Leon Simpson

Leon Simpson

Final-year student, Bachelor of Arts in Creative Writing & Psychology

He enjoyed the freedom of creation in AUT’s arts curriculum, says Leon Simpson who is now in the final year of his Bachelor of Arts in Creative Writing & Psychology.

“I began with the Creative Writing major because I’ve always had a passion for writing and connecting with others through language studies. Upon finding I really enjoyed studying at AUT, in my second year I decided to branch out my studies and future into other interests, such as psychology. Studying psychology has given me the opportunity to foster a greater understanding of myself and others with the seasoned guidance of AUT’s professors.

“To me, the practices of creative writing and psychological study are heavily entrenched in each other’s practice. For instance, my creative writing capstone project was formatted as a psychological report and featured themes alluding to important narrative and psychological concepts. To have the opportunity to present and reflect upon this project with lecturers and mentors I look up to was extremely fulfilling for me.”

He wouldn’t hesitate to recommend AUT’s Bachelor of Arts to others.

“I’d definitely recommend this programme; not only for the opportunities AUT may offer in terms of education and networking potential, but also for the self-discovery and fulfilment you may attain in pursuing your interests. AUT’s curriculum encourages self-expression and unique thought.”

Feeling supported
For Leon, AUT’s reputation for providing extensive student support was one of the reasons he decided to come to AUT for his studies.

“I had heard through word of mouth that AUT student services were superior to many other universities. As a transgender man who was in the midst of his transition in the first year of studying at AUT, I’ve always felt supported by AUT, and appreciate the employees and volunteers who are instrumental in making it a safe queer space. AUT has always been fantastic about referring me to student services, including the rainbow room, AUT counselling and the Student Ambassador programme.”

Now in the final year of his Bachelor of Arts, he already has plans to return to AUT to take on a master’s degree in psychology.

“For a long time I was stuck between choosing a career pathway in clinical or counselling psychology, and I looked to AUT’s Employability Lab and my psychology professors to figure out where I wanted to go with it. The guidance they were offering focused on what I was interested in providing to others. I ended up deciding on a counselling psychology route. I’m excited to continue on this path, and grateful to AUT’s student services for pointing me in the right direction.”

Advice for other students
Leon’s advice for other students is simple: don’t be afraid to pursue the subject you’re really interested in.

“Creative writing has always been something I’ve been passionate about, yet many people warned me that it’s unlikely that I’ll find a career or make any income from pursuing this interest. While I’m now pursuing psychology as a career path due to changes in interest, I can’t understate the significance of my time doing creative writing for my sense of self-understanding and confidence in what I want in life.

“Whatever your interest may be, it’s not a waste of time or energy because you are your future, not your major.”