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Student story

Allie Coyle

20 July 2023

"The stunning support provided by EDS has allowed me to continue pursuing dreams in an institution where I can achieve them…"


Bachelor of Arts in Education, Psychology, and Spanish

After an amazing exchange experience to Chile during high school, Allie discovered a desire to teach languages to children and was quick to decide on her future goals.

"This really sparked my interest in working over there teaching English in the latter part of my career and encouraged me to continue developing my love of the Spanish language," she says.

"I have always loved working with kids. I worked as an English aid at a learning centre, as a nanny and tutor, and have a certificate in teaching English as a Second Language, so having Education as a major was a no-brainer for me."

Choosing Psychology as a third major was inspired by her parents' studying here, and fitted in well with her personal and career plans.

"I love what they do and because of the things they have taught me from a young age I have been passionate about this career path for a long time. I have volunteered at IDEA services (working with people with intellectual disabilities) during the holidays, I hope one day I can work there as a registered psychologist. I think Psychology is a profession which will allow me to continue to contribute positively to my community and give back."

At UC, all of Allie's interests were realised when she enrolled in the Bachelor of Arts (BA) with a UC Undergraduate Entrance Scholarship.

"The BA degree has allowed me to explore all the areas I am passionate about in a single degree structure, which I am so grateful for. So many people think you need to pick one subject area at university, but the reality is that under many degree structures you can explore, develop, and achieve qualifications in a huge range of subject areas."

She thoroughly enjoyed her subjects and how well they worked together. Allie was later invited into the International Golden Key Honours Society for her results, which included taking part in the Golden Key Primary School Mentoring programme at Wharenui School.

"I love Psychology as the labs are amazing to learn in, there are renowned master's programmes in which you can work in clinics set up the university such as the Pukemanu-Dovedale Centre and the Rose Centre for Stroke Recovery and Research, and I took papers in a variety of strands of psychology which has allowed me to narrow down what I want to focus on.

"Education I have loved as it has really broadened my perspective on the world and how I fit in and contribute to it. It is a broad subject which encompasses the humanities as well as teaching, which is so valuable and correlates well with the Psychology side of my degree."

Allie's study was disrupted in 2015, where she was involved in an accident which left her with concussion, and issues with memory and concentration, movement and fatigue. Her symptoms made studying extremely difficult, and she initially left Uni to recover. The decision was "one of the most difficult things" she had to accept, not knowing if she would be able to continue her studies one day.

With the help of the Equity & Disability Service however, she was eventually able to return to UC with support in place.

"I would not have been able to go back to university without this service. I had the most amazing advisor (Danielle Herrick) who helped me integrate back into university life step by step. I could not be more pleased with my decision as the stunning support provided by the EDS allowed me to continue pursuing dreams I had for a long time in an institution where I can achieve them," she says.

"There are so many different ways they helped me: providing access to rooms dedicated to either having an hour's rest or to quiet study; by talking with me regularly about how I was coping with university and helping me set goals that I could achieve; by helping with arranging assignments, tests, and exams under special conditions; by effectively communicating with my doctor, OT, and family when I was impaired and struggling; by referring me to other services such as the Academic Skills Centre where I had been able to undertake services I didn't know about prior to the accident; and by making me feel supported and like I could be a part of UC again."

Allie had since become actively involved in the student community wherever she could. From taking part in a UC radio marketing campaign, to being a UC Mentor, and being a Call Representative for Student Success and Alumni teams, Allie had a lot on her plate in-between lectures.

She also took part in a number of student clubs, including the Student Volunteer Army, the Spanish Club, and UCPSYC. Allie became the UCPSYC Club President in 2016, and was "so excited for the challenge and to rise to the occasion".

"All these experiences are so memorable and enjoyable," she says. "I loved the student culture at UC, there really is a healthy balance of academic, concert, and informative events aimed at all student levels. I loved that studying at UC didn't feel like just an undergraduate degree study place, it really emphasised where you can take your degree and how you can build on it at university."

Not letting anything hold her back, Allie was quick to put her degree into action after graduating by moving to Spain and working as an English Language Assistant in a Valencian primary school for two years.

Now back in New Zealand, Allie plans to return to UC soon for postgraduate studies in Teaching, and then look onwards to a psychology qualification.

"My goal is to complete a specialised master's in Child and Family Psychology and become registered as a psychologist. I would then love to work as a psychologist in New Zealand and overseas," she says.

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