The Inside Scoop: What it’s like to study at Victoria University
VUW. Vic. Controversially, University of Wellington.
Whatever you know it as, Victoria University of Wellington continues to be one of the most popular universities in New Zealand.
Founded in 1897, Victoria University of Wellington now spans across three main campuses in the capital; Kelburn campus, Pipitea campus and Te Aro campus, as well as a recently added creative centre in Miramar. The Victoria Business School also offers some courses at the premises in Auckland.
But, aside from the nationwide scandal of removing “Victoria” from the name and hearing someone tell you they’re a law student every two minutes, what is studying at Victoria really like?
We spoke to three students of the past and present to find out. (Ironically, one really is a law student.)
Welcome Festival – O’Week 2019. (Courtesy of Victoria University of Wellington Facebook page)
1. So, you’re a first year at VUW. Were there any stereotypes or misconceptions you’d heard about Vic before going in?
Before attending Vic Uni I had friends warn me about the hill when walking up from The Terrace side, as well as a warning that first year would make or break me.
2. Was it as expected or were those misconceptions exceeded?
The stories I heard about walking up the hill turned out to be true but it’s kind of nice getting some exercise in the morning. While uni was a big step up from last year, I found that the lecturers made the change more manageable, while the tutorial teachers (tutors) really helped me settle in as they had more first hand experience of what it’s like as a first year student and what would be useful to know.
3. What was the transition like going into VUW, and how has that changed (or not changed) now?
The transition was scary as I worried about finding my classes and whether I would keep on track with my work. I’ve found that despite the school being huge, the signs and students helped me find classes easily and while the workload seemed a bit much at first I have now learnt to better manage my time and do the work when I get it as opposed to when it’s due.
4. Where’s your favorite place to study at VUW?
I like the cemetery on The Terrace side as a place to read when it’s good weather as it’s quiet and has a lovely view, but the quiet area of the library is the best as it provides a good environment for concentrating and has plenty of resources that I’ve used for my assignments.
5. If you could give one piece of advice to your high school self, what would it be?
Advice for my high school self would be something like, “Create a positive routine that balances resting, learning, and doing,” as this was something I struggled with during high school and it had effects on both school and non-school life.
Mount Street Cemetery, a popular reading/study spot.
1. You’re no longer a wide-eyed first year. What’s life like now at VUW? Has it gotten harder? Easier?
I settled in pretty quickly at uni last year, but it’s even more so now. Classes are not so different, but I’m surrounded by great people in a place I enjoy being. As cheesy as it is, uni’s great and this year has been one of my best so far.
2. Describe a typical uni day for you in a couple of sentences.
Most of my classes are in the afternoon this year so I usually have a pretty slow start to the day. I’ll generally get some readings done, grab some Krishna with the mates and head to class. At a guess, I’d say that I spend about 70% of my time at uni just pissing around in the law school common room.
3. What’s the best and worst thing about studying at VUW?
One of the best things is when you find a class or a topic which just fascinates you. Even though we all love to complain, so many of the classes at uni are interesting and engaging and being taught by people who are generally passionate and energetic.
The worst thing is probably how easily you can start to feel isolated. You don’t have the security blanket of a form class like in high school. Sometimes you’ll be walking into a class of 300 knowing nobody else and it’s easy to feel overwhelmed.
4. Where on campus do you get the most bang for your buck for a feed?
Look, I may be biased, but even if I wasn’t, Krishna Food is still heaven on earth. In my opinion, as a self-proclaimed Krishna connoisseur, you can’t beat the classic Krishna plate. For just $6 you get not only a curry with rice, salad and halava dessert, you get one of the most spiritual experiences you can ever have with food. Believe me, or don’t, but my life for one has been changed.
5. If you could give one piece of advice to your first year self, what would it be?
Make connections. Whether it’s by living in a hall, or joining a club on campus, uni starts to feel a lot easier when there’s familiar faces everywhere. Speak up, engage, get in there. This sh*t is hella expensive, so make the most of it.
Popular $6 Krishna meal – (100% vegan!)
1. Congratulations – you’re officially a VUW alumna. Describe your uni experience in 5 words.
Challenging, hard but achievable, fulfilling.
2. What are you doing now that you’ve graduated? Has your degree helped you in any way?
I am an intermediate teacher now. My degree had a specific purpose and that was for me to become a teacher.
3. Would you recommend VUW as a university to study at? Why or why not?
I do recommend Victoria University. It has a lot of culture, events, clubs. Very central, and VUWSA (student association) are very accommodating.
4. Are you still friends with people from uni?
Yep, still friends with my friends from my courses. If you’re a person who struggles to make friends or gets a bit nervous, I would definitely suggest going to a hall. Or joining a club.
5. If you could give one piece of advice to your undergrad self, what would it be?
Don’t be a “Last Minute Larry.” Do your assignments in chunks here and there. You will thank yourself later with your free time whilst all your mates are doing overnighters.
Some organisations that participated in “Sex Week” 2019 hosted by VUWSA. (Courtesy of VUWSA Facebook page)
A special thank you to our interviewees:
Fresher is a first-year student studying a Bachelor of Arts majoring in Sociology and Criminology.
Mid-year is a second-year student studying a Bachelor of Laws.
Graduate graduated from VUW in 2018 with a conjoint degree of Bachelor of Teaching (no longer offered) and Bachelor of Arts majoring in Theatre.