Striving to be an A+ student

Pursuing her studies in Wellington allows tourism and commerce student Acushla-Tara Sutton to put what she is learning into practice.

Back in high school

If you’d told Acushla-Tara Sutton five years ago she’d be getting straight A’s at university, she probably would have laughed.

“When I was at high school I never really pushed myself or strived for excellence. I did what I could and left it at that.”

That first A+

Being at Victoria University of Wellington led to a major change in attitude for the Commerce and Tourism Management student.

“Seeing the passion and drive other students had really made me want to do better,” she says

“When I got my first A+ it felt so good and I thought, I can do this and it’s going to be a great personal development to actually push myself.”

Fostering passion

Acushla, who is of Ngati Maniopoto descent, says support from her lecturers has been crucial to her success.

“They’re accessible and they do care about your learning. It’s what I love about the University, everyone’s trying to foster the passion you might have within you.”

Small town transitioning

While the transition from small town New Zealand—Acushla grew up in Taranaki—to the capital city can be daunting, Acushla thrived in her new home.

“The University helped me to challenge the idea that everything’s black and white, which is how it was where I grew up. It helped me to think outside the box and consider other perspectives that I might not have thought of.”

Learning to fish

Acushla says the University is also responsible for teaching her how to teach herself.

“It’s like that saying, give a man a fish and he can eat for a day, but teach him how to fish and he can eat for a lifetime. That’s so clichéd but also relevant, because it’s not so much the knowledge itself that’s important—although that is critical—but it’s about gaining the skills to learn. That has given me the ability to teach and learn throughout life.”

Know Your Mind

“I’m a different person today because the University gave me the opportunity to know my mind and to push myself and become the person that I’ve become.”

“Knowing your mind means knowing that you don’t fully know who you are, but you are passionate about finding out.”

See other students talk about their university experience and what Know Your Mind means to them.