Irra Lee

Irra Lee

3rd-year student, Bachelor of Communication Studies in Journalism

She would recommend the Bachelor of Communication Studies to anyone interested in media, says Irra Lee who is currently in the third year of her degree.

“I love that the programme is a great mix of both practical and theoretical skills. The skills you gain in class translate to real-life practice or at least give you a base from which to build your skills. You also gain life-long friends while studying, and the academic staff have a great depth of knowledge.

“Graduating from AUT means you come out future-proof. You complete your degree with some of the hard skills you’ll need for the changing world, as well as the soft skills and the adaptability to keep developing.”

Feeling well-prepared
Being able to experience life as a journalist has been one of the highlights of her studies, says Irra who was the top student in the second year of her degree and is currently the editor of Te Waha Nui, the newspaper run by AUT journalism students.

“All third-year journalism students go through a series of what’s known as a ‘Newsday’ as part of one of the core papers. Every Wednesday, the media centre on the AUT City Campus is transformed into a fully functional newsroom that the journalism students run.

“I’m very fortunate to be part of a tight-knit cohort of journalism students, and it’s great spending the day feeling like we’re actual journalists already.”

The services offered by AUT’s Employability and Careers team have also been very helpful in preparing for her future career, Irra says.

“AUT’s Employability and Careers team is fantastic. They helped me out with some one-on-one CV advice. Their employability workshops are also top-notch, and they give you advice on anything from setting up a LinkedIn profile to polishing your interview skills. I’ve now got a part-time position as a content editor at Giapo Ice Cream, managing a team of blog writers and PR staff.”

Advice for other students
Expecting to graduate at the end of 2019, Irra has some great advice for other students.

“Make friends with your tutors and lecturers – get to know the area they’re researching and the work they’ve done in the past. They have such a wealth of knowledge and networks that they’re more than happy to connect you with. It might even lead to your next opportunity. I’d also recommend upskilling yourself outside of what’s taught in class, as that gives you a competitive edge when job hunting.”

Be aware that university coursework isn’t like NCEA, says Irra who was awarded the Vice-Chancellor’s Significant Student Scholarship to support her studies.

“The concepts you cover at university aren’t spoon-fed to you, you don’t get chances to re-submit, you generally don’t get exemplars of past work, and assessments are a lot more unpredictable.

“It’s important to balance your time studying and working with time with family and friends. Five years down the line, you’re going to remember the moments you spent having a good time with others. You’re not going to remember that time you stayed at home writing an essay.”