Jessica Milicich

Jessica Milicich

Goalkeeper, New Zealand Water Polo
Sports Manager, Baradene College of the Sacred Heart
Master of Business in Sport Leadership and Management student
Bachelor of Sport and Recreation in Management and Exercise Science

A talented water polo player who has represented New Zealand at a number of international competitions, sport and recreation alumna Jessica Milicich is proud of successfully balancing her Bachelor of Sport and Recreation with competing on an international level.

Her sporting excellence has certainly been recognised by AUT, and saw her nominated for the AUT Blues Award for Water Polo and winning the 2019 Sportsperson of the Year Award.

She says Bruce Meyer and the wider athlete support team at AUT have been incredibly supportive throughout her time at university.

“I’ve always been given good advice around balancing sporting commitments and what courses to take etc, as well as being supported through times of stress where I may have needed extensions or help with meeting deadlines. The team supported me and helped me work through a course load that was appropriate for me. I was also always supported with extensions where necessary to make everything work.

“From a young age, I’ve always had good time management skills, but the flexibility AUT offers has definitely helped. My journey here has been unique, but that hasn’t been a disadvantage. I’ve been able to do fewer courses in some semesters when I was busy with sporting commitments and could still complete my degree without it being an issue.”

Advice for other student athletes
Jessica knows from experience that AUT staff are available to help students succeed. Her advice for other student athletes is to make the most of the support services on offer.

“AUT is extremely flexible and super supportive, and will go above and beyond to ensure you can succeed. This might mean that you graduate alongside a different cohort than what you started with, but you would’ve had the best of both worlds, getting to play sport and study at the same time.”

Don’t be scared to talk to your lecturers, she adds.

“They’re super willing to help where they can, and love students to interact and engage. The Bachelor of Sport and Recreation staff were amazing throughout my undergraduate studies. They were genuinely interested in my sporting endeavours, and were always willing to help to ensure that I could succeed academically too. It’s part of the reason I chose to return to AUT to do a Master of Business in Sport Leadership and Management as I knew I would be involved with a lot of the same lecturers.”

The right choice
Jessica said she came to AUT for a number of reasons.

“The main reasons for me to study at AUT were the course options in the Bachelor of Sport and Recreation and the support for athletes. I switched degrees and universities, and was extremely glad I came to AUT to study sport and recreation. I instantly felt at home – well supported and in a position where I knew I could succeed.”

She says she loved the hands-on aspect of her courses and was pleased that the specific exercises and training were a shift away from traditional textbooks and lectures.

Many of her exercise science courses had practical workshops where students used the equipment and understand physiological responses by seeing them in real life. Jessica says this made her feel confident and she enjoyed being able to tailor assignments to focus on her chosen sport.

“One of my majors was exercise science, which was particularly relevant to my sport. I learned a lot, and ended up pursuing a project for my final-year workplace experience that focused on the water polo field and helped me advance my knowledge within my own sport. Where possible, I’d also always choose water polo or topics related to water polo for my assignments. I found that to be an advantage.”

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