Rebecca Prestidge

How did the Certificate of University Preparation (CUP) help prepare you for degree-level study?

When I enrolled for the CUP programme, I was a young adult, having spent the previous 5 years working full time, which is quite some time to be out of school. The programme prepared me for what I’d face when I started my degree – it really set me up for uni. I got help with essay and report writing, grammar, punctuation and referencing. CUP gives you an edge when you enter first year because you already know how to use all the systems and facilities on campus, where to pick up your course materials from and how to navigate places like the library. It also allowed me to experience what a paper consisted of for 12 weeks, and how university life differed in comparison to a polytech or school. CUP really prepares you for what is coming for the next three years of undergraduate study.

What’s been the highlight of your degree so far?

My highlight would be all the knowledge I’ve gained, and the chance to apply that knowledge through frequent science labs and field trips. The science labs, especially for molecular biology subjects, are super enjoyable – they relate to current research in the field and also to ourselves as people. How many people you know have sequenced their own mitochondrial DNA or crystallised proteins? Because I have.

How have you changed in your time at Waikato?

I’ve matured and have definitely become more invested in our future as a community and as a part of the global population. Before uni, I didn't really know much about the world, but now I definitely choose to have a say about important topics and issues that should be talked about. I’ve also learned that with a little hard work and positive attitude, I can achieve big things that a younger me may have seen as an impossible task.

What’s your number one tip for making the most of uni life?

Make connections with people. Get to know your lecturers, get to know the tutors, make friends! University is a hard time if you have no one to bounce ideas off or to ask for help from time to time. Having a support network of friends around you is so important, especially if you have moved here from another part of the country. And also, ask questions, even if you think it’s a stupid one – especially if you think it’s a stupid one. As cliché as it may sound, the only stupid question is the question not asked.

What do you plan on doing when you finish your degree?

I plan on doing a Graduate Diploma in secondary teaching so I can teach science and biology at high school level, where kids are often immersed in science properly for the first time. I believe it’s an underrated and undervalued subject area, so I want to inspire young people to enjoy science and be a part of educating our next generation of scientists.

Rebecca Prestidge

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