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Student story

Tessa Kirby

20 July 2023

"Hall life definitely gives you the best first year experience..."


Studying towards a Bachelor of Laws and a Bachelor of Science in Psychology

Set on the idea of going into a new city for university, Tessa decided to travel up from Invercargill for her double-degree studies at UC.

"Being from a small city I wanted to move somewhere bigger. Canterbury not only has a beautiful campus, but the city itself has so much to offer and explore," she says. "The University is slightly smaller than the likes of Dunedin and Auckland and this was appealing to me as I did not want to get lost in the crowd."

She enrolled at UC with an Invercargill Licensing Trust Scholarship to help support her studies. Tessa also wanted some extra support to settle into UC for her first year, and so decided on living at University Hall accommodation near campus.

"I didn’t want to be completely chucked into the deep end with flatting, so it was a great transition as we still had our meals catered for us and it was a more subtle gaining of independence. It was also a great way to meet all sorts of people from a variety of backgrounds."

By far her favourite part of being at Uni Hall was the community there, which made her first year at UC even better.

"Definitely I enjoyed making friends, everywhere you go you meet new people that you have things in common with and you are literally developing friendships and making friends right up to the end of the year."

As a fan of volleyball playing competitively for UC, Tessa has also been enjoying the Interhall Sports Competitions, and other events on offer at Uni Hall.

"There are a lot of super fun activities that help you become closer with other residents, also they involve food and some friendly competition!"

From her experience, Tessa encourages other new students, especially those from out of town, to consider staying at a hall of residence for their first year at university.

"I could not recommend living in a hall of residence enough," she says. "It can be scary at first but it’s so worth it to put yourself out there and met new people who will become friends for life.

"Don’t forget to ask people for help, the transition is not easy for everyone and you realise how much support you have around you. Hall life definitely gives you the best first year experience and start to university life possible!"

Tessa decided on studying a double degree in Law and Psychology, which made staying in a hall for the extra support well worth it.

Describing herself as "very vocal and argumentative" during high school, going into Law studies seemed the perfect fit with her passion for helping people. Psychology gives her an added background in analysing people and motives as a complement to Law.

"I always enjoyed researching reasoning, and I love arguing and having to think analytically," she says. "I enjoy the fact that there are often many different solutions and answers to the problems we work on, it helps me see a variety of perspectives which I can then reflect in future challenges.

"It’s hard work but it’s so interesting, rewarding, and definitely worth it."

Tessa’s ambition is to use her two degrees together in a career as a lawyer, and make the most of her combined skillset.

"My career goals are to work in family law, more specifically adoption, custody, and divorce. I believe it is emotional but can be very rewarding, especially since I enjoy working with people."

She looks forward to the rest of her journey at UC, and seeing what other opportunities come her way.

"The lecturers and tutors are so friendly and helpful, and there are so many opportunities to get involved in leadership, clubs, events, and more! I also love road trips and camping trips with my friends, especially during summer!"

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