3rd-year student, Bachelor of Laws
While she has always been passionate about human rights and foreign affairs, she initially thought she would study fine arts, says Ruth Stowers who is now in the third year of a Bachelor of Laws.
“Law was always something I’d considered, but I was a little unsure of the ‘intenseness’ students often described. But when I received the AUT Pasifika Law and Business Scholarship, I couldn’t pass up this opportunity. And I’m so, so glad I enrolled in the Bachelor of Laws.”
AUT’s environment and style of teaching suits her well, says Ruth who dreams of a career in diplomacy or foreign affairs.
“The classes are interactive, the lecturers care about their students, and there’s a really welcoming student culture and a huge amount of support. Seeing someone truly passionate about a subject and ensuring that their students enjoy and understand it makes the lectures and workshops so much better.”
Making the most of university
She also appreciates the amazing opportunities available to students outside of the classroom, Ruth says.
“There are so many groups to join or even to create, and so many opportunities for internships or volunteering. I think these opportunities are so important to make the most of your time at university.
“It’s the people I’ve met that have made my studies so enjoyable. AUT has students from so many different ages, backgrounds and experiences, and learning from and alongside them has made all the difference.”
One of the highpoints for Ruth has been mentoring a Year 13 high school student from a refugee background through the REAP mentoring programme run by AUT’s Diversity Office.
“Over a couple of months, I helped her consider tertiary education options, gave course advice and was lucky enough to hear a bit about her story, which was really humbling.”
Advice for other students
Now in the third year of her degree, Ruth has some great advice for other students.
“Some of my best experiences have been because I signed up to a random group, went along to an O Week event or said ‘yes’ to having lunch with a new classmate. University is the perfect time to explore what you’re passionate about.
“Lectures and studying should be helping you to get to a career you’ll love so if you don’t enjoy what you’re doing don’t feel pressured to continue. Lastly, try to dedicate at least some of your time to helping other people – not only is it a great way to meet people but it’s super rewarding and can put things into perspective.”
There’s plenty of help at hand for new students finding their way around university, she adds.
“My biggest challenge was adapting to the new schedule, pace and lectures of university life. The AUT Student Hub, scholarship support staff and the students’ association offered answers to my endless questions. Through them I was able to find groups and people that shared similar interests, and gave me a purpose and passion outside of the classroom.”