Moeakiola Fa’e

Moeakiola Fa’e

Teaching Assistant, AUT
Bachelor of Health Science in Psychology

He wanted to understand how and why individuals think and behave in a certain manner, says Moeakiola Fa’e who came to AUT to study a Bachelor of Health Science in Psychology.

“I wanted to understand how psychological concepts and theories could be used to improve society. Connecting with other students and studying together helped ease any stress throughout the degree. Finding other students to become study buddies with was beneficial, especially during COVID when students and staff couldn’t physically meet. Some of us would plan Zoom meetings to discuss assignments during alert level 3, or we would meet on campus during level 2.”

Moeakiola – who is of Tongan, Samoan, Fijian and Tainui descent – says a highlight for him was being asked to revive an initiative that involved bringing Māori and Pacific psychology students together.

“The initiative was backed by the equity department at the AUT North Campus, with the purpose of connecting Māori and Pacific psychology students to lecturers as well as other Māori and Pacific psychology alumni. Reviving the Tuhono helped connect me with lecturers as well as alumni who would give me the guidance to get through the degree as well as advice on what I could do career wise with my degree.”

Informative and inspirational
There were a couple of courses that made a particular impression on Moeakiola who graduated in March 2023 and is now working as a teaching assistant and tutoring other psychology students.

“In the first lecture in abnormal psychology, our lecturer, Serena Walker, showed us a video of a TED Talk about a phenomenon occurring in the town of Roseto, Pennsylvania, in the USA. In Roseto, there was a low percentage of individuals experiencing a heart attack under the age of 55, even though the people of Roseto smoked unfiltered cigars, cooked with beef fats and consumed heavy amounts of red wine.

“Researchers found that the phenomenon occurred due to social and psychological factors including the healthy relations within the community, along with close family relationships. It was common to have three to four generations in one household. Learning about this increased my interest in finding out more about strange phenomena like what happened in Roseto.”

Another highpoint for him was his entire second semester at AUT in 2020.

“The psychology courses Psychology B, Introductory Research Methods, and Social and Abnormal Psychology were fun to learn and reassured me that I had chosen the right degree. What made the courses even more interesting was the delivery of the content from the lecturers, which was often comedic along with being very informative. That helped me remember the content as I would pair the humour with the concept or theory. Overall, it has been a great three years at AUT, partly due to the great lecturers who were very empathetic, humorous and down to earth.”

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

“Networking is beneficial in taking you to where you want to go with your career in psychology. So it's important that you get to know your lecturers and other classmates as may be able to provide you with the information you need to get you to where you want to go career wise.”

Make the most of the support services available to AUT students, he adds.

“You should take advantage of any services that are available to support your studies, including the AUT library workshops. The workshops help with writing lab reports and case studies, which are usually the main assignments in the psychology degree.”