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Student story

Maia Nicholls

20 July 2023

"Everyone knows everyone, and we’re all looking out for each other..."


Studying towards a Bachelor of Arts in Cultural Studies with a minor in Psychology

What brought you to UC?

I chose to study at Canterbury because it is close to home, but also because of the amazing social life it has to offer. Canterbury has one of the biggest clubs scenes in New Zealand, and this means there are always events on and fun things to go to. On top of this, Christchurch is known as “The Garden City”, and the trees and nature on and around campus is stunning.

What made you decide on staying in a hall of residence?

The halls are not only a great way to socialise and make friends when attending uni, but also offer support and guidance which is particularly important for first year students. It is a great way to ease into living independently, and is a supportive and encouraging learning environment.

Why Kirkwood Avenue Hall?

Kirkwood is unique in that it is much smaller than all the other halls, and for this reason it is like one big family – everyone knows everyone, and we’re all looking out for each other. As well as this, Kirkwood also has a large number of weekly events on, which make the experience all the more fun.

The staff are all extremely lovely, it’s a wonderful place to live!

Were there any challenges to hall life at first?

I think the biggest challenge for me has been self-management that comes from independent living. This has been a learning experience, as I have had to work out a balance between my social life and study so that I didn’t get behind in work or miss out on events.

Is there anything you recommend that might make that transition easier for other students?

Don’t be afraid of socialising – make sure you get out of your room and interact with others as much as possible, and attend any hall-organised activities. Everyone is in the same boat, and nerves are normal to begin with – but the sooner you make friends the easier it will be. Try to create some sort of routine for yourself around studying and socialising as this will help you adjust to the new situation you’re in.

Get outside your comfort zone and try new things!

Did this idea also inspire your study choices?

I have chosen to keep my degree broad as there are so many amazing courses on offer – this way I can see what interests me most and see where it leads me! University doesn’t just have to be about getting a good job – the social awareness it provides is just as important.

How is UC helping you find your passions?

Canterbury has an awesome, friendly atmosphere and so many resources available to students to support them in their studies. Lecturers are kind and want to see their students succeed, and along with tutors, do all they can to ensure this.

I really enjoy the way the BA asks students to question the world around them, think beyond that which is taken for granted, and use this knowledge to find ways to improve, think about, and discuss society on all levels. The discussions had within a BA course are interesting and insightful, and make learning fun!

Any advice on how to build up that kind of skillset?

Make sure you are prepared for all the readings you’ll have to do – there’s a lot of them and it pays to stay on top of them!

As a BA revolves around words, language, and writing, it is important you develop these skills and are competent at them. I highly recommend utilising the Academic Skills Centre courses for this – they’re free and so worth it.

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