Ryan Henderson

Bachelor of Engineering with Honours

Civil Engineering

Key Info

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

Was attending university always in your grand plan?

I'm first in my immediate family to attend university. Dad's an electrician so I could've gone in that direction but I really wanted to learn how to construct things on a big scale. University also seemed like the best option to apply my talents and the subjects I was good at in college.

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

Originally, when I was first looking at universities, I wanted to go to Canterbury and then I changed my mind to Waikato. I was set on the Hamilton campus until Mum saw a Facebook ad that the new campus was being built in Tauranga and would be ready the year I was heading off to uni.

It was a no-brainer because it meant I didn't have to move for my first year, and by staying at home it saved me about $13,000 in accommodation costs. I was also able to apply my ‘Ko Te Tangata’ School Leaver Scholarship to my second year which has helped with my flatting costs.

Why did you choose this degree?

At college I was into art and did consider architecture as a study option but as I moved into NCEA Levels 1, 2 and 3 I found that I really enjoyed the sciences. I wanted to find a way to incorporate both of those and engineering seemed a great way to do that.

What is your favourite subject?

At the moment I would say that the ENGCV231 - Geotechnical Engineering paper would be near the top of the list. I enjoy the direct applications into real world scenarios, allowing me to compare my theoretical knowledge with the practical (even though it has been the most challenging paper so far).

What have been the highlights of studying at both campuses?

Studying at the Tauranga Campus felt homely in a way. In our year we were fortunate to have a small class which allowed us to build relationships with everyone in rapid time. This made a synonymous experience to a typical college day, where we would often spend class and lunchtimes together. Also our core lecturers, Dr Chanelle Gavin and Dr Ajit Pal Singh, were incredibly welcoming and approachable. The transition from college to university was seamless for me. The main difference was dedicating more time into assignments outside of uni.

In Hamilton, the highlights have come from flatting with good friends. The banter and easy going nature have created numerous lifelong memories. Living within close proximity to my home in Tauranga is a bonus. The Hamilton campus is far enough away from home so I can thrive however, it’s close enough where I don't feel isolated.

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

Build up the courage to socialise with a range of people in the first few weeks of uni. This way you will be able to find friends that are the right fit for you, like I did. I would then suggest attending uni social events such as the pub quizzes.

What’s the end goal once you’ve completed your studies? 

I've lived in Tauranga since I was about four and my family connections are there. Ideally, I'd like to finish my degree and possibly complete my final year back in Tauranga, and stay there. With the increasing population in the Bay of Plenty, there's a lot of work to be done on infrastructure so, from a civil engineering perspective, there should be plenty of opportunities to build my career.

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