During the summer holidays, between January 15th to 20th I took part in the annual ‘Hands-on’ at Otago. I had the pleasure of being able to live in Arana College for the duration, where I would experience campus life, and complete an educational course. The particular course I chose was Information Science, which was one from 35 on offer.
On this course, a group of fifteen like-minded individuals underwent an investigation system using a ‘computer aided investigation environment’ called CAINE. This required us to use extensive knowledge of command prompts and techniques to solve a crime. In our case, we were threatened and a beloved campus mascot was held ransom. The criminals contacted us via email to which we then decoded and found their location. During the course I also experienced Virtual Reality, which was a highlight. Virtual Reality opened my eyes to the future, which corresponded with the overall theme of Hands-on. Every day I also had the opportunity to experience other academic areas of the university. These were called ‘Snacks’. The Linguistics Department had us create a new language, the Physics Department explained refraction and magnification in depth and I had the honour of playing on ancient musical instruments from the music of ‘Gamelan’.
Going on this course gave me unique opportunities and, in ways, I ‘learned the ropes’ of Uni life. I got to experience what my future could be like which gave me a further incentive to pursue tertiary education. The hall and university have extremely friendly staff who went out their way to make sure my experience was of the best quality. They prioritised my needs before theirs and, to be completely honest, weren’t that bad at telling the odd joke.
Also, I meet numerous like-minded people. These people quickly became friends which gave me laughter and provided me withmemories. These people, made the event better, I am extremely grateful for their company and friendship. On the last day, Gravity hosted a party for Hands-on. This was another highlight of my time at Hands-on and these memories are cherished.
Personally, Hands-on gave me opportunities I would never have had in little old Gore. I danced in front of 600 people. I talked in front of the same 600 for three minutes explaining what I had learnt during the week. This improved my confidence going forward. I would highly recommend this to anyone looking for an experience of a lifetime. If you would like to go in the future, feel free to approach me or the Science Department. It is a small fee but chances are, if proactive, it can easily be fully sponsored by local clubs e.g. Rotary, Lions. Personally, I was lucky to be fully sponsored by our local Rotary Club in Gore. I highly recommend Hands-on at Otago. Remember, anyone can go, all you need is passion!
Sam Watkins - Head Boy