On the 11th of May, the students were offered the opportunity to be a part of an initiative by Geraldine Atchico, our 2019 Deputy Head Girl, who is currently in her third year of study at Auckland University studying Medicine. This initiative aims to educate, encourage and mentor students in her role as the Director of Equity in Health, alongside her team from Auckland University.
This event was available to all students interested in a career in health, and 42 students from across the five year levels attended the presentation. Students were informed of a variety of different topics concerning university - particularly the specifics of what degrees you could take, the pathway it involves, and of course, the experiences it will entail. It gives our students an insight into what university looks like (from a student perspective), and offers them an early lead into thinking about their future in the broad space of medicine and other health sciences.
The seniors - particularly those in Year 12 and 13 found it incredibly helpful in terms of shaping their directory towards tertiary study in universities the following year(s). As a Year 13 myself, it gave me an idea of what options I had - not only in terms of degrees, but also lodging and accommodation, as well as mentoring opportunities. I appreciate how they encouraged students on the various ways to adjust to university life, including the many groups - such as the Women in Health Network (WiHN) that the student body offers to support new students. It is a sense of comfort, as much as it is reassurance that life after high school may be hard, but it will be okay so long as you find the right people who will guide you along the way.
The hour-long presentation was also partnered with many interactive activities. With Geraldine’s team bringing in medical equipment such as stethoscopes, sphygmomanometers and reflex hammers - it was fun to play doctor and actually envision ourselves in what might be our future careers, even just for a moment. To some, this may have been an eye opener - but for a lot of our seniors, it was definitely a helping hand from a big sister. It was very easy to connect with Geraldine and her team; they were very accommodating and never hesitated to answer all of our questions. They gave us helpful advice, and were so much as kind enough to even share some parts of their life that might help us move forward in our own journeys. That being said, we definitely learned a lot from them, as such that they inspired us to further pursue our greatest potential and be the change we want to see in society.
So on behalf of Te Kura o Rautāwhiri and its aspiring doctors, nurses, health workers and scientists - thank you for availing us the privilege to be able to hear you speak, and a chance to shape our future well.