Jaelen Uini is 19, from Mangere and studied Health at NZMA Manukau
What did you study at NZMA Manukau?
How was your time at NZMA?
Yeah it was good. I learned a lot. I took a gap year the year before so I was going to struggle getting back into study, but the people there are very helpful.
Was there an event that kicked off your interest in health?
My mum got attacked by a dog. There was screaming and blood coming out. But I remained calm, and I was just doing the best I can, trying to get my mum into the car. When I looked back I thought I could keep calm and control my emotions, so I was like, oh maybe I can look into something that helps people. Being a paramedic is a pretty intense job, emotionally you have to control yourself and be mentally focused on the job, that’s why I looked into it.
How did it feel walking into NZMA?
Manukau campus has more girls than boys so it was a bit...okay, this doesn’t seem right! But everyone there was all good. They didn’t treat me any different. We were all the same.
Were you nervous to start?
Oh yeah. I think most people are always nervous when they start. Even in the environment of university, I’ve never been to university and I wouldn’t know what to do. That’s what they didn’t say much about at school. They just say come to our university, but they don’t say what the process is. But NZMA was good, the timetable was good. The classes are smaller, they connected with me better compared to a big university and lectures. Works for me.
Do you have a tight knit family?
Yeah. I think they’re concerned about me because I’m the oldest of my siblings. I’m the first to finish school, first to take a gap year. I’m pretty much the experimental child so that's why they’re more concerned about me.
What are their hopes for you?
Just to know what I wanna do with my life. To make sure I’m not working just to meet ends. And to make sure I enjoy what I’m doing. At least that’s what I see. Knowing I want to do something with my life more than just going to work and coming home.
Did NZMA help your confidence?
Yes. I think it did. I’m not really a confident person if you could tell from my awkward photos. Probably not presentations, I’m still nervous around presentations. It’s a lot of um’s and ah’s. If we did group activities, I think I would become more confident in group discussions and stuff. At times becoming the leader, giving more direction.
What skills have they given you to really set you up in health?
Probably knowledge. We learned about health systems in a more in depth way. I didn’t know much about the health system and hierarchy, which was good. Learned about the human body, more than just muscles and stuff. It was hard but good. We learned a lot about holistic health which gave me an insight into how people think which was good.
What do you think your future holds?
Probably being a youth worker at a school where I can help. In South Auckland. Helping those in my situation be able to relate to someone who’s been through it before. I know there’s heaps of people out there. Maybe at my old school. Whatever school that comes up. I just want to prepare myself for anything.
What would you tell someone who took a gap year and doesn’t know what they want to do?
I think NZMA has a better way to connect and relate to you compared to other Universities. They help a lot. Heaps of opportunities come up there. They open you up to more than one career path.
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