“I had been wanting to study for a while but didn’t have a career direction,” Pepe says. “As my kids moved into their teens, I started to think what I wanted for myself in the next phase of my life.”
Pepe has focused on homeschooling her two children, whilst working part-time. Now she is leading by example as she embraces the change into studying.
Pepe looked at different options to study, not just nursing, and talked on the phone with career advisor, Anne Thoroughgood, about all the ideas going through her head.
“Anne was lovely. She invited me on campus and took me everywhere. I asked to go to the nursing department, so we went to see it,” Pepe says. “The minute we got there I just felt at home, and I knew then, that was it.”
Pepe is the recent recipient of the NMIT degree scholarship, which awards $6500 to course related costs. As she was not eligible for any fees-free study like some ākonga are during their first year, this was gratefully received.
“Studying at NMIT has been really good so far—the academic support is really amazing,” Pepe says.
“There is this wrap around support in the first year with study groups and assignments which has been really helpful as academic writing is quite different to what I’m used to.”
Alongside this, the Māori support available at NMIT has rekindled Pepe’s Māori journey.
“I haven’t really been immersed in Māori culture since I was at school,” Pepe says.
Now however, she is getting involved in any kaupapa she can, including attending the National Māori Student Nurses Conference(external link) held at the Whakatū marae this year.
“I encourage other Māori nurses to get involved because it is helpful to make connections with people who have been where you are and to see where you’re going,” she says.
Pepe was the only Year 1 nurse from NMIT to attend the hui, with Ren Stronach, Kaimanaaki, saying she was a real credit as a representative of NMIT, herself and her whānau.
“Pepe is professional, diligent and has had an amazing start to her studies, making a big impact in Semester 1,” Ren says.
A Bachelor of Nursing(external link) at NMIT Te Pūkenga is completed over three years. Visit our website for more information.