Nick Wotton

Bachelor of Engineering with Honours

Civil Engineering

Key Info

  • Bachelor of Engineering with Honours
  • Civil Engineering
  • 'Ko Te Tangata' School Leaver Scholarship

Why did you choose to study at the University of Waikato?

Originally, I considered studying optometry in Auckland but my final year at school didn’t go as planned and I was unable to meet the strict entrance requirements for the course. I thought about engineering and was going to study in Auckland due to the fact my parents had an apartment that I would be able to rent off them. That plan was quickly cast aside when I saw the opportunity to study in Tauranga at the new CBD campus which would allow me to live at home and bike into uni daily. Receiving a 'Ko Te Tangata' School Leaver Scholarship was a plus!

You started your studies early with the Jump Start summer programme, how was that?

I was one NCEA credit short in physics so I enrolled in the Jump Start programme and took the General Physics and Mathematics for Engineers paper in four weeks over summer. Completing that paper meant I could start and continue the year in Tauranga without having to do a make-up course alongside my first-year papers. Because the paper was available at the Hamilton campus, I stayed in the Halls of Residence at a reduced rate so was set up with accommodation plus meals.

Jump Start was a good refresher for everything I’d forgotten from school. I’d highly recommend the programme to students who need extra credit or just want to get a head start on their studies. It gave me a confidence boost and an idea of what to expect from uni.

Is university what you expected it would be?

When I started at the Tauranga campus it was different than I expected. The small classes made it feel more personal than school and we actually got to know the lecturers really well. I also made great friends in Tauranga who now, essentially, all live together in the same flat in Hamilton.

Last year was a lot more ‘in person’ than this year due to Covid-19 (obviously) and the change to online learning. At the Hamilton campus the classes and lecture halls are bigger compared to Tauranga so it doesn't feel quite as personal, I mean that’s what uni is supposed to be like, but the Tauranga campus was a pretty cool experience.

The second-year subjects are definitely a step up so it’s nice living with the people you study with so that when you need help you can just walk to the next room and ask a question (instead of having the message them and hope that they respond within the next week!).

What is your favourite subject?

231 Geotechnical Engineering - due to the fact that this subject is quite close to what I feel I will actually be doing in the real work. Also, any paper taught by Dr Chanelle Gavin last year as she is amazing (I’m so disappointed that we don’t get to have any lectures with her this year!).

What are your plans once you’ve completed your degree?

Eventually, I hope to become an engineer and work in a firm possibly back in Tauranga. Most of the companies I have visited, such as Lysaght and Beca, seem interested in multisport and other outdoor activities and they enter events together which sounds pretty cool to me.

What do you love about Waikato?

I liked that I was able to live at home in Tauranga for the first year while I studied at the Tauranga campus. This year, I like that Hamilton is still close enough for my family to visit. My girlfriend lives in Karapiro and studies in Hamilton and a lot of my high school friends are also studying at Waikato University, in law, teaching and science, so I get to see them all regularly.

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

Attend all the university and WSU-run events and parties! I won so many things just because I showed up. My friends and I went to all the pub quizzes and parties and dressed up in theme. It’s so much more fun when you dress up and go hard.

What’s a quirky fact about you?

There's a couple. I have had multiple Aquathlon (swim run) national placements (two seconds and a third) for a few years in a row at both the age group and the youth national champs - U14 x 2, and U16.

At a Mexican fiesta party over in Tauranga, I won the catwalk competition. It was a dance/walk down the main runway area in a bar to a song. My friend Dharna and I both chose songs by Lizzo. I mostly attribute my win to the split I did half way down the runway. So, I can do the splits!

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