Three years ago Bethany Hayes enrolled in a Bachelor of Screen Arts (Animation) at Southern Institute of Technology (SIT). During her study journey she learnt everything she needed to launch a career in her chosen profession, but perhaps more significantly, she discovered herself.
Invercargill born and raised, Bethany enrolled at SIT, fresh from graduating James Hargest high school. Her art teacher pushed her to study animation there after she won a national secondary school Sharpie competition. Her brother had also started studying at SIT the previous year, which was helpful for Bethany.
“My art teacher had booked a meeting with the head of faculty, and there we learned I was more into digital art (animation)”.
Regarding her degree programme, Bethany said “I had no idea what I was going to do. I knew there would be drawing, but SIT exceeded my expectations... I just loved it. So much to do, to learn, and I would not change a thing as it was just the best”.
“You never know what you don’t know until you put yourself in a place where you can learn”.
She commented on the new friends made and the life skills she’ll never forget, and although she didn’t involve herself in any of the other groups at SIT, Bethany said there were a huge range of social/support groups available to students.
Bethany is dyslexic, which creates challenges in reading and spelling, but this wasn’t an issue at SIT as she was able to apply for a reader/writer through Disability Liaison Services. They assist by providing out of class support on campus, meeting with the student during their study time – they read through course content with them, write content in terms of assignments/essays, and workbook completion. They can also provide assessment support.
A typical day at SIT saw Bethany attend classes, squeeze in some social time having lunch with friends, and breaks were usually “getting a mini-stretch every few hours” she said.
When assignments were due Bethany said sometimes she would work through lunch if she needed to, as well as this she had the option of using the high tech SIT computer labs after hours to finish her work.
At the top of her ‘best experiences’ list for SIT, Bethany rates: making new friends, studying what she wanted, and having tutors who helped her to succeed. “The tutors want the best for you too” she said.
Bethany found learning healthy work habits and completing her assignments were the most challenging aspects to master during her time at SIT.
She said SIT continued to provide support as she sought work. Prior to studying, Bethany’s work experience had been primarily through her involvement in volunteer work, having a leader’s role with the 15th Invercargill Girls Brigade.
“I first got an internship through SIT working for a tutor. Through the internship, I’m now employed by Meek and Wild Creations”.
In her current role as an Animator, Bethany said they get a variety of projects to work on. The next step will be to use her qualification to find work in her field overseas.
“Because of SIT I am for the first time, not afraid of my future, excited even”, she said.
In the midst of learning, gaining new skills and a career, Bethany entered into a voyage of self-discovery and graduated a different person, with more self-assurance, maturity, and confident of her identity. “You’ll learn more about yourself and grow regardless” she says of the SIT experience.
“I didn’t know I was afraid of myself until I found who I was and came to love myself”.
“Thank you SIT for helping me grow up, to not be afraid, and helping me work out who I am. I would never have been able to do it without them...I didn’t know who I was before SIT, but I found myself while studying”.