In the first article of this series, Brian Gu interviews a Communications student about his experience at UOA
What are you studying this year?
I’m doing a Bachelor of Arts, specializing in communications.
And what courses are you taking for that?
I’ve taken comms100 and comms104, scigen101, English, drama and my gen-eds which are dance and theology.
What led you to picking communications?
I think this degree is most aligned with my future aspirations of being an announcer/MC/host, so I thought it would be the most helpful [degree] to me. Also, I thought it would be exciting and engaging because it’s a degree relevant to the current world, with today’s media progression and the development of technology; how the world stays connected is such an integral part of society.
Are there any courses that you’ve really enjoyed?
I quite enjoying the advertising paper I’m doing now as a required component of my communications degree. I think it’s fascinating to look at the history and development [of advertising], its applications in today’s society, and how it has become such a ubiquitous part of everyday life.
You said you have two communications papers this year?
The other was the introduction to the pathway I did last semester, which covered the integral components of communications; we had topics such as social media and the history of television.
And what about your gen-eds this year? How have they aligned with your interests?
I’m taking dance and theology. With dance, I’ve just always liked stage production and performing arts, and I’ve found it to be a great way of reliving that passion of mine. For theology, we’ve been looking at the bible within popular culture, and how its characters are depicted in modern media.
Would you encourage people to take gen-eds far from their courses/pathways (like you have)?
I think that people should stay open to everything. Taking a gen-ed quite far from your course is quite refreshing; it lets you have a change of pace and scenery, and even if it’s not something that you envision linking back to your pathway, it exposes you to a potential field of interest. Or at the end of the day, you might even just find it fun.
I know you’re up in O’Rorke, so I want to ask you how living in halls has been?
Staying in halls, you build a sense of belongingness and community. Everyone’s a freshman, and it can be quite overwhelming moving to university for the first time, especially with a lot of these people coming from different parts of New Zealand. O’Rorke hall has great facilities and a lovely atmosphere; it’s a great place to ease yourself into uni culture and to call home. There are common rooms where people come to escape being holed up in their rooms, and there is a catered dining hall where everyone goes down to have meals together. I’ve met some really cool people in my time here, and I feel it has really helped me develop and mature.
And now that you’re in O’Rorke hall, would you have imagined yourself living at home this year?
Quite possibly; it’s hard to imagine now that you mention it. I would say that living in halls has taught me some valuable lessons, provided me experience in interaction, and also just rewarded me this amazing lifestyle. So with the knowledge that I have now, I would say that I definitely prefer living in halls.
Have you found any interesting clubs or hobbies around uni?
I’ve actually signed up to K-pop club, anime club, league of legends club. I think it’s really cool to find people with similar interests to you, and a really important part of uni for me has been interacting with new people and finding myself belonging to multiple communities. Clubs are also great way of exploring different aspects of yourself; what excites you, what grows your interests and what you consider becoming your passions.
How has meeting new people in uni been different to high school?
From high school, the number of your friends may not necessarily increase, but definitely what I find is an increase in is the number of circles and groups that you find yourself a part of. I’ve got friends from halls, my degree, clubs, high school, and of course there are the randos you bump into! So uni is great in training you to interact with multiple circles.
So after your first year, what do you miss about high school?
I guess something from uni I expected that was shattered for me quite quickly was the opportunity of meeting new people in lectures. I thought ‘if there are hundreds of people in a lecture, then surely that means you get to know hundreds of people’. But the reality is that nobody speaks during lectures, and a lot of the time the most interaction you’ll have with the person sitting next to you is them moving their bag away, or awkwardly trying to get past you.
How has your view of university changed from high school to now?
During high school, my expectation of university was still quite naive and innocent; that it was some sort of utopia with limitless possibility and opportunity. After my experiences this year my views have changed, but for the better. I’m now grounded, surer and more knowledgeable of myself, and ultimately I’ve become a better version of myself who remains excited for the future!