Ameto Junior (AJ) Aukusitino Lauofo

Ameto Junior (AJ) Aukusitino Lauofo

2nd-year student, Bachelor of Arts in Criminology and Criminal Justice

For Ameto Junior (AJ) Aukusitino Lauofo, participating in the UniPrep programme was the first step on his AUT journey and he is now enjoying studying a Bachelor of Arts in Criminology and Criminal Justice.

“UniPrep is a summer programme for new students who want to gain a head start on academic writing and referencing. It was different from similar programmes in that it included numerous fun activities throughout the week. Before I joined UniPrep, I was unsure about which university I wanted to attend, but the longer the programme went on, the clearer it became that AUT would be my home for the next few years. AUT’s overall vibe is something I don't see in other universities, and I appreciate that AUT provides student services for every type of help, from financial support to mental support.”

Encouraged by both of his parents to take on university study, AJ says his mother was one of the primary reasons he decided to study a Bachelor of Arts in Criminology and Criminal Justice.

“Mum aspired to be a police officer before she had me and my siblings, and I wanted to repay her by living the life she once desired. When I graduate, I’d love to have a role in court, or become a detective or a customs officer. There aren't many of my people who work as police officers or in the courts. I want my Polynesian folks to know that they will be fine when they see me. I could also see myself returning to law school later in life as my ultimate objective is to become a lawyer.”

Making connections
As a proud Samoan who spent his entire education life surrounded by other Polynesians, AJ admits that starting university had its challenges.

“Stepping into a setting where there are not that many brown faces was undoubtedly one of the most difficult hurdles I experienced when I started at AUT. Throughout my first few weeks at AUT, I was able to see more of my people thanks to programmes like Vā Pasifika – also known as the Oceanian Leadership Network – and other Polynesian groups.

“What I've appreciated the most about my time here are the connections and people I've met. The stereotype that university requires independence is overstated, as AUT's student support services are second to none.”

Now in the second year of his studies, AJ is proud of being able to help other students settle into university life and loves the difference he makes through his role as a student ambassador.

“I had been honoured to serve the community since I was a child, and becoming a student ambassador was something I knew I wanted to pursue. Being a student ambassador is enjoyable because I can meet people from other origins, morals and customs. Simply being able to interact with the community more is what I’ve valued the most during my time as a student ambassador.”

Advice for other students
AJ has some great advice for other students who are only at the start of their university journey.

“My advice is to be yourself, and remember that you’re still creating your story. Don’t allow other authors to dictate the remainder of it. I’d also strongly advise you to seek out folks of your own ethnicity because they’re among the few who understand your situation and have a similar narrative to you. Don’t overburden yourself – there’s more to life than just studying and tests! Remember to have a good time with your family and friends.”

He wouldn’t hesitate to recommend studying criminology to others.

“By studying criminology, you gain insights into different researchers and their perspectives on crime, as well as how there are many variants on crime. You’ll also learn an entirely new vocabulary and your perspective on certain crime themes will undoubtedly be challenged throughout your studies. This degree is not for the faint of heart and it includes a lot of readings.”