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Student story

Olivia Shimasaki

20 July 2023

"I enjoy being able to learn about and question the world that we live in..."


Bachelor of Arts in Anthropology and Human Services

Bachelor of Arts with Honours in Human Services

Inspired by the idea of a career helping people, Olivia discovered her ideal study of the humanities through UC's variety of subjects and courses.

"University life has helped me to find an area which I am passionate about, which has made study enjoyable. I enjoy being able to learn about other people and question the world that we live in," she says.

Olivia has a strong belief in studying her passions to get more learning and value out of study, and found that her two major subjects complemented each other well examining societies and cultures.

"Anthropology and Human Services are subject areas which do not take things for granted - they make you question how you view the world, and made me realise that the “otherness” which is placed upon those who are different to yourself can also be placed on you by them.

"The subject areas which I have chosen are engaging, provide a variety of focus areas from policy, environment, and food, to ritual. I am passionate about these areas because they are important for cultural awareness and competency, as well as self-awareness. These subjects are very rewarding, they allowed me to explore myself and my heritage, and how they fit into the big scheme of things."

In her second year of undergrad, Olivia had the opportunity to take on an internship course with the Southern Regional Health School, a school for primary and high school students needing extra support with health conditions.

"The experience was amazing because I liaised with an organisation, worked alongside another student, and helped to find an outcome for an issue which the organisation faced," she says. "This experience developed a range of transferable skills and gave me practical work experience which is particularly useful in my field."

Olivia has earned an Arts Scholars Scholarship for her grades, and a College of Arts Pacific Scholar Honours Scholarship towards her Honours study in Human Services. Olivia is particularly interested in researching social groupings in larger communities, and how they define and maintain their identity and values.

She recently was awarded with a Freemasons Postgraduate Scholarship recognising her community contributions and leadership potential in her studies.

"My career goal is to become a full-time employee for a human-rights-based organisation. From here I would work hard to pursue higher status within the work environment, with hopes that one day I could attain a manager's or CEO position."

She attributes a lot of her success towards UC's support Services, including the  Academic Skills Centre which helped to improve her grades, and the  Pacific Development Team.

"I have a great support network from the Pasifika group on campus who have enabled me to meet new people, and help other students through the mentoring and tutoring services which they offer. I also enjoy the variety of seminars which are open for students to attend," she says.

During her first year, Olivia also made extensive use of Disability Resources due to a number of surgeries throughout the year that sometimes interrupted study.

"They were helpful in providing support, liaising with lecturers, and making sure I had notes from class which I may have otherwise missed," she says.

As such, Olivia has learned to prioritise herself to see the value of all her experiences at UC, and highly encourages other students to do the same.

"I have found that the key to university is balance. I learned it is always important to make time for yourself, your family, friends, and hobbies," she says.

"Enjoy your time at university, it goes faster than you think, and don't be afraid to get out of your comfort zone - that is when I had the most memorable times here."

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