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Student story

Sophie Riddick

20 July 2023

"I have truly loved the sense of family that has developed so quickly within Arcady Hall..."


Studying towards a Bachelor of Science in Biochemistry, with minors in Psychology and Sport Science


You’ve got such a unique combination of subjects in your Science degree – what was your motivation behind choosing them?

I have known since I was young that I wanted to contribute to the court of law, I was just confused on how. For a while I was told I would make a great lawyer because I love to argue why I was right. However, I soon realised for myself that I loved figuring out the why and the how.

One day I was in America for BMX Worlds and rather than going to sleep, I was up watching a crime show. I was so intrigued and felt like I was working with the detectives to figure out who was at fault for a car crash, which lit a spark in my mind. Over time, this passion developed.

So what kind of criminology career are you aiming for?

I want to do forensic science as a postgraduate and hopefully either do forensic science as a career, or go into the police force and eventually become a detective. Maybe even later in life do a postgraduate in teaching and become a high school teacher in either biology or chemistry.

I love the idea that after finishing my degree there are many options I can take in case I change my mind on what I want to do with my life.

And how are you enjoying your studies so far?

One thing I have noticed and enjoyed about being at university is being treated your age.  University is such a mature step up from school in the sense that you are now treated your age and you are instantly hit with the sensation of feeling like you belong and no one’s judging you. The way they speak to you is more realistic to how students might speak on a day-to-day basis, which is refreshing and makes students want to go to lectures.

What made you choose to study at UC, coming down from Taranaki?

One of my big reasons to go to UC was due to the facilities that were available to students on campus. I find UC to be a place where you can go onto campus and spend your whole day there without needing to leave.

Is that also why you chose to live in a hall on campus?

I chose to live in a hall of residence because I wanted to build new friendships and gain more mates to help get through university. I came to Christchurch not knowing many people here, so I felt the halls were going to be my best bet on building true connections with people.

How did it feel moving away from home for the first time?

I really struggled moving away from home because I am not only the first out of my siblings to move out, but also out of all my cousins as well, so I had no one with prior knowledge to help guide me through this experience. For a while I had the feeling of being trapped down here because I couldn’t just drive home quickly, and it became very overwhelming.

Having a core group of friends does help calm this, especially when they also can’t go home very easily. It is nice to be reminded that most of the first-year students will have this feeling and you aren’t the only one. I think as well having friendly staff helps to calm you because rather than having one mum, you have like six caring and kind mums who are here for you.

Why did Arcady Hall appeal to you most?

I loved the 'home away from home' feeling. I originally was not going to look at Arcady, but I last minute decided to go have a look and it’s a decision I do not regret making.

I was fortunate to be shown around by the Operations Manager who made me feel at home and put my mum at ease. From the perspective of a parent, it can be daunting sending your young adults off especially when they might be very far away from home, but Arcady shows true care for those they are accepting into the hall, which definitely helped to make my parents feel more secure that their daughter would be well looked after.

What do you suggest other students do to help choose their ideal hall?

My advice would be to make the effort to come and have a tour of the halls. It helps you to get a feeling of the hall because each hall has its own vibe.

Unlike other universities in New Zealand, there is no one hall that everyone wants to be in, it completely depends on who you are as a person and what you value with your education and what type of person you are.

What is your favourite thing about Arcady?

I have truly loved the sense of family that has developed so quickly within Arcady Hall. Everyone has found their people and those who share similar interests with themselves, and even still we come together as a whole and have fun. Very quickly my floor and our building all became good mates, which has brought me a sense of belonging.

From the O Week events that the UCSA put on, to karaoke night at Arcady, I have been very privileged to have a core group of mates that I have made memories with already which has helped me to settle into this new chapter of my life. Even when expanding my experiences to those from other halls, everyone is feeling the same at their halls which is thrilling to hear.


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