Samantha Down is great example of how career paths don’t always have to be a steady ascent. Sam, as she prefers, was chosen as this year’s valedictorian to speak on behalf of all students of the schools of Business, Computing, Tourism and Hospitality, Primary Industries, Trades and Technology and Viticulture and Wine Science. “It was a real oh-my-goodness-moment when my lecturers told me,” Sam remembers.
Such success is even more remarkable considering that some years ago, Sam was living more a nomadic than a career-focused lifestyle.
After finishing high school, Sam felt she needed to get out of Napier and went off to Brisbane. For the seven years that followed, she was in a kind of limbo where she worked in various jobs, studied social work for a while but never really knew what she wanted to do.
Sam can pinpoint the moment that changed her life. At that time she was working for a bookbinding company and got to know a woman who had been working there for 30 years. Sam thought right there, that she would never want to get stuck in a career like that woman. She knew that she had to proactively change her life.
Sam moved back home and started to narrow down her options. Initially worrying about not being smart enough, she eventually enrolled into the EIT Bachelor of Computing Systems.
Juggling three parallel jobs while studying full-time, she started an internship with Devine Technology and was soon snapped up as a full-time business intelligence data analyst. She is one of many EIT computing students that secured employment from their internship placements.
“I really like data. Data doesn’t lie,” says Sam.