’ve already got yourself a job, let’s look at ways to maximise your time so you can work, study, and maintain the social life that keeps us all sane.

Having a job while balancing uni can be stressful at times. That’s why I’ve got a few top tips on how to create the perfect work-uni (and social life) balance to help you breeze through the rest of this semester, and save some moolah for the summer break.

Plan it out
For those of you who aren’t familiar with a schedule or calendar, now’s the time to really get to know each other. I guarantee you that your calendar is going to become your best friend, your lifeline, and the one thing you can depend on to keep your life in check. My advice would be to print off a weekly planner, fill in all your classes (the days and times) and then look at the gaps you have in your schedule and see if you can work a job into those hours. This way you won’t have to worry about having an overlap of classes and work. For those of you who are already ahead of the game and have a great job already, use your calendar to plan out your classes and work hours. Look for the gaps in your schedule you can dedicate as time for studying, catching up with friends, or even just having that well-deserved ‘me time’.

Stay on schedule
I can 100% guarantee you that getting behind in uni is one of the worst things to ever happen to a student. My biggest tip for all you students? Stay on top of your workload. Speaking from experience, realising that you have a massive assignment you haven’t started is due that week (or even the next day) is an added extra stress you definitely don’t need in your life. Going home at night, writing up your notes, or planning out the first draft for your assignment that’s due soon, even if it only takes five minutes, can be such a help in the long run. Trust me, when those due dates start creeping up on you, you’ll be thankful that you started planning early.

Know your limits
One of the biggest struggles you can have in uni is knowing what the right balance between work and study is for you. Making sure you don’t over-commit yourself to working those long days or late nights is key. Set aside time in your schedule to go to class, study at home, and also make that moolah, but make sure you know your limit of how many hours you can handle working each week. If you don’t, finding that perfect balance will definitely be a struggle. Once you’ve mastered the art of organisation and you’ve found your perfect balance, I promise your life will get much easier.

Follow these three simple tips and you’ll find your work-study-life balance in no time.

Be smart about your procrastination!


By Brooke Stevenson

I think it’s safe to say at one point or another, we have all been guilty of procrastinating. In our everyday lives we put off things like going to the gym, cleaning our rooms or booking those appointments we dread because our mums always used to do it for us. However, there’s one thing we always find ourselves guilty of time and time again, and that’s procrastinating every single assignment. I mean, you’d think we would’ve learnt the first time round that maybe leaving it to the last possible second isn’t the best idea; clearly not.

I’m not here to judge, procrastinating is the norm for me, so I get it. However, if you think you’re becoming a serial procrastinator like myself, then I suggest you keep reading because I’ve got a few tips that will help you embrace your procrastinator side and make meeting those last minute deadlines a whole lot easier.

Tip 1: Go onto the library website and print off the APA referencing guide, it is so easy to follow and will literally save your life. If you feel like that isn’t enough, the library also has APA referencing workshops that you can book into. They have lots of sessions to choose from so you can easily make it fit in with your timetable.

Tip 2: AUT peer mentors are a great service that AUT has to offer. Peer mentors are senior students who are available to tutor you in a specific subject to help you prepare for an upcoming assignment or exam. All you have to do is book an appointment through the AUT website and you’re good to go.

Tip 3: This may sound obvious, but make sure you know the date and time your assignment is due. It is so easy to get it confused, you don’t want to leave something so last minute that you completely miss the deadline. So make a note of when it’s due and keep referring back to it, you don’t want to lose marks over something that could have been avoided.

Basically, we are all guilty of procrastinating to different extremes and sometimes that habit is hard to break. So instead of trying to fight it, just be smart about it. Make sure you know everything about the assignment and understand all of the requirements. If you know you’re confused about something get on top of it, so when you come to do the assignment whenever that may be, you are fully prepared and that late night cramming won’t turn out to be as late!

Generation Environment


By Courtney Johnson

Apparently, my generation is considered ‘Generation Environment’. This is because we are trying to improve the unintentional damage created in the past. It is inspiring to see sustainable start-up businesses all over Instagram, thousands of petitions shared on Facebook and endless tips and tricks for veganism, plastic alternatives and reducing waste trending on Pinterest. But is it making any difference? Does owning reusable bags and getting sad about turtles choking on plastic make me live up to my title of ‘Generation Environment’?

We love feeling like good people. Actually, environmental campaigns often encourage behaviour changes by using our need for validation. Unfortunately, feeling good about using your keep cup at Newsfeed is NOT saving the planet. We do little acts of good and think it makes up for everything else.

Breaking down our environmental problems into small actions makes being environmentally friendly seem more possible. If we feel like we are powerless, we are more likely to give up. Focusing on the small actions that are in our own capabilities make us feel like we can make a difference. It is easy to say no to plastic straws. However, one person’s choice to refuse one straw isn’t what inspired countries like Canada to ban them. It is a great first step; but that is all it is, a first step. It doesn’t automatically turn us into eco-warriors, nor does it change the environment.

For any of these small acts of goodness to mean anything, we have to ensure that all of us are playing our part which makes initiatives like AUT’s first Earth Week so important. Earth Week is a time where individuals can become a community. We listen and learn from others but also contribute our own ideas and passions. We can see the need for change and make connections with other people wanting to make it happen.

You may already know why recycling, refusing plastic bags, and reusing containers and clothing is important for the environment and the difference consuming sustainable and eco-friendly food and products makes. But the biggest difference you can make is spreading the word.

AUT’s Earth Week is running the first week of August and is an opportunity to learn new ways to look after the environment but it also forms a network of people making differences in their own lives. It inspires people to help the cause, because it shows we are not alone. There is strength in numbers. It takes a community to make a difference. Even the term, ‘Generation Environment’, implies that working together is essential to make an impact. What will make the difference is voicing these problems and encouraging other people to change their actions, even if it is just talking to that friend of yours that brings glad wrap lunches to uni. Yes, take on environmental action, but most importantly, be the inspiration for others to do the same.

There's something good in every day


By Kaitlyn Wislang

"Every day may not be good . . . but there's something good in every day."
Alice Morse Earle

University is tough. However, I feel as though I have gone on and on about that an awful lot recently, which is actually unfair towards uni. There are actually plenty of wonderful things going on too, but it is easy for these to be overshadowed by everything else happening. This is why it’s important to talk about all the bad things, and the good things too! It reminds our brains that not everything has hit the fan just yet, and that there are still sunshiney things out there. We just have to adjust where we are looking sometimes.

grumpy tshirt girl

To start off with, the journey to and from uni is pretty wonderful. Feeling the cool winter air in the early morning is one of my favourite things, as well as seeing the perfect lawn of dew masking all the gardens. Getting to wear cosy scarves and jumpers, and looking out the bus window watching the world go by outside. You can even be all dramatic and pretend you are in a music video, staring deeply out the window. You get to people watch, read books, listen to podcasts, and who knows, you might even meet a cool stranger. And if Wellington’s recent announcement of pets being allowed on their public transport isn’t exciting enough, who knows when Auckland might follow suit!

The studying part of uni is also pretty cool. Heading to the library, grabbing a few textbooks that relate to a course and going through each of them in conjunction with lecture notes is such a good feeling, even though it’s old school, and who knows if lecturers recommend it or not (if it’s not peer reviewed then should the text even exist?!). Maybe it’s actually the half decent notes that result which make this such a good time, or the whole studying in the library and feeling super productive as a result part, but either way, yes! Bonus good feels are added when it’s pouring with rain outside, and you are feeling all warm and safe, studying inside, listening to good tunes, and having winter bellow just metres away.

Something else which quite possibly beats all other Good Things on the uni front is the satisfaction and feeling of productivity, of accomplishing your goals. And oh my lanta, I feel like achieving goals isn’t a wide enough talked about subject. It’s like we are afraid to be seen as bragging or that we aren’t good enough or whatever. But anyway, shame to that I say! Set out small goals, and go out and get them done! And celebrate doing that! Crossing things off a todo list is also a fabulous way to feel in control of your life, and to get you to where you want to be.

pink balloon guy

All the good things! So many good things! Also sorry for this late warning about all the Parks and Rec gifs . . . can you blame me though? They seem to be appropriate for any situation.

"I know today is Monday and you assume it’s going to suck, but according to statistics, there will be over 5,000 weddings, 10,000 childbirths, and 42 million hugs occurring today throughout the United States. Also today, there will be at least 4 people that will win the multimillion dollar lotteries, 600 people will get promotions at work, and 3,000 people will lose their virginity. There will also be 600 dogs adopted, 35,000 balloons sold, and 800,000 skittles eaten. Plus, the words “I love you” will be said over 9 million times. So again, I know today is Monday and you assume it’s going to suck, but just smile, because according to statistics, it should actually be a really nice day."

happy puppy

Beyond our little bubble which is uni (though it feels massive and overwhelming and like it’s everything, I know), is  the comforting fact that uni actually isn’t everything. There is a whole world outside of uni, and there is a whole life to live beyond this season that we are currently in. One day we will graduate, and after that there will be different tough things and different good things, more than we can even imagine right now. Just think, there are awesome songs to discover that you haven’t heard yet, there are movies to laugh and cry to, there are friends and lovers to meet, there are desserts to try, there are so, so many dogs to pat, and there are all those moments, regardless of how small they are, where you just know, this is exactly where you are supposed to be. And you are intrinsically at peace.

On doing it all.


By Kaitlyn Wislang

A better title for this might be: On doing it all (or trying to). Or perhaps: On doing it all, and braving the overwhelmingness that comes with it. Or maybe simply just: Trying would be the most apt. But you know, confidence is key, so doing is going to replace trying here. It looks better when you are confident in your answer of Greenland, while everybody else argues over 10.4 or 12. I’m pretty sure you get brownie points for that.

For those of you out there who are in the final year of your degree –


This ride is crazy, and I understand it being a package deal of all the struggles and wonderful things too.

The sleep deprivation, the academic fatigue, the harrowing perfectionism, the imposter syndrome, and the not knowing if it’s even possible to make it through the week, let alone to the ever-elusive graduation.

Trying to balance all the papers, doing a year-long research project, somehow leading a club (I have no idea how that happened either), completing the AUT Edge Award, finances, all the work shifts, volunteering, relationships, keeping mental health intact (or you know, just literally having a sense of mental health at all), and trying not to accidentally burn down your flat while cooking dinner at 12:00 am when you finally get home – it is really tough to say the least.

It’s a lot.

So here are some tips from someone who has no idea exactly how to do it all, how she actually ended up trying to do it all, or if she will actually make it out the other end.

I don’t know what I’m doing, but I understand.

  1. Plan every day. But not like me at 4:24 am on a Monday, because the overwhlemingness of the week ahead is keeping you way too awake (and I’m definitely not writing this piece in the wee hours either), but at some sort of vaguely reasonable hour. You can utilise hundreds of notes on your phone, go the old school way of post-it notes, or go hard on the bullet journaling (mine has turned into an indistinguishable mess. Pinterest hates me). Pick any way, and get all of the muck and details floating around in your head out and visually portrayed in front of you. Things can seem more manageable this way.
  2. Talk about it. Vent out all those scary feelings of not being able to be it all, and of not being able to do it all. As cliché as it is, bottling them all up really doesn’t help, and who knows what will happen when you eventually explode. And let’s be honest, neither you nor your classmates deserve that.
  3. Take things day by day. Thinking about the week and months ahead can really prompt all sorts of mind explosions, mostly ruminating around “I can’t do this!” but with lots more exclamation marks and cold sweats. Focus on just putting one foot in front of the other, and making it through one day at a time. I’m going to be honest and say that yes, this piece of advice seems very wise, and also no, I don’t know how to do this very well either. We can only try, right?
  4. Know what helps you. What helps your mind take a break when you are feeling particularly overwhelmed? For me, it’s watching my favourite vloggers, tending to my little container garden, and (unfortunately) playing the new Harry Potter: Hogwarts Mystery mobile app. Here’s a bonus pro-tip though: don’t get sucked into setting numerous alarms for the middle of the night so that you can complete McGonagall’s transfiguration lesson. It really doesn’t help the feeling of being too busy to breathe.
  5. And lastly, my sweet uni friends:

  6. Know that you don’t have to do it all. Seriously. The sky probably won’t collapse on you. Your friends will still tag you in wonderfully bad memes. You will make it through, and probably more unscathed this way too. Evaluate what is actually important, prioritise that, and for the lack of a better word, dump the rest. It’s not going to help you if all it does is weigh you down.
  7. Be kind to yourselves.

How to deck out your flat without breaking the bank


By Loren Tomlinson

Aside from the mental calculation of how much money you ‘accidentally’ spent during O-week, the only other thing that could be worse is having a boring bedroom to live in for the year. The only problem being, how do you delve into a little home décor to make your flat more you and less the landlord without spending excessive money?

As a fellow flattie myself, here are my top tips on how to deck out your flat without breaking the bank:

1. Kmart is now officially your new best friend

Honestly, I think it’s safe to say that about 80% of the interior decorations in my flat are from Kmart. From cute duvet covers to wall hangings, to those adorable little succulents you line up along your windowsill, Kmart has it all!

Adding a few little plants in and around your flat can make the space look a lot livelier and inviting, and they’re all fake, so there’s no chance of them dying!

2. Canvas photos

Is your room feeling a little bland? Take a second and stare at that big empty space on the wall behind your bed. Now think about just how good it would look with a big canvas with a cute AF photo on it. Cool, right?! I was in the warehouse the other day and found one that I absolutely adore and it’s only $16!

Putting up a photo above your bed not only opens up the space behind it, but it can help create a scene / certain vibe in your bedroom. There are so many canvases you can buy from places like The Warehouse and Kmart that are all under $30 and come in all sorts of different colours that you’re bound to find one that matches your colour scheme.

3. Budget well and be a smart shopper

I know this hack isn’t exactly something you can buy, but it will definitely help you out when it comes time to buy things. If you budget well and set aside money when you know you are going to be shopping for more home décor, then you shouldn’t face too many issues when you find something you like.

Now that I’ve given you some hacks for how to deck out your flat without breaking the bank, let the move-ins begin!!

Happy flatting everyone!

Loz xx

Why the third week of uni is the toughest


By Kaitlyn Wislang

University is back.

And you’re back too.

Ready to rumble. Reunited like your seat and that wet dog smell on the OuterLink bus in winter. Reconnected like you dashing off to class and leaving your USB plugged in Tech Central. Rekindled like your grocery cart and a bulk bag of value penne.

There has never been anything sweeter, than yourself at AUT, right?

While being plunged out of the summer haze of beaches, never-ending work shifts, and popsicles for dinner, and thrown deep into the mosh pit of students outside WG403, isn’t necessarily the best, the first week back at uni is actually pretty nice. You get to properly catch up with your friends in those horrendously long gaps between lectures, free food is around, and for the most part, classes are relaxed.

The first week back is kind. It eases us back gently with hopeful promises of graduation and free pens.

Week two is also relatively pain-free. You have stood in the line for an eternity to get your tertiary concession on your HOP card sorted, and are feeling relatively productive.

“I’ve got this,” you chuckle to yourself reassuringly.

“I can totally be an adult.”

Your New Year’s resolutions to study harder and smarter are still shining bright; you haven’t skipped a class yet. Things are quietly manageable, and your notes haven’t yet evolved into that derelict scrawl (does anyone else still handwrite in class? Just me?).

You are making it.

You are surviving.

You are an AUT student.

Then, before you know it, your world drastically changes. The people who turn up only during the initial weeks, and who you had never seen before your third-year class, vanish without a trace.

It’s Monday 19 March. The third week back.

There are words and concepts and ideas and experiments that you need to understand, all hurled at you. You falsely believed the dodgeball days of primary school were over.

The pretty premise of this being your year evaporates.

You are somehow four weeks behind, despite it being week three.

And now, it’s too late to withdraw and become a goat shepherd on a remote island (if that thought hasn’t crossed your mind at least once; you’re lying.).

Week three is definitely the toughest week of the semester.

And then the horrific realisation hits like that dreaded Studylink invoice - you have only made it three weeks in.


Please click here for a list of past articles.