Jessica Sutton is currently studying Law, French and Spanish at the Victoria University of Wellington, a university known for being the cultural hub within New Zealand.
Jessica loves immersing herself in the many different cultures Victoria University of Wellington offers, whether that be through learning new languages, involvement in leadership and peer support programs or founding her own a cappella group on campus. Read more to learn about her love for tutoring and involvement in extracurriculars.
When you were in high school, did you ever think you would be studying at Victoria University of Wellington? If so, when did you start thinking of attending that university?
I started thinking about Victoria in my first year of my IB programme, as I heard about the brilliance of Victoria's law faculty. I did further research that year and was pleased about the level of flexibility afforded in their humanities department for language study.
Was there a meaningful moment that made you feel you could attend a top-ranked university?
My academic accolades throughout high school certainly put tertiary study to the forefront of my mind, and I was very excited to pursue further study. Gaining top of year 12 IB was a stand-out moment before I applied for Victoria, which gave me a lot of confidence.
How did you choose your university? What questions did you ask yourself?
I considered the financial pluses and minuses of a variety of options, and decided I wanted to remain in New Zealand for my Undergraduate degree. Victoria's reputation for law, placement as the cultural capital, and electric student atmosphere made it my obvious choice.
What was the application process for your university? How did you find the process?
The application process was all online, and followed with easy selection of courses, and electronic notifications given when an offer of study was ready. Documents from the high school including references were easy to submit.
What academic strengths or extracurricular activities do you feel helped you to secure an offer at your university?
Academic strength is a great indicator, however, being in the cultural capital, I think my strong dedication to the arts and my theatrical and musical achievements were a huge advantage. Also, my enjoyment of volunteering such as at Riding for the disabled showed an engagement with local communities which tertiary institutions value.
Are you involved in any initiatives/clubs/organisations at your university?
I am involved in the Victoria International Leaders' programme, the Victoria Abroad programme (within which I will go on exchange to France in 2017), the PASS leaders (peer tutors) programme, the Disability Services, and am the founding president, rehearsal director and alto leader of Acapella on Campus, a campus based acapella choir.
Why do you think it’s important for other students to step outside their comfort zone and attend a top ranked university?
Nothing is gained from being overly critical and doubtful of your own abilities. Work hard and apply, because hanging back won't get you anywhere.
What do you love most about studying at your university?
The atmosphere. Victoria is welcoming, strongly academically focused and very encouraging.
How has studying at your university provided you with unique opportunities?
The flexibility of a conjoint degree in law and languages is not available at some overseas universities, so I am so grateful to be able to combine two of my greatest passions. Also, the extracurricular opportunities, and the ability to go on exchange to France, are huge highlights of Victoria.
What made you want to become a tutor/mentor with Crimson?
I wanted to give back to other students because I found the high school study experience so rewarding myself. Crimson allows me to impart the wisdom I gained throughout the IB programme and NZQA scholarship, and the effects are wonderful to see.
What do you love most about tutoring/mentoring students?
One of the most rewarding moments is seeing your explanation helping a student click with something they've struggled with for a long time.
What advice do you have for current high school students considering their future study options?
Keep your options open. Consider the strength of different faculties within a University, not just the prestige of the University itself. Think about what will make you happiest, and will have the best career outcomes for you!
What would you like to do once you finish university?
I aim to pursue postgraduate study at Oxford, and pursue further research in the areas of criminal law and French.
What achievements are you most proud of?
During my high school years, the achievement I was most proud of was gaining Dux of the school in my last year. In my university years, it is difficult to choose- but recently I have gained an internship with the French Film Arts Trust working on the French Film Festival which is a wonderful experience.
Do you have any role models? If so how do they inspire you?
I would have to say I am inspired by Ethel Benjamin, the first female lawyer in New Zealand. Her success reminds me that hard work and talent can trump anything.
What do you do for fun?
I am a keen singer and actress and enjoy community theatre and choir, and also enjoy writing, currently refining the draft of my first novel. I also am really dedicated to fitness and I dance, run and practice yoga.
What impact would you like to leave on the world?
Via my work in law and languages, I would like to leave the world a better place in terms of multi-culturalism and legal literacy. Also, creatively, I would love my work- writing and performing-to leave an impact!