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Emily Duff

20 July 2023

I came to UC Careers to find a bit of direction. What I received was so much more.


Bachelor of Arts in Māori and Indigenous Studies (2021)

Kia ora Emily! Tell us a little bit about yourself

Kia ora! My name is Emily Duff, and I am the first in my whānau to attend university. I have recently completed my Bachelor's Degree in Māori and Indigenous Studies & Sociology. My degree has been incredibly rewarding, with Māori and indigenous studies allowing me to immerse myself in te ao Māori and learn about whānau realities in Aotearoa. Sociology has allowed me to investigate our broader social worlds and often how te ao Māori fits into, and can improve these worlds. I found that majoring in both subjects has allowed me to use both Māori and sociological perspectives in all areas of my life and work. In terms of my next move, I plan to enter a role that sees me assisting individuals and whānau to improve the quality of their lives, and achieve goals within the social sector, hopefully within kaupapa Māori organisations. My major passions include learning, my friends and whānau, and social justice.

What sort of help were you after? 

I heard about UC Careers from UC Māori. I came to UC Careers with the intention of finding a bit of direction and to narrow down my options for employment. What I received was so much more. Nell was Fantastic. I had some assumptions about what UC Careers do, and I was expecting to receive some basic help with my CV and interviewing skills, but what I found was a thorough and holistic service which left me feeling exponentially better about my being ready to work, and also about some insecurities that were holding me back from realising the full extent of what my future holds. I found that no query was too small, and no issue was too big to navigate with Nell.

That's great! Any favourite bit of advice? 

Leaving university can be incredibly daunting, it can feel scary, and at the end of my study, I began to doubt myself and my abilities due to the new lack of structure in my life, with no clear path for the future. The most helpful piece of advice I received during my sessions with Nell was that nearly everyone else who has studied has been in my position and felt what I was feeling. For me this helped in understanding that nearly all students have these difficult feelings, and it signifies that a big, exciting life change is occurring, rather than something negative or scary. This has propelled me to apply for the roles I previously would not have had the confidence to.

What were some challenges you faced working towards your career goals while studying?

As a student who is first in whānau to attend university, I found the thought of making career goals incredibly difficult as I was not sure what to expect in the professional workforce. My whānau is usually my first port of call for advice, and seeing as I’m first in whānau to attend university and enter this kind of work, I could not just go home and ask my parents about it like I would anything else. When you don’t have a personal connection to these workforces, the work they do can seem out of reach, and intimidating.

How have you learned to overcome some of these challenges? 

After speaking to Nell, I realised the fears I had about entering skilled work were ultimately unfounded fears, and they said more about my mindset rather than reality. By walking me through what to expect when I enter the workforce, and reaffirming my belief in my own knowledge and capabilities, I was able to conquer these fears, and even open up to my whānau about some of the difficult things I was feeling.

Amazing. What keeps you driven towards your goals? 

My whānau and their undying pride in me keeps me going, as well as my burning passion for social justice and improving the lives of others.

Any advice for others working towards their career goals at uni? 

See the UC Careers team. Not only will they assist you in becoming career-ready, but they will also settle your fears about transitioning from a student to a working professional with their broad knowledge, empathy, and understanding. UC Careers has highly skilled workers, with excellent cultural awareness and inclusivity. As a young Māori woman, I felt incredibly well taken care of by Nell who incorporated my culture into all of our sessions, using her knowledge of matauranga Māori to communicate ideas and advice, and relate to my needs better.

Kia ora, thanks for sharing Emily! 

UC Careers

Te Rōpū Rapuara

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