It is easy to see why Sam decided to study degrees in Law and Political Science, a popular combination of subjects at UC. ‘I am genuinely interested in politics, both political theory and the application of it. Law ties in with that brilliantly. My Law degree constantly challenges me like nothing else. Law school provides a different perspective on life and a clear, methodical way to think and solve problems.’
Sam’s career goals reflect his academic interests. ‘I would like to be able to work in a law firm focusing on advocacy and representation,’ he says. ‘I’m more interested in dealing with people, and helping them with their personal situation, than in major commercial litigation.'
One of the things he enjoys most about studying at UC is the flexibility it offers. ’It allows me to fit so much else into life as a student! I’m a big supporter of extra-curricular education; it complements a degree so well. Getting a job in this economy is not easy, but at Canterbury we have the opportunity like no other university to be involved in so many sporting, cultural, or volunteer-based activities. Also, the staff here are great; very professional and helpful. And the students are awesome.’
Sam is actively involved in several projects outside study. He works part-time as a tutor at a local primary school, and was Treasurer of the University’s Musical Theatre Society before producing the society’s second show of 2010, The Sinnerman. ‘My job was to lead a skilful and enthusiastic team of ten young people, each responsible for individual aspects of the production. Despite a tight budget, together we created something we were very proud of. We were able to present to over a thousand university students and Christchurch residents, which was incredible.’
He is also taking the opportunity to get involved in local politics by running for election to the Riccarton Wigram Community Board, where he aims to provide a stronger connection between young people, including students, and the community. ‘Student clubs and societies, and volunteer networks are the perfect way for students to display the benefits and talent that young people can bring to a community; something that far too often gets overlooked. Likewise, I would like to see more school children getting involved in extramural learning; whether in sporting, cultural or voluntary activities, there are many ways to promote positive social behaviour from an early age.’
Having spent a year overseas, teaching at a school in Wales and travelling around Europe, Sam is pleased to have returned to Christchurch. He enthusiastically recommends university study, but says it’s important to be sure that it’s the right choice at the right time.
‘If you are unsure, take a year out first. Go and work, travel, experience things outside of your home town, or New Zealand, or even just something different from what you have done before. University is an expensive waiting room, and it’s only the best place to be if you really want to be there!’