'Being in a hall gives you a chance to put yourself out there...'
Studying towards a Bachelor of Speech and Language Pathology with Honours
‘My degree has pushed me to think about things I would never have thought about otherwise,’ Grace says about studying Speech and Language Pathology.
‘Speech is something that the majority of us take for granted, and I am very passionate about public speaking. I found my voice a long time ago through competitions, programmes, and my experiences, and so I thought why not help other people find their own voice.’
Her motivation is to work with children who have communication difficulties, through schools or her own speech-language clinic.
‘I want the opportunity to influence a child’s life in a positive way and enable them to live life to the fullest. It is challenging yet so rewarding, and I’ve learnt so much in such a short amount of time,’ she says.
Originally from Nelson and having gone to high school in Australia, Grace decided to move back to New Zealand for her university studies.
‘I had heard of the great speech and language facilities here. There is a clinic with real people and real cases that in the future I will get the chance to work with.
‘Upon attending the Open Day I pictured myself studying here, it just felt right.’
She chose to live at Kirkwood Avenue Hall for her first year for a head start into life on campus.
‘It seemed like a no-brainer to me, I was coming to Christchurch not knowing anyone and I figured that this would be the best way to make friends and immerse myself in the university lifestyle,’ she says.
‘Kirkwood appealed most because of how welcoming it was; the bright sunny areas and spacious common room made it feel like home. I couldn’t wait to learn how to cook the hard way and hopefully gain independence and skills I can take anywhere.’
By the end of her first year at Kirkwood, Grace says that her highlight ‘would have to be the whole experience’ of living in a hall.
‘I have made so many friends and been able to be my true self with no fear of judgement.
‘The hall is so tight-knit, you can walk into the kitchen and anyone will chat to you. We’ve done some awesome activities and the staff have made sure we are always supported.
‘Plus the weekly tutorials have enabled students to knuckle down and prove to not only themselves but others they are capable of succeeding.’
As such, she definitely recommends staying in a hall of residence for the first year of uni.
‘Definitely go ahead with it! I rocked up terrified, but stood in the kitchen and bonded with my now best friend over baking paper. You never know who you’re going to meet and being in a hall gives you a chance to put yourself out there.’
That kind of atmosphere she says is also reflected in the general campus too.
‘The clubs make it extremely inviting and have enabled me to make the most of my first year. The range of support networks and staff willing to help at Canterbury is fantastic. No matter what’s going on, you can be sure someone is there to help.’
Already Grace was able to go on a volunteer experience overseas in Nepal during a mid-semester break.
‘I spent the first week helping build a classroom for a school after it was severely damaged by the 2015 earthquake. The second week was spent hiking the Himalayas where I was forced to push myself to limits I didn’t even know existed.’
Grace looks forward to more adventures in her degree in the coming years. She advises others to keep focused on their goals and to enjoy the challenge.
‘Be prepared for one heck of a ride. The area of Speech and Language Pathology is an intense yet extremely rewarding course. Looking back now, I got very caught up in the moment when in reality I needed to take a step back and remember why I wanted to study.
‘Never be afraid to ask for help from your lecturers, and if you can, try make lots of friends as it will make the whole journey so much better.’