Ben’s home, uni studies online

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It’s not been quite the start to university life that Ashburton College’s 2019 Dux Ben Holland envisioned, but he’s adapted to the situation and like thousands of university students around the country, he is currently learning from home.

Ben is studying for a Bachelor of Commerce, majoring in accounting and finance, at Canterbury University.

He began his university studies in mid-February and before lockdown was flatting in Christchurch. After five weeks, conventional lectures came to an abrupt end because of Covid-19.

Ben elected to come back to Ashburton to be with his family rather than stay in Christchurch.

After a four-week break, Term 2 started online two weeks ago. Ben has been learning through online tutorials, pre-recorded lectures and Zoom meetings.

“I think I’ve adapted pretty well.”

Lectures were set to continue online until mid-June, he said, before things were reassessed.

Online exams were also a possibility, and although they would be timed, they were likely to be open book.

The 18-year-old said he had been enjoying university life prior to lockdown and looked forward to returning it.

Classes of 30 at Ashburton College had been replaced with lectures for between 100 and 200 people at university.

He had signed on to play for a university under 19 football team and had made new friends and was getting stuck into new subjects and things he really enjoyed learning about.

Ben said he hoped to study to be a chartered accountant after completing his three-year degree.

Unfortunately Covid-19 has forced the cancellation of the Top Scholar Award ceremony he was due to attend in Wellington this month.

The ceremony would have seen him presented with a certificate recognising him as last year’s top achieving economics student nationally. The award comes with a scholarship worth $5000 for each year of his three years of tertiary study.

“I am disappointed the ceremony’s not happening and won’t be rescheduled, but that’s life.”