Taster Day leaves an appetite for learning.

Taster Day leaves an appetite for learning.

After seventeen years in the food industry Tayshana (TJ) Mayer decided to take her creative streak in a totally different direction.
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Tayshana (TJ) Mayer, says she is learning so much more on the Diploma in Interior Design than she thought she would.

“I grew up in the far North, where there weren’t a lot of opportunities, so I was just cooking, cooking, cooking—paying the bills and raising my two children,” she says. “I loved making beautiful food, but I always wanted to do something arty.”

TJ took a job at Café Ake Ake in the Nelson Campus Student Centre so she could get a feel for life at Te Pūkenga NMIT. Her next step was to sign up for the Interior Design Taster Day session, although that nearly didn’t happen.

“I liked being around the students and I thought ‘maybe I can do this?’— but I almost didn’t because my nerves got to me. However, I knew if I didn’t do it now, I never would.”

TJ remembers how she felt when the Taster Day session started, and the tutor walked them over from the administration building to the Creative Industries G-block.

Although she had been working on campus, she’d never been inside G-Block, and was impressed by its beauty.

“Then we went upstairs, and I thought ‘I really want to be here’.”

“I remember sitting in the class with the tutor and thinking it was really cool to be in a space with all these creative people— the Taster Day made me hungry for more.”

After the Taster Day session TJ kept thinking about enrolling for the one-year Diploma in Interior Design.

“I hadn’t studied since I was 17 and the enrolment deadline was getting closer and closer. A week before I was watching all the students coming back on campus after the summer break and I thought ‘I have to be part of it’.”

Six weeks into the programme TJ says she made the right choice.

“I love being here. It is so much more than I thought it would be, and it’s cool being surrounded by other people who like the same stuff.”

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