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  • Mairangi Campbell

Column: Ngāi Tauira

Words by Mairangi Campbell, Ngāti Porou, Ngāi Tūhoe | Apiha Matauranga (Academic Officer)

I sit in my desolate room, accompanied only by a half-drank bottle of beverage of the yeasty persuasion. The incessant drumming beat of pedestrians echoes through my bedroom window. I find myself contemplating the achievements, the dread, and above all, the love of suffering that quintessentially defines what it means to be a university student. To put it bluntly, being a university student is hard. Therefore, in this edition of the magazine, we're going to explore the myriad life lessons that have so painfully defined my year(s) of study, in the hope that you can navigate your life and academics with a bit less difficulty.

First and foremost, what may seem obvious can, believe me, be an easy trap to fall into. So, number one: Do not go to karaoke night at The Residents on a Thursday evening and stay there until 4 a.m., especially if you have a tutorial at 8 a.m. the same morning. It may be tempting to relax with a sunrise tequila in one hand while being serenaded by the sweet tunes of Mariah Carey, sung by Maia Karohi from Lower Hutt. But trust me, it is not worth it. Choose to go to bed instead.

When choosing tutorial, workshop, and lecture time slots, opt for the ones you realistically will attend, not the ones you aspire to go to. It's very easy to harbour an idealised version of ourselves when deciding which lectures, labs, and tutorials we should attend. Many begin the year with high aspirations, believing this will finally be the year they wake up early for their 8:30 a.m. lectures. If New Year's resolutions have taught me anything, it's that some things never change. So, set the bar low. Give yourself some flexibility for later in the year when assignments begin to pile up and you find yourself staying up until 2 a.m. writing that last-minute essay, inevitably missing that dreaded morning lecture.

Finally, embrace the resources and communities available to you. If you are Māori, consider joining Ngāi Tauira. As a wise person once said, being a university student is hard, but being a brown one introduces its own set of complexities that only a handful of students will understand. University can feel like a very culturally isolating experience. So whether you're into Te Matatini or Dragon Ball Z, join Ngāi Tauira. Whether you're a kapa haka fanatic or prefer the writings of Oscar Wilde, join Ngāi Tauira. Whether you're a fluent Te Reo Māori speaker or just learning your pepeha, join Ngāi Tauira. A place where you can be authentically and unapologetically yourself. Authenticity allows your academics to flourish.

Thus, as I inch ever closer to that desired word count of 500 words, I can only wish you the best of luck in your endeavours. Do dumb stuff. Learn some stuff. Embrace the journey with all its ups and downs. 



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