3rd-year student, Bachelor of Laws and Bachelor of Arts in Conflict Resolution
She believes in the importance of human rights, says Aleka Timog who is currently completing a Bachelor of Laws and a Bachelor of Arts in Conflict Resolution.
“I think living in a first world country, we’re so privileged yet so blind to how many rights we actually possess. We, here in New Zealand, are fortunate to possess many rights, including the right to good healthcare, the right to use our voice, the right to stand up for those who are oppressed… Yet we take these things for granted.
“I believe studying law and conflict resolution will lead me to a pathway of helping those who are voiceless and who don’t have access to justice. There’s already so much hatred and so many wars around the world, and I wanted to avoid any more conflict between individuals. I believe both degrees highly complement each other regarding access to justice and a peaceful resolution.”
Expecting to complete her studies in early 2023, Aleka already has a good idea how she sees her future.
“I plan to either work for the United Nations and work in a third world country after my degree, or become a barrister or solicitor in New Zealand. In the future, I plan to also start my own law firm along with my best friend who also studies law.”
The right choice
Aleka says she chose to transfer to AUT in her second year because she was attracted by the welcoming study environment, interactive classes and dedicated academic staff.
“What I liked about AUT was that it uses a modern approach towards teaching. I absolutely love its unique way of incorporating theoretical and practical methods of teaching; giving you an insight into what your future career will be like. After I transferred to AUT from another university, I felt anxious about making new friends and adapting to AUT’s modern approach. However, by volunteering for AUTSA, the AUT students’ association, and joining clubs like OUT@AUT, I immediately felt AUT’s warm, welcoming spirit.”
She wouldn’t hesitate to recommend the law and conflict resolution degrees.
“I’d definitely recommend these programmes to students who are passionate about human rights and interested in the law. They provide insights into how important the law is and how important peacekeeping and peace resolution are. I’d also recommend these programmes if you’re particularly passionate about justice and doing your part to achieve justice, especially for people who are less privileged.
“I’ve enjoyed the range of courses both my degrees offer. Law, for example, covers contract, criminal and torts law, as well as gender and the law. That can really be an eye-opener as to the social injustices happening in society. By contrast, studying conflict resolution has given me insights as to how organisations like the United Nations can resolve conflict, and how we can restore and achieve peace now and in the future. Being taught by Associate Professor Jane Verbitsky and Dr Cassandra Mudgway, my two favourite lecturers thus far, has been particularly inspiring.”
Advice for other students
It’s completely okay if you don’t know yet what you want to do after university, Aleka advises other students.
“It can be pretty daunting when you start to ask questions like: What will happen when I finish my degree? Will I get a job? Will I start to be a proper ‘adult’ after my degree? Was my degree worth it? I honestly think a part of me is still trying to find that set of ‘passion’ when it comes to my degree. I felt reassured when I listened to a panel of female lawyers in my Gender and the Law course, and learned that they had also been unsure what they wanted after university. That made me feel secure and heard.”
Her other piece of advice simple: really live the university experience.
“The university experience is the best kind of experience. You’ll make new friends, including people who don’t even take the same degree as you. You’ll laugh or possibly cry with your friends at 2am about how you’ll finish your assignment. You’ll experience the triumph of finally getting an A after all your hard work or relating to your professor’s experience. And finally, you’ll feel like you belong to the university.
“I want students to feel that they’re in a safe and welcoming place at AUT, and whatever stress or worry they’re experiencing, I hope they know that many students are on the same page as them and that their feelings are valid.”