Source: University of Waikato
Born and bred Whakatāne girl Devon Seymour is a long way from home. Currently on an exchange programme at Arizona State University, Devon took her own advice and got comfortable with being uncomfortable.
The Bachelor of Social Sciences graduate is now studying a Master of Applied Psychology in Behaviour Analysis at the University of Waikato in Tauranga. “When you’re new at uni, almost everybody is feeling shy and awkward, so it’s important to get out of your comfort zone,” she says. “Start by introducing yourself to people in your classes. Begin building those connections and it will make your time at university all that more enjoyable.”
If she weren’t currently in Arizona, Devon would happily share this piece of advice in person to anyone attending the University of Waikato’s Information Session in Whakatāne on Wednesday 24 October. The event is for whānau and hāpori (families and communities) to get information about what university education has to offer rangatahi (young people). Taking place at the Lightning Hub in Whakatāne from 4.30pm, the University’s friendly student advisers will be on hand to offer guidance on all aspects of undergraduate study.
Devon, who attended Apanui Primary School, Whakatāne Intermediate and Trident High School, says she was fortunate to have parents who recognised the importance of gaining an education as an investment for the future. “I have a strong attachment to the Bay of Plenty and wanted to remain a part of this community. Tauranga was only a short distance from home and the University of Waikato in Tauranga offered a leading education in a beautiful location.”
In early 2019, the University of Waikato is opening a new campus in the heart of Tauranga City. The University is leading the development on behalf of the Bay of Plenty Tertiary Partnership, comprised of the University of Waikato, Te Whare Wānanga o Awanuiārangi, and Toi Ohomai Institute of Technology.
Devon plans to become a registered psychologist practising applied behavioural psychology in a role where she can create a sustainable, positive change in society. “My English teacher at Trident High School, Ms Bowe, really opened my eyes up to analysing the world through a psychological lens. These classes really made me realise my passion for psychology and how it can be used to help others,” she says.
When asked about the highlights of her time studying, Devon identifies the Te Ahurutanga Māori student leadership programme during her second year. “Being surrounded by Māori who were so proactive in their communities and created such an encouraging environment for others to learn and develop their use of te reo was one of the most supportive environments I’ve ever had the pleasure of being involved in.”
As for other tips for anyone considering the path of university study, Devon says “be ready to be different, to take who you are into this pathway, and play to your strengths. It takes every different personality type to improve the world.”
The Whakatāne Information Session is open to all, so bring your whānau and your questions. Light refreshments will be provided on the night. To register visit waikato.ac.nz/go/info.