Jia Prasad

Jia Prasad

Bachelor of Health Science (Honours) student
Bachelor of Science in Psychology

She decided to study psychology to better understand human nature and cognitive function, says Jia Prasad who came to AUT to study a Bachelor of Science in Psychology, followed by a Bachelor of Health Science (Honours).

“Psychology has always been fascinating to me, and my studies have helped me better understand myself and others around me. Along the way, I grew much more aware of the stigmatisation and misinterpretation of mental health issues and mental illness in New Zealand. I strive to one day be in a position where I can professionally help others understand, cope with and manage mental health; all of which I’m greatly passionate about.”

Expecting to graduate with her honours degree in 2022, she is well on her way towards achieving her goal to become a practising psychologist.

“This is the final year for the honours programme, so I’m graduating next year. I hope to achieve a master’s degree in psychology next, and be one step closer to obtaining a practising license in New Zealand.”

Supported to thrive
There have been plenty of highlights throughout her studies so far.

“AUT is a university where the professors are both passionate and knowledgeable about what they teach, therefore ensuring an intellectually stimulating learning experience.

“One of the highlights for me was working on research focusing on the olfactory system and neurodegenerative diseases. That gave me an opportunity to study an intriguing concept in my own way, while also learning new skills and further developing prior abilities. I was able to contribute beneficial knowledge to an important field of study, which is important to me.”

Studying during a global pandemic has had its challenges, Jia admits.

“Like many students this year, the feeling of uncertainty has been extremely difficult to cope with, and it, unfortunately, did impact my motivation and I was extremely stressed. I found discipline and mindfulness to be really helpful in slowly but consistently guiding myself to complete assignments while keeping myself from burning out.

“My supervisor, Dr Mangor Pedersen, has always been both incredibly understanding and as excited about my research as I’ve been. He has served as an excellent mentor and reinforced my love of neuroscience, which in turn has been extremely encouraging and motivational during difficult and unpredictable times.”

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

“I think university can be especially intimidating in the first semester, and it’s very common to start doubting your own abilities; especially if you’re a perfectionist as I am. However, gaining the strength and willingness to learn and continue can help you realise your full potential is much greater than the parameters you inherently assign and limit yourself to. Don’t let simplistic measures define you.”

Failure is not an obstacle, she adds.

“I think it’s typical to be told not to give up, but it’s crucial to understand that failure is just a steppingstone to success, not an obstacle.”

Website search