James Skilton

'It is great knowing that friends and support are really close when you might need it...'

  • James Skilton

Studying towards a Bachelor of Arts in Psychology with a minor in Political Science and International Relations


What was your study inspiration?

Seeing others go through rough times in their lives and experiencing it myself has motivated me into this degree field, along with a keen interest in how we can make things better as a country around mental health. This is something that I would love to pursue through this degree.

What’s it like studying towards such a rewarding degree?

It is just so fascinating and enlightening to study how our brains work, why things happen the way they do in our minds, and the neuroscience behind that. I am looking forward to studying it at a higher level in more detail. The experiments are also very enjoyable to participate in.

As someone from Auckland, what was it about UC that brought you here?

It was the most attractive option due to its excellent pastoral support and highly respected staff and graduates who have done great things. It is also because I love Christchurch and have always wanted to live here.

I love the atmosphere here and the feeling that people really do care about how you are doing. It is easy to go places and there are so many facilities that make life easy, like the Health Centre and the RecCentre.

And how have you found staying in University Hall for your first year?

This environment is a great start to university life, providing support and social events while also being a homely, stable place to live. I have already made many friends here and feel part of a unique community, which I think is so important, especially coming from another place to a new city.

It has been challenging moving to a completely new place, new community, and not knowing anyone. Making friends doesn’t happen overnight, but it makes the halls all worth it when you make good ones who will carry you though for a long time. 

What would you recommend to help people settle in at the halls?

Get involved. It really does help to alleviate homesickness and loneliness that you may be feeling at first. Form a study group, join a club that interests you, and really put yourself out there. It is great having events where you get to break the ice with people you may not know well.

Have a healthy balance of study and social time, and take advantage of the support of the RA`s and the whole University. The RA`s have been especially supportive and helpful with the issues that someone might have, and that has made a big difference. It is great knowing that friends and support are really close when you might need it.

What kind of clubs and events have you been a part of so far?

I am a member of numerous clubs like UC Pols, the Student Volunteer Army, the Cider Society, and Lads without Labels, and I am also a Class Rep for my Media Studies course. 

Lectures and tutorials are very important, and for Psychology it is also beneficial to get into certain programmes and clubs such as mentoring to get experience if you wanted to take it further, as well as of course the internship opportunities that are invaluable.

Do you have any plans for what you’re hoping to accomplish at UC with your studies?

I have always been interested in helping people and making a positive impact, so I am planning to do a Postgraduate Diploma in Clinical Psychology with the intention of becoming a clinical psychologist, and then at some point take that further and maybe do something like working with politicians and the government on issues around mental health.

Tessa Kirby

Tessa Kirby

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

Briar Mulholland

Briar Mulholland

'UC is always pushing to be innovative and that is cool to be a part of...'