Danielle Hao-Aickin

Bachelor of Arts/Bachelor of Music (Popular Music) student Danielle shares the experience of her first year at university.

Danielle Hao-Aickin

"I remember when I was about to start university, I was really excited about meeting other musicians. I went to a very small school and was basically the only person there studying music. I couldn’t wait to meet other musicians and hear about their journeys in music.

"Coming to Auckland, I thought about whether my music skills weren't as good, or what happens if I don’t fit in. I was worried I wasn’t good enough for a while actually. The first week, I was quite overwhelmed because I thought everyone was so talented. But I loved how everyone was so passionate about music and everyone in my class was so friendly.

"I love the music staff, they’re amazing. They always make time for you and give you feedback. The degree is quite challenging because you have to be so creative all of the time and really put yourself out there. I didn’t expect to have to be so creative in such a small space, basically it’s a song a week completely fine-tuned, recorded and edited. But, it does get easier and I think that’s the point.

"Coming into university, I was quite independent already, and was quite motivated to attend lectures. My biggest struggle was probably coming to terms with my decision to study music, being a musician is really hard. I had to keep reminding myself that this was my passion and I have to keep on doing it and I will regret it if I do anything else.

"The highlight of my year was our final performances, where we performed two of our own songs. We had been rehearsing all year. It was just the best experience and it made me feel like this year was all worth it.

"Next year, I know it’s going to get harder, but I also know that it’s going to be even better. This year I focused a lot on grades, I’d like to focus more on my own development, and not stress too much about grades. I think it’s important to not be so hard on yourself, it’s ok to not get everything right, it’s just about putting yourself out there.

"My advice for new students is to not give up, stick by it and believe in yourself. You will question what you are doing some days, but it’s really important to just believe in yourself and keep going!"