The reality behind UoA’s shiny reputation and its students, according to Craccum readers
We gotta give it to UoA’s PR and Marketing team for demonstrating excellent work ethic. Every year without fail, they bust their asses delivering truckloads of glossy prospective student booklets to the career offices of high schools; making sure to highlight the Uni’s abundance of QS Global rankings, and slapping the words of “New Zealand’s world-ranked university” in big bold letters wherever space permits.
Sure, the Uni’s team of girlboss PR and Marketing specialists work hard. But in our opinion, Craccum works harder. As a new cohort of bright-eyed and bushy-tailed first years make their way through the campus, they’re not worrying about how many top rated researchers UoA has held captive. They’re wondering about the uni culture and what the students are like. And to answer those very questions, we asked our readers for their opinions on the most common stereotypes of UoA students.
“UoA Students Are Antisocial”
Despite the significant funding the uni pours into organising those “look at all these happy students laughing together in groups” stock photos for its advertising, you don’t have to look very far to see threads of complains about how allegedly “antisocial” students are on the UoA Meaningful Confessions page and Reddit. But what does the student body actually think?
General Consensus: Yeah… this stereotype is kinda true LOL.
Most of the responses we received seemed to agree with this stereotype. The top comment from readers seemed to be that UoA students tend to stick to their existing friendship circles.
One student found that after they transferred from Otago, they noticed that UoA students were much more clique-y as “they’d come knowing people from high school and were comfortable in their friendship groups already, making it harder for anyone new to make friends.”
Similarly, another student said that the prevalence of high school cliques meant that “people don’t feel like they need to make new friends.”
Some readers agreed that students tend to be reserved, but the supposed “antisocial” stereotype wasn’t a unique feature of UoA students and instead just a result of the pandemic’s consequences.
“After Covid, all students are less social than they used to be,” observed one reader.
Others felt that because UoA is a commuter university with several campuses spread across Auckland, its scattered physical make-up doesn’t lend well to creating feelings of community. Especially as students’ commute times tend to vary greatly, one student said that it made it harder to “organise casual hang-outs.”
However, students also felt that the “anti-social” nature of students only held true in the contexts of lectures and tutorials, but in clubs, there were plenty of social peers.
The Main Takeaway: As the uni is composed predominantly of commuters who come from all areas of Auckland, UoA definitely lacks the feel of a “student village”, which you might find in a place like Otago Uni. But hey, we’d compromise on “student culture” any day if it means we’re not breathas with kitchen scissor-snipped mullets and Scrumpys taped permanently to our hands.
Our take is that at UoA, if you want to make friends, it’s definitely possible—you’ve just got to make the first move and put in effort. Like other readers have said, your chances at success are probably higher at club events than during a lecture, where students are usually busy banging away at their keyboards, or just not present at all. And don’t be afraid to break out of those damn high school circles! We promise that there are tons of interesting people who reside out of your school zone.
“UoA Students Have a Superiority Complex”
If you ask us, this stereotype definitely originated from AUT. What did our readers have to say?
General Consensus: Sort of true, but especially true for Law and Business students.
Those that agreed with the stereotype said that they have personally encountered many “dicks” and “assholes,” many noting that superiority complexes were concentrated in the Law and Business faculties.
“Maybe if they are slightly younger, that out of high school vibe is a bit intense,” commented another reader.
We also received the response that “a lot of central Aucklanders attend UoA, and their privilege shows.”
However, some students argued that the stereotype seemed false from their experiences, or that UoA students weren’t snobbier than any other uni students.
The Main Takeaway: Evidently, most students have their egos in check and some healthy level of self-awareness. And unsurprisingly, Law and Business students are cunts.
“UoA Students Are Competitive”
As impressive as the Uni’s marketers are at shoving its rankings down everyone’s throats, this has helped contribute to the stereotype that students, particularly amongst certain faculties, are overly-competitive. What did Craccum readers think?
General Consensus: This one’s a mixed bag, it depends largely on the degree.
The responses we received can be divided into two teams: the defenders and sceptics.
On the defence, students passionately cry: “yes, have you met a first year law student?”
Some even argue that the entire system at UoA is rotten and designed to make us “compete against each other, instead of cooperating.”
The sceptics said that only some degrees have competitive students, but many don’t. Among the sceptical came sharp jabs, targeting specifically Engineering, Biomed, and Medicine students as guilty of this stereotype.
The Main Takeaway: We’re inclined to agree with a comment we received that said “it’s more likely that students are quietly competitive. Outwardly, people are friendly.”
For the most part, UoA students are chill, with the few exceptions of students from certain degrees, graciously pointed out by our readers. Maybe the Uni does to a certain degree appeal to students who are naturally competitive, but a lot of the “competitiveness” stereotype is likely caused by the GPA requirements and cut-offs in place for specific courses. When you’re in these degrees that only allow a certain number of people to progress onto the next stage, you can’t really blame students for feeling, or acting like uni is all about the survival of the “fittest.”
However, it’s also important to remember that we, as individuals, make up the student body and student culture! Don’t be that dick that refuses to cough up their lecture notes when your mate was away sick. Let other students have the opportunity to voice their opinion in tutorial discussions. Don’t hog the lab equipment. You can still achieve your goals, without needing resorting to scheming up toxic ways to disadvantage other students.