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Student story

Jade Bennett

20 July 2023

"I loved learning about how the universe works..."


(Ngāti Raukawa)

Bachelor of Science in Astronomy

With a goal to have a career in something stimulating, Jade intended on studying a subject with a much bigger scope than usual. Astronomy and the study of the universe was the perfect choice.

"I grew up loving science fiction. I loved the themes of the unknown, the diversity and technology. Through this passion I became fascinated by the universe and how much we don"t understand. I decided I wanted to study it and learn as much as I can.

"I looked at all the universities in New Zealand and UC turned out to be the only university where you can major in Astronomy, which was handy for me because it's in my hometown. I also knew some people who had studied Physics here and they seemed happy with it."

Jade since loved studying at UC as well.

"I enjoy learning, that feeling you get when you've been working on something for a while and it's really confusing but then you finally get it and it feels really self-validating. I loved learning about how the universe works – from the structure of the universe down to sub atomic particles, recognizing the patterns and learning all the different theories for why these things are the way they are.

"In my first year we took a day trip to the Mt John Observatory at Lake Tekapo. It was really fun and a good way to get to know the people in your class. It was interesting looking at the different equipment for the telescopes and learning about a place that you could be working at if you did post-grad Astronomy. PhysSoc now arranges weekend trips instead which have been successful."

Clubs like PhySoc were one of Jade's favourite aspects of UC.

"I liked learning of everyone"s different perspectives and listening to them talk about their passions. I was on the exec of UC FemSoc (Feminist Society) which had only just started the previous year. I wished it started sooner because I couldn't imagine campus life without it. We had regular meetings and guest speakers, a quarterly publication, and we held a South Island conference with a diverse panel of speakers.

"I also went to some events held by the Science Fiction and Fantasy Club like movie screenings and quies, and astronomy nights and movie screenings with the Physics and Astronomy Society."

Outside of study, Jade kept an active lifestyle by taking on roller derby.

"It has become a huge part of my life. It is super fun, very challenging, and full of great people. I'm also learning how to skateboard for fun, and for down time I like watching sci-fi and reading books."

As such, Jade encourages those considering studying Science subjects to give it a go if it follows your passions.

"Science degrees are hard work but can be very rewarding. Even if you think you aren't smart enough, you can do it if you put the work in."

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