Keeping the long term goals in sight

Te Rangimarie Edwards
  • Personal assistant, NZIS
  • Taranaki- Ngaruahinerangi

With a passion for sport, health and fitness, Te Rangimarie Edwards (Taranaki- Ngaruahinerangi) is gearing up to tackle her next adventure after completing her Bachelor of Applied Science through New Zealand’s distance learning specialist, the Open Polytechnic. 

Having recently graduated, the ambitious 23-year-old graduate is getting ready to set off on her OE in September.

“I really want to explore the world and learn about other cultures and compare the differences to that of my own. Since high school my goal was always to get my degree before I went on my OE so that I had something to back me. I have done my study, I feel like I have finished that side of my life for now,” Te Rangimarie explains.

“This is a new phase. Studying was definitely short term pain for long term gain.” Te Rangimarie completed a New Zealand Institute of Sport (NZIS) diploma as well as a Advanced Diploma, before deciding to take up the degree pathway for the Bachelor of Applied Science through the Open Polytechnic.

Studying while working full-time

While she was studying by distance learning she was also working as a personal assistant for the deputy chief executive of NZIS.

 “I chose the Open Polytechnic’s Bachelor of Applied Science  because it was offered as a degree pathway option through NZIS where I completed my first two years of study. Although it was tough, distance learning gave me the opportunity to work full-time whilst studying,” she says, adding that what she learned during her degree studies was applicable to her job.

“As I was working for NZIS I often did statistics, which was a course I did with the Open Polytechnic, in order to show where the percentage of our students were coming from, what ethnicity they were and the age difference between the students. I also gained a lot of knowledge through a communications course I did which helped me with strategies on how to communicate with all sorts of different people in all sorts of different ways whether it be face-to-face, through telecommunication or over emails. It helped me to realise what form of communication is appropriate for which type of situation as well."

Gaining new skills

Regardless of what role she secures while overseas, Te Rangimarie says that learning time management skills was one of the most helpful aspects of her studies.

“Learning time management has been one of the biggest benefits of studying, as well as learning how to structure my studies around work. What I really liked about studying with the Open Polytechnic was that it gives you the opportunity to plan your studies. It taught me how to prioritise, which was definitely helpful in my role,” says Te Rangimarie.

“A course in particular I found helpful was the project management course as I was coordinating an overseas rugby tour to America at the time. I was responsible for conducting multiple fundraisers. The course taught me all sorts of different strategies to ensure each fundraiser was a success and also multiple processes to ensure nothing was missed out, everything was accounted for and most importantly the end goal was reached.”

Motivated by the big picture

Family support and the financial investment she was making into her future spurred Te Rangimarie on when she found it difficult.

“I got through it with the help and the motivation from both my immediate family as well as my NZIS family. As cheesy as it may sound, both believed in me which gave me the strength to keep going and want to do it for not only myself but to make them proud as well,” she says.

“The fees were also a big motivator when you are paying for it! It isn’t like school where you don’t pay. You are investing your own money and thousands of dollars is a big motivator to give it your best.”

Te Rangimarie’s advice to other young people thinking about studying towards a qualification is to always keep sight of their goal, “no matter what is going on”.

“You need to have a vision of that goal. Write it on the wall, recite it, have it as the background cover of your phone, keep your mind set on that. My OE was my goal and I knew finishing my degree was going to get me there, having that goal helped me when there were obstacles to overcome.”

Although it was tough, distance learning gave me the opportunity to work full-time whilst studying.