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Student story

Sophie Madsen

20 July 2023

"Being a student here is so much more than just studying to get a degree..."


Bachelor of Science in Biochemistry and Chemistry

Studying towards a Postgraduate Certificate in Counselling Studies

You’re passionate about leadership. Where did it all start?

I was in the Emerging Leaders programme in my first year, which was absolutely amazing. It was great for meeting heaps of people. Now I’m on the exec. I’ve helped run a big volunteer project at Willowbank and organised other volunteer projects too, from tutoring to husky walking. It’s really cool being able to integrate new students into uni and find fun things for them to do.

And you were on the Student Volunteer Army exec too?

Yes. Being on the exec of a student club is an amazing opportunity. You have the chance to push yourself and learn more about who you are and what you can do. Execs aren't just for people who were leaders at high school. There are clubs for all sorts of interests, and positions suited to all sorts of people. It is definitely, definitely worth it!

Any other leadership highlights for you?

Through my role with SVA I got nominated to go to the Aspiring Leaders Forum in Wellington. We had social events and heard talks from inspiring New Zealand leaders. It sounds cliché but it honestly was life changing. I came back with a much wider perspective on life and it gave me a real sense of purpose.

Tell us about that purpose!

I’ve discovered that I’m really passionate about the youth of New Zealand. I want to use my life to help young people find their path. For the past two years I’ve been a youth leader, and this year I’m a 24-7 youth worker in a high school too. I really enjoy helping them on their journey.

Favourite thing about the UC experience?

My absolute favourite thing is meeting awesome new people. There’s a great bu on campus as students are going from place to place. There are always heaps of smiling faces. The campus has a warm and welcoming atmosphere, and it’s set up perfectly for students.

Would you recommend UC to others?

Definitely. Being a student here is so much more than just studying to get a degree. It's about discovering who you are as a person and building a life you enjoy. UC definitely provides the space to do that!

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