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Second chance just what the doctor ordered

Second chance just what the doctor ordered

Getting into medical school is a big deal for any student, but for Nicholas Waaka it is an even greater achievement after he was given a second chance at university.

Nicholas, 24, is embarking on his first year of the Bachelor of Medicine and Bachelor of Surgery degree after completing the University’s Tertiary Foundation Certificate, a bridging course for those who missed the opportunity to enter university study.

Like many TFC students, he did not have the correct subjects or motivation to enter university immediately from high school. Instead, he found work as an orderly at Middlemore Hospital, where he realised he had an ambition to become a doctor.

“The biggest hurdle to me attending university from high school was laziness and lack of drive to do anything,” Nicholas admits. “It wasn’t until I experienced the realities of working at a hospital and seeing the suffering that people face daily, that I was able to ignite my passion to do something with my life. It made me realise I wanted a role in the health profession where I could influence my patients’ life before, during, and after hospital care.”

One of three students this year to enter medicine after completing the TFC preparation course, Nicholas progressed to the first year of a Bachelor of Health Science degree before applying and sitting an entry test to be accepted into the highly competitive Bachelor of Medicine and Bachelor of Surgery.

“The TFC was one of the greatest decisions I have made. I didn’t study biology and chemistry at school and was able to take them with lecturers who had dedicated their lives to those subjects. It really fuels your passion.”

Nicholas is also keen to help others into education, volunteering as a University of Auckland Tuakana mentor. The outreach programme sends mentors around New Zealand to help inspire young Māori about the opportunities that come with university degrees.

The year-long Tertiary Foundation Certificate supports the University’s belief that anyone capable of studying at tertiary level should be given that opportunity. To be successful in the programme students must commit to regular attendance, and be motivated and determined to succeed.

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