AUT Uni Life

A little goodbye


By Tom Vasey

This has been a pretty tumultuous year, in all honesty. Even beyond the obvious stuff that’s going on in the wider world, it’s been a long year when it comes to university, too. There’s been plenty to do, lots of people to meet, clubs to get involved in and a nightlife to say you’re totally going to join in on, but keep putting it off (if you’re me, that is). Now, here we are, at year’s end, with stores playing interminable Christmas rubbish on their radios as a method of new-age torture for those of us in retail, and exams are all behind us, even those of us who needed to do the resits.

If you didn’t do as much as you wanted to this year, I think that’s okay. It’s certainly not the end of the world, and there’s more time in the future to get stuff sorted out. Actually, you know, I signed up for the gym last year, but it’s only this year I started going consistently, so the moral of the story is that as long as you get to it when it feels right to you, then it’s okay if you haven’t done everything you planned on this year.

I suppose this is the part where I say goodbye for the year, with the solemn hope that I’ll come back again next year to pretend I know what I’m talking about to students both new and old. The truth is, I’ve played it by ear about as much as everyone else here does, if not more so. Be prepared when you can be, and when you can’t be, improvise with the best knowledge that you have available, right? 90% of the time, it works every time.

Still, a simple goodbye isn’t quite adequate, given the world we’re living in nowadays, especially since I’m also aware there’s a lot of students who’ll be leaving university behind after this year, either because they ran into problems or because they’re graduating. That means that a lot of folks – thousands, in fact – are getting thrust into a big stupid world that’s full of misunderstanding and disdain. This year especially, it’s become increasingly apparent to me that there’s a lot of anger in the world, some of it justified, some of it not. Heck, there are things I’ll lose the plot over too, and I try to stay well away from it. On top of that, though, there’s a lot of things that are needlessly complicated about our world, too. Some people will have postgraduate degrees they’re graduating with at the end of this year, and they still won’t know what they want to do. Because of this, I’d like to talk a little about two of the smartest people I’ve ever known.

One of them is my best friend, a guy called Jeff who lives in the USA. The other is someone I used to date. Both of them graduated with exceptional grades and Chemical Engineering degrees from fine universities, and I couldn’t possibly be prouder of them. The thing is, though, they weren’t sure what they wanted to do with their newfound qualifications, and they went in very different directions. One of them ended up moving countries, the other ended up training on a nuclear reactor. There’s a lot of possibilities in the world, and while there’s no question more upsetting to a graduate than “oh, what are you going to do next? ” the truth is that you’ve got the whole world at your feet, and a lot of adventures ahead of you. It’s okay to not know what to do next because you’ve given yourself the opportunities you need to make sure that you can handle it all, come what may.

The next thing to remember, and this is important, is that no matter what it’s important to be kind to one another. I am so furious about the world right now and how many perfectly capable adults have come to forget that. Look, I’m not going to sugar-coat anything – the world is a place where there is evil, there is misunderstanding, and there are people who will exploit your empathy or match it with hatred. I’ve seen a lot of this in Europe, the UK, and especially in the US lately. There are a lot of media sources that absolutely love documenting this stuff as well, or presenting violent rioting subversives as heroes, but at end of the day it’s all perpetuating a cycle of hate that won’t bring life or happiness, only pain and suffering. Don’t punch people, don’t label people with broad blanket statements, and don’t hate anyone for who they are, where they were born or anything of the sort. We should all be above this, and work to improve ourselves as a species.

After all, with the exception of some group project teams at uni, we tend to work pretty well in unison as a species, and we’re going to change the world in little or big ways. Whether we have immense power or nothing to work with, we’re all going to bring about a little change, and that’s super important.

The moral is that we must be kind to our fellow humans. Do not let your politics, your beliefs or anything of the sort get in the way of that. As I said a couple of months ago, make kindness the order of the day, and you will be contributing towards the betterment of our world. If even one or two people remember that in the coming years, I will be looking forward to the future of our planet far more than I am now.

I hope to see all of you next year, and remember to be kind to yourselves, too. Keep pushing yourself to do better, but no matter what the final grades look like at exam, remember that it’ll all be okay in the end.

Thanks guys, and take care, okay? Have a lovely holiday no matter where you’re going and where you are.

What to do next year


By Tom Vasey

One of the big challenges that you’ll no doubt be coping with right now is enrolment for next year. Hopefully you’ve got a fair idea of what you actually want to do, but it’s not quite as simple as picking something, is it? Especially if you’re choosing your major, it can be a pretty harrowing experience just to make sure you don’t get saddled with something utterly rubbish. Even if you’ve got that sorted out, there are things like electives that you need to watch out for, which are their own kettle of utter nonsense.

So, what can you do about it?

Well, let’s start with majors. You’ve got an insane amount of variety available when it comes to majors, and it’s often a matter of too much choice rather than too little. It’s easier said than done to pick something like this, and if it seems like a big decision, that’s a good thing – it really is and it’s good to give it a level of respect. The standard advice is often to just choose something you enjoy. While that’s an okay option, it’s also a good idea to make an informed decision. You can check online to get a few ideas about where a career path will take you. Some things tend to look really good and interesting on the surface, but they won’t lead you in a direction you’ll ultimately be happy with.

Take me, for instance. I actually do a Psych and Business conjoint degree, which has involved trying to pick some sort of business major for next year. The obvious choice for a major to gel with Psychology is Marketing, and a lot of people tend to follow that path. In fact, the person who first twigged me on to learning about conjoints last year was in that major. Still, it didn’t really feel right, and as I come to the end of my second year, it still doesn’t feel right. Advertising, marketing and things like that are really good for some people, but I don’t think I could live with it myself. Besides, I’d be one heck of a hypocrite given my liberal use of Adblock.

The point is, it’s a huge decision, and it’s okay to take it seriously. If you know any alumni or people further along in your degree, feel free to ask them. Just make sure you make a choice you can be happy with. And if you’re still in doubt, go and talk to AUT’s Careers and Employability team – they’re really helpful.

So with that done and dusted, what about electives? Well, again, the vast majority of people will say to do something that’s interesting to you, and that’s totally viable most of the time. However, I’m going to drop a little knowledge about how electives used to work back in the day and what it means for university students. You see, in the olden days, an elective was meant to be something utterly divorced from what your major was. The idea was that taking these additional papers would help round out your knowledge. Obviously it isn’t the 1800s anymore, so no one’s going to boot you up the backside to make you do anything, but it’s something to consider. Electives are a great way to round out your knowledge base, become a much more broadly educated person, and get a little expertise in something you never would’ve considered looking at before.

As always, make sure to check in with your faculty, and feel free to ask anyone who’s taken an interesting elective or major before to see if you can get a little inspiration. You’re spoiled for choice in this place, and it’s a great opportunity to do something a little different with yourself.

Take care everyone, and have a lovely week!



By Shannel Milne 

I can practically feel it in the air, taste the freedom and it is amazing. The weather is getting warmer, my last assignment EVER is nearly finished and my stress is almost completely vanished. I graduate in a month and my university days are numbered. I can understand that this time of the year is incredibly stressful for a whole lot of students. Exams, study, assignment and more exams. But the end is fast approaching and soon summer will hit. Everyone just needs to stick out these next few weeks! I can see light at the end of the tunnel! I won't go on about taking care of yourself and offering study tips. Everyone knows how they work best, so keep doing you.

To give myself motivation to push through to the end of the semester I plan for the future. This seems like an even more terrifying idea to deal with. What I mean is short term. My 21st birthday is coming up, I graduate and it's summer soon. So plan something to look forward to. Look at planning a weekend away after exams, or an outfit to celebrate in. Give yourself a small goal to achieve so that you have something to distract yourself with. For every hour of study you do, reward yourself with an episode of the new Stranger Things season. (See, not tips on studying... tips on low-key procrastinating).

We've all got this under control! So keep your heads up mentally and down physically. Pick a playlist and power through those notes, reference those assignments and think happy thoughts about the uni-free time on the horizon.

Good luck team!

10 random things I've learnt from being at uni


By Shannel Milne

2 minute noodles are life

Before uni I ate whatever my mum made me and the idea of going off on my own and eating whatever the hell I wanted, whenever I wanted, thrilled me. At first I loved it. I had pizza for breakfast, lunch and dinner. Then my money dried up and 2 minute noodles became the love of my life. I can't cook to save my life so 2 minute noodles are a God send! Plus they're superfast to make and cheap.

Napping isn't just for nannas

Naps man... Need I say more? If you're tired have a nap. If you're stressed, nap. Bored? Nap. I don't know how I survived before I started taking daily naps. 5 minutes or 5 hours, naps are necessary.

You might be broke but you'll always have money for booze

Uni does tend to put your priorities out of whack. Stock up on food or buy a bottle of vodka? I know which one I should do but I always go with the latter. I admit I've spent A LOT of time figuring out when I should buy alcohol and how long it will last me. You never know when you'll next go out so it's best to be prepared.

Pajamas are acceptable attire EVERYWHERE

I don't know if this applies to everyone but I go everywhere in my PJ's and no one blinks an eye. I feel no shame in going to Countdown at three in the afternoon wearing the clothes I slept in.

Course friends are stress relief

Sometimes I check in on my friends/acquaintances from my course just to see if they're still failing at life. A quick message asking if they've started the assignment and getting a "" reply always helps ease the pressure. Neither of us really offer the other help but the united struggle is encouragement in itself.

Everyone loves Disney

This one is a no-brainer. Even 20-year-olds will eagerly spend a night binge watching Disney movies.

Laundry can wait

If I still have bikini bottoms then I don't really need to do a load of underwear, do I? It just takes so damn long and wastes the whole day. Even the thought of doing laundry is tiring!

If you haven't considered dropping out, you, my friend, are lying

Early mornings, hard degree, boring paper, homesick or just plan old unsure and confused. Dropping out is a fantasy I entertain all of the time. What would I do with all that free time? I could live the life! I'm not sure what the 'life' is but it must be better than an 8am lecture.

Bad habits are here to stay

The binge eating, lazy days, partying and all the other bad habits are harder to break than I realised! It's always something I tell myself I'll stop after I finish an assignment or the semester or the degree. I still have hope! I go to subway for the $2.50 toasties so often that I'm now very good friends with the people that work there.

My old life was a luxury

I never felt that spoilt living with my parents, sure I am a Princess and revel in being treated like one but... I have never appreciated toilet paper, toothpaste and deodorant so much in my entire life until I had to buy it for myself. It always just showed up when I needed it.

Keeping up good habits over the holidays


By Tom Vasey

One of the consistent problems I’ve had over the last couple of years is sticking to a half-decent schedule over the holidays. This year, I will be doing a lot of hanging out at work over the next few months, so that ought to create something vaguely resembling a schedule for me, but others might not have the same driving force.

It is very easy, especially if you live with your parents or don’t have a job, to let everything just collapse in on itself. It’s very easy to slip into some bad habits if you don’t keep a close eye on everything you’re doing. Now, of course, there’s a few things you can do to mitigate that.

First of all, it’s a good idea to try and grab a job even if you don’t need one. Even if you live with your family, it’s worth doing, especially since any money you make is pretty much pure profit. This is a good way of keeping to a schedule, which means that you can continue to keep to your other commitments.

If you can do that, there’s a few other things that are worth doing. First of these is going to the gym, if you haven’t already. I’ll be honest, I really enjoy exercising now, even though over the last few years I was more likely to stuff my face with cheap muck. That’s still true today, but to a lesser extent (only 15kg shy off the target weight now!)

Alternatively, this is also a great opportunity to pick up some new hobbies and suchlike. Summer is usually a really nice time to get out and do something different, especially since the nice weather usually has a positive effect on your mood overall. It’s a great idea to get out there and do something you’ve never done before, especially if you’ve been looking for an excuse.

It’s also very important to have a careful think about what you want to do next year, or even see if you can apply for summer school if the fancy takes you. Probably doesn’t hurt to have a few more papers under your belt, but you really have to think about it because summer school involves a rather intense workload.

There’s a lot of possibilities, but I’ll leave you with this: don’t wait for New Year’s Day to start making resolutions. Today could be the day that you decide to do something different with your life, or explore something brand new. It’s not some big decision, either. You don’t have to stand atop the Sky Tower and bellow it into the night. Doing something different is a little decision, and even a little variety will help make everything a bit better.

Take care everyone, and I’ll catch you later!



By Harris Dowson

As I’m sure you’re all aware by now; almost a month since the election, Winston Peters and New Zealand First reached a decision. The decision they made was one that will change the future of our country. After much deliberation, Winston Peters stated that he would side with the Labour Party and their confidence and supply agreement with the Greens; giving them a majority to lead the New Zealand government. This is huge news and regardless of whether you are happy about this or not, the majority of Kiwis have voted for change and that’s just what we’ve got.

So, what now? What does this “triple threat” government mean for our country and for us as students? Well, hopefully some pretty great things. The definitive roles of each party and the outcomes of their long negotiations aren’t yet apparent, so what this government will actually look like is yet to be seen.  There will certainly be concessions that have been made, some policies that were campaigned on may have had to go by the wayside but this is the just the reality of negotiation and compromise. All these intricacies will become apparent in the next few days but for now there are three major factors that we do know about the new leaders of our country and they’re all positive.

They all agree that there’s a housing crisis.

As Aucklanders, this is great news for all of us. The National government never said out loud that there was a crisis of housing, even when every man and his dog knew there was. The new collation government have all vocally agreed that more houses need to be built. People should be able to save and purchase their own homes and more importantly, not have to live out of their cars because they can’t afford to rent.

They all agree our waterways are dying from pollution.

Farming in our country is causing major damage to our waterways. Many aren’t swimmable or drinkable and the pollution is also doing damage to the ecosystems that depend on them.  Farmers do a lot for the Kiwi economy but continuing like they are just isn’t sustainable. The new coalition government agrees on this and has said it wants to work to save our waterways; while not breaking the backs of our farmers.

They all agree child poverty exists in our country and something needs to be done about it.

The National government denied this fact but it is true. In our beautiful country, there are children going to school with no shoes on their feet or lunch in their bag. That is unacceptable. We know have a government that knows this and is going to change it.

New Zealand has new leadership and this is just the beginning. There’s a lot of work to do yet; but for me, the future looks bright.

Saying goodbye


By Tom Vasey

I’ve been having a rather interesting week. My group project concluded on Friday, and it was funny to say goodbye to so many people that I’d hung out with for the whole semester. It’s very interesting, actually. Even when you’re talking about people who have consistently gotten on your nerves the whole way through the semester, it’s harder than it probably should be to say goodbye.

By now, it’s probably obvious who you’re not going to see again. Some people might be switching universities, maybe looking at dedicated tech schools or something else. Some people might not cut it in uni altogether, and might be putting their talents to use elsewhere. Others are in very different majors from your own, and you’re going to spot them from time to time, but it’ll never be quite the same as it was. Sometimes you’ll talk to someone and make a noncommittal comment about adding them on Facebook, or maybe they’ll do it, too. Either way, you might just see them again from time to time, when your schedules intersect, but that may be the last you’ll see of them.

It’s a very funny feeling, though one that I’m increasingly used to. I’m in a conjoint degree, and that weird scheduling means that even people in individual majors of mine won’t be in my classes consistently, because obviously I’m balancing Business and Psychology across two campuses simultaneously. It’s pretty heavy stuff, and not always conducive to making friends.

Still, it’s weird to say goodbye to people and realise that you’ll probably never see them again. The funny thing is, it seems to be the case every year, every semester, too. If you have any different papers, then that’ll generally be the last that you see of someone. Sometimes you’ll get lucky and see them again from time to time, or maybe you’ll even be super lucky and have a few classes with the same people, but that might be the extent of it.

So, if you’re interested in having friends consistently throughout uni, there’s a few ways to do it.

First of all, you’ve got some club-related options kicking around. There are faculty clubs, so if you want to actually have a scheduled time to meet people in your degree, then you have that available. On top of that, you also have some other clubs kicking around for mutual interests, or you could even create your own if you can get a few people together. Swing by AuSM and get together for that.

The second option is to befriend people outside of your immediate degree. Most of my friends are engineering majors, which is brilliant because understanding that stuff has made me feel like a more well-rounded person by looking up the stuff they’re on about. I mean, it’s all Greek to me (literally, in some cases), but it’s exciting to learn and university is supposed to give you a pretty broad knowledge base (which is why you don’t just pick rubbish electives, ideally). Scheduling conflicts are already a given, so if you can work around that, then it’s fine.

Truth be told, it’s difficult, and in many cases it’s totally undoable. Still, there may well be one chance to see them again, and it’s a moment that I think of quite often.

Someday, you’ll step onto that stage alongside them, to get that lovely piece of paper at the end of this journey, and you’ll probably meet them again and share memories from years ago. In fact, someday we’re all going to step up there and see people we haven’t seen since our first year in the same big class…and I feel like that’s probably going to be an incredibly emotional day.

At least, I think so. Everyone wearing the robes who I’ve met so far is usually dancing down the street bellowing “I CAN SLEEP AGAIN!”

Must be nice.

Take care, everyone!

Making use of student services


By Tom Vasey

Hey guys, I’ve been hearing a little grumbling lately about unfair grading, or people who feel like they’ve been messed around by their employers. With exams coming up and the last assignment results being submitted soon, there’s a lot to worry about, and the concern that you may be unfairly graded is real. To be fair, a lot of lecturers and tutors are pretty overworked, and it’s usually an innocent mistake to overlook something or mis-mark an assignment. It does happen, but you needn’t suffer for it.

Fortunately, AUT has several avenues you can go down. Obviously, you can appeal directly through Blackboard or meeting the tutor or lecturer directly. Show your assignment off and try to point out exactly where things seem to have gone wrong. Usually, if you’re earnest and polite, you can get a lot done together. Seriously, never underestimate the value of good manners and an honest discussion.

You can ask for someone else to have a crack at marking your assignments, too. This is good because they might pick up on something that your normal marker missed out on, or be able to understand a point that you were trying to make a little more intuitively. It’s worth doing, but please remember that there’s also a chance of the grade dropping because they notice mistakes the original marker missed, too.

If you’ve been dealing with illness – especially something chronic – there’s also no shame in applying for extensions before the due date, and making sure that you have the appropriate medical documentation for it. You can look up at the Special Consideration tab up at the top right on your Blackboard page to give that a look.

If all else fails, I thoroughly recommend AuSM’s advocacy services, because the people working there do great work and can help plead your case in events where you’re suspected of academic integrity violations, or you need an arbiter for your employer or your markers. It’s well worth it, though for total disclosure I should admit that I’ve made use of those services multiple times myself, and I swear by them.

If you need to use the advocacy service, you need to start by checking their website at, or visiting one of the offices on North, City or South Campus. It’s worth mentioning that this is one of the more practical services that AuSM offers, and is probably the best use of the money that goes into them (I would’ve also said the same of Debate until reading some of the issues this year). Though of course there is a plethora of complementary services and goodies that you can get from the office, but advocacy is probably the most practical.

The last little bit of info I’d like to impart today is that some papers will have end of semester “tests”. Just because they don’t explicitly call it an exam doesn’t mean it’s something to be taken lightly. Remember, if it looks like an exam, has conditions like an exam and makes people cry like an exam, it’s probably an exam.

Take care of yourselves, everyone. Hopefully this has been helpful in letting you know what services are available to you during a difficult part of the semester. Good luck this week!

Love your backyard for D.O.C Conservation Week


By Harris Dowson

The department of conservation do a ton for our beautiful country, from protecting our native species, planting trees, eradicating pest and maintaining a myriad of parks, walks of reserves for us Kiwi’s to enjoy. They do all this amazing work and with a pretty meagre budget too, considering over a third of New Zealand is national parks they’re responsible for. D.O.C relies on a lot of volunteers for their conservation efforts but there are plenty of simple things we can do at home to help them with their amazing work.

Next week is conservation week and D.O.C is putting out a rallying cry for us kiwis to show our backyard some love and help protect, nurture and grow our stunning environment. There are events, competitions and backyard activities happening all over the country during the week. I thought I’d highlight some things we can all do to give a helping hand and say thanks to the amazing women and men of D.O.C that do so much for our little slice of paradise.

Do an activity

There’s plenty of small things you can do during conservation week from the comfort of your own home. The D.O.C website have collated a list of simple activities that can make a load of difference. Things like attracting native birds to your garden, stopping the spread of garden pests and harmful plants or helping to attract our native lizard species into your backyard. There’s a ton of different activities to do that can all do a ton of help.

Find an event near you

Conservation week has a plethora of events on for you to get involved with. Get your hands dirty helping plant native trees, help clean up a beach or learn more about what makes up our amazing environment by going on a hike with the pros. There’s so much on you’re bound to find something that tickles your fancy.

Win stuff

D.O.C is running a few awesome competitions over the week too and they’ve got some pretty sweet prizes. A return trip to Stewart Island, Queenstown or Taupo anyone? The best bit is, to enter them all you have to do is get out in our amazing nature and share what you’re doing. I mean, who doesn’t like winning stuff while taking a stroll on a beach?

Spread the word

Many hands make light work, so spread the word using the hashtag #LoveMyBackyard to promote D.O.C’s awesome efforts. If everyone did one little thing then it’d do some serious good for our environment, the hard workers at D.O.C and for Aotearoa itself. Get amongst it!

I tried the new AUT resilience app


By Sharleen Shergill

On 10 October, AUT celebrated World Mental Health Day by releasing a resilience app for students. The purpose of the app is to help students manage stress and build mental strength. Whether you’re in need of extra motivation or just need help relaxing, this app is for everyone to use. The content on the app was created by Inspired Learning with advisory assistance of Dr Mark Thorpe, clinical psychologist and senior lecturer in Psychology at AUT and Jasmine Murphy, senior psychologist at ProCare Health. That’s impressive, so I decided to check out the app.

You can download it on the App Store here or Google play here, IT’S FREE!

Once downloaded just enter your AUT login details to get into the app. When you’ve entered the app, it welcomes you and tells you that the tools in the app work best in a quiet place where you won’t be disturbed. I found this interesting as I’d probably want to use the app at uni since that’s where I spend most of my time and it would be difficult in some cases to find a place where you won’t be disturbed. However, after using the app I realised that to actually use it properly a quiet space is key. Something I like is that you can download the audio in the app to listen to whenever you want.

The content on the app is split up into seven different programs.

I explored “Be Energy Smart”. When you click on it, you’re led to the page with pop up tips related to that topic.

After that you can scroll through the different audio files, select one you want to listen to and even pick whether you want to hear it in a male or female voice.

I started off by listening to “Be Active”. This got me to close my eyes, relax and do breathing exercises. I thought I must have clicked the wrong thing because I was expecting to get straight into a talk about being active. Nevertheless, I kept an open mind and went with the flow. By closing my eyes and listening to the voice my body was relaxing without even trying. After this, the real talk about being active started. Before starting, I didn’t look at how long the audio was. At one point when I was being asked to think about something the silence was too long and I thought the talk was over but turns out I still had around 8mins left. Overall, the audio ranges from 2 minutes to 13 minutes depending on what program you’re listening to. One thing that I’m used to seeing when listening to audio is the minutes (for example when you listen to a song you can see how many minutes it has left) but you don’t see that on this app. Later I discovered that if you scroll up you can see it.

Under “Be Energy Smart” there’s even hypnotherapy sessions to help you become a non-smoker, something which I did not expect from this app and it’s great that it’s included.

After listening to some of the other programs, I understood why you need a quiet place where you won’t be disturbed to use the app to its full potential. This is because the app gets you to do breathing exercises and say things which wouldn’t be easy if people were around.

“Daily Boosters” includes short, quick programs that help you reflect as well as set goals for the day. The “Morning Intention” is a great way to get your morning started as it helps you focus on one thing you would like to achieve in the day. I also enjoyed “G.I.V.E” which helps you value your life and be grateful for what you have, something which can easily be forgotten when you’re busy thinking about uni, work, relationships etc.

Under the “Reminders” tab you can set an alarm and timer.  Overall, the content in the app is very useful, it helps you take a step back from everything that’s happening and look at the bigger picture. Depending on what purpose I’m using the app for I would probably listen to it in bed before going to sleep or in the morning when I wake up. The content helps you develop positive habits that you can use for the rest of your life and which will be extremely useful when you enter the real world of work.

This app is a great way to kick off Mental Health Awareness Week which is happening 9 to 16 October. Check out the Facebook event to see what’s happening around uni. You can also use hashtags #mhawnz and #autuni to show your support and share what you’re doing.

How about starting with letting your friends and family know you appreciate them - even though that’s cheesy and can feel cringe-worthy - who knows what they’re going through and that could be just the thing to make their day.


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