Interested in how our society – and the NZ economy – operates? How businesses and consumers interact? Or want to better understand news stories and how they affect you? You should look into studying Economics and Laws – or both!
20-year-old Nelson native Nikita Day went straight from Nayland College to the University of Canterbury. She's now studying a Bachelor of Laws and Bachelor of Commerce, with a double major in Economics and Finance. This is her story.
I chose Law and Commerce because I wanted to better understand our society operates. These courses provide different aspects of looking at people and behaviour while also learning how to assess risk. I would like to be an MP and these courses will provide me with the knowledge to be a beneficial member of government one day.
Coming from Nelson, I didn’t know many people and none who were doing the same courses as me. In my first year, though, I stayed in a hall of residence at the uni, which was a good way to meet people. It was beneficial to have a transition from leaving home and getting used to a new city that didn’t throw me in the deep end of the real world. There was always someone to approach if I was unsure of something and they were always very friendly.
There were also plenty of events held during the semesters to assist everyone in getting to know each other and wind down a bit. I liked living so close to campus, as it allowed study time to be maximised and I could get to a lecture quickly if I was running late.
I was lucky enough to receive a UC Young Enterprise Scheme (YES) scholarship to help with my studies. YES itself was awesome as it started developing my teamwork skills and relied on self-motivation, which you need at university. It was also really great to not have such a big student loan at the end of my first year, so I'd definitely recommend applying.
The best thing about my study is that there is so much support available, whether from course co-ordinators, tutors, lecturers or student advisors. The lecturers are particularly great, as they share the same passion as I do, which makes them more approachable and the course more enjoyable.
The hardest part? Fitting everything in is always a challenge. Quite often, term tests are at a similar time, or I’ll have many assignments on the go. It is quite difficult to spread my time over each assessment without compromising the amount of work for any particular assessment.
While at UC, one thing that I’ve learnt and found really important is the ability to study in a group environment and be a participating member of a group. I am still continuing to learn better time management to balance my workload with other aspects of my life. For my law degree I had to learn to type/write at speed to keep up with the lecturer. Learning how to write in shortened note form has been really useful.
You would love Law if you are interested in how the law works practically, how it is made, how laws possibly could apply to you and the rights you have. There are laws that affect me, and remedies available that I did not know about prior to starting this course.
You would enjoy Economics and Finance if you are interested in how the NZ economy works and why the reserve bank and the government make the financial decisions they do. It is also good for seeing how consumers and businesses respond to each other in a market. It teaches you how to understand economic news stories and what could possibly happen as a result.
Studying finance is also helpful if you want to know how to determine the risk or possible benefits of your investments. For finance, it is definitely beneficial to love maths.
I now tutor Pasifika students in some of the courses I took last year, and it's nice being able to pass on my knowledge to someone else. I also made sure to join the Student Volunteer Army and have done some volunteer work through them.
If you'd like to do what I'm doing, my advice is just to go for it. There is nothing you can't do if you put in the effort. These courses in particular have a great faculty that are very supportive and want their students to do well.
Images: Top - Nikita studying in the undercroft; Bottom - Volunteering at the T-Pain event with the Student Volunteer Army.
Life at University
A typical day at uni includes.... going to lectures and spending the interim time with friends, either catching up or studying. I try to stay at uni for a fair part of the day and treat it with the same commitment I would if I was working full-time, as it provides for a solid study schedule all semester.
In five years I... would really like to be studying post graduate economics over in North America.
The weirdest thing that's happened to me so far on the course was... one of my economics lectures spent half a lecture dressed in a Santa suit.
For more info on studying Economics and Law at University of Canterbury, click here.