'This double degree was perfect as it would allow me to have more career choices...'
The possibility of running his own business is one of the driving factors behind Tom taking a double degree in Engineering and Commerce.
‘This double degree was perfect as it would allow me to have more career choices and it also meant that I didn’t need to give up any of my favourite subjects from secondary school, which were economics, statistics, calculus and chemistry,’ he says.
‘I really enjoy the engineering but I’m not prepared to sacrifice the commerce for it, so a job that combines both would be ideal. I would also like a job that would allow me travel – that would be great fun and would allow good life experiences. It could all result in creating my own business.’
Tom has a strong aptitude for maths and is particularly enjoying the ‘more challenging’ engineering mathematics he is encountering in his degree. ‘I also really enjoy the practicality of engineering and being able to apply it to real-life situations.’
At high school in Wellington, Tom took part in UC’s STAR programme, taking an Economics course by distance.
‘Economics had always been a great strength of mine and it was really good to take the STAR programme as it gave me a taste of what university courses are like and how marks are attained. It allowed me to come into my first year with some understanding of how university works and so I felt really well prepared.’
Tom was also able to take up UC’s Undergraduate Entrance scholarship (worth $3,000) after gaining Excellence in his NCEA, and he won an Outstanding Statistics Scholarship for being in the top 20 students in the country.
Tom was drawn to the campus set-up at UC, along with the reputation it has for teaching his subjects.
‘The College of Engineering is the best in New Zealand and the Department of Economics and Finance is commended very highly so it was a no brainer to come here. From both an engineering and business perspective, Christchurch is a great city for work experience and opportunities, and will lead the country in a few years in terms of being a modern and technological city, so it will be exciting to watch it develop.
‘The whole campus is located in one spot and there are fields and nice gardens surrounding it, which gives a good vibe and means I don’t feel so confined to a busy city. Also, the halls of residence all get along well, which results in more parties and socialising.’
Despite his workload, the social side of university is a priority for Tom.
‘I enjoy making new friends and having a few beers,’ he says. ‘I try to keep fit and healthy and I play rugby for the university ENSOC [Engineering Society] team in the Saturday social competition. I also like tennis, badminton, golf, softball and water sports such as wake boarding and anything at the beach.
‘Socialising is a necessity at university but you also have to be prepared to work hard. You will be challenged and learn new and interesting things. I have thoroughly enjoyed studying at university so far and am looking forward to the coming years.’