Hi everyone! Welcome to my first blog post.
About six months ago I came to the realisation that so many crazy things were happening in my life that it was almost impossible to keep everyone updated. To get around this, I started writing monthly email updates to family and friends who wanted to know what I was doing. The response blew me away and with the advent of 2019 I’ve decided to formalise those emails into a blog!
For those of you who may be new here, I’ll start with a quick rundown on who I am and some of the things I’ve been up to over the last little while. My name is Victoria and I’m on this wild adventure called life. I come from a beautiful place called New Zealand and am based in the equally beautiful New York. I’ve just wrapped an internship with the United Nations Office for Disarmament Affairs and am side hustling with the University of Auckland as New York Special Project Lead.
Before that, I volunteered on the United States-New Zealand Youth Council and co-directed the US Leadership Tour 2018: a five-city study tour for 16 of New Zealand’s top university students. I have a Law degree and am about to complete a Bachelor of Arts, majoring in Politics and International Relations. I’m also a former national champion cheerleader, chronic illness survivor and the biggest Adam Lambert fan you will ever meet. It’s safe to say I don’t fit into a box.
I’m temporarily living in Auckland for five months while I finish up a couple of projects. In late June, I’ll be heading back to New York to begin the next phase of my career. I’m planning on working at least three jobs to learn as much as I can in my first year out of university. I love building communities and am passionate about sharing the New Zealand story, so there’s a good chance I’ll work in that space. I also think it’d be awesome to cut my teeth in the start-up scene doing a bit of everything. Right now the uncertainty is both terrifying and exciting, which is one of my favourite feelings.
Since arriving home on Christmas Eve, the summer has been a whirlwind. I started off by taking some time to put together a strategic plan for 2019. I set myself some new goals and mapped out each month with a list of steps for achieving them. I trialled this system in 2018 and found it useful to have bite-sized targets I could work towards. Some of my goals include pitching a project to strengthen the Kiwi expat community in New York, learning more about business and paying off $10,000 of my student loan.
After spending catching up with friends and soaking up my jet lag with flat whites, it was time for Summer School. Initially, I was apprehensive. I took a semester off while I was working at the UN and prior to that I wrote my Honours dissertation, so I hadn’t done an actual class since October 2017. I didn’t feel like a student anymore. Additionally, I had convinced the University of Auckland to let me take three courses instead of the usual two and they had warned me this would require 90 hours of study per week. There were no Politics courses available, so I had to enrol in subjects I’d never done before. I told myself it would all be worth it when I finished my Arts degree in six weeks’ time.
I’m now four weeks in and the experience has been a lot better than I expected. While the workload has been pretty heavy, my classes have been interesting. I’ve been particularly enjoying my Māori Studies course. It’s covered a wide range of topics from activism to healthcare and it’s astounding how much is new to me. I’m determined to learn more so that I can be a better ally in the future.
Aside from Summer School, I’ve been doing my best to share the knowledge I learned at the UN. I’ve met up with a couple of students to discuss my experience and recently spoke on a panel for a Disarmament Law class at Auckland Law School. I talked about everything from Security Council reform to New Zealand’s place in arms control, which was really fun. There were maybe 70 students in the audience and it was so cool to see them interested in these issues. I was amazed that the majority were women. At UN disarmament meetings over half of the delegations have no women at all, so being in that room felt promising.
February is set to be a magnificent month. I’ll be sitting my last exams ever, attending the New Zealander of the Year Awards and making my inaugural pilgrimage to Sydney Mardi Gras. I can’t wait to free up some hours to focus on my career once I’m done with studying.
For the time being, I will endeavour to post something new roughly every five weeks. If you’d like to be notified by email when my updates go live, feel free to scroll down to the bottom of my blog and click on the ‘subscribe’ button. Until then, I hope you all have a wonderful month. Catch you on the other side!