Old Boys reflect on their journey to university and beyond

November 10, 2022

With their graduation caps in hand, two former Dilworth students re-visited their old campus before embarking on the next chapter of their life.

It had been years since Dylan Bai and Joji Joseph last stepped foot on Dilworth soil, but as they prepared to walk across the stage to receive their degrees from the University of Auckland they returned to reflect on their time at the school. 

Dylan Bai was Dilworth’s Deputy Head Boy in 2016 and after five years’ of studying he earned a Bachelor’s in Engineering and Finance. After completing his degree in July 2022, he accepted a strategist role at EverEdge Global where took the opportunity to work in their Sydney office.

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Dylan Bai, Former Dilworth's Deputy Head Boy and recent Finance and Engineering graduate from Auckland University.

“I was offered the exact same role in New Zealand, but I just couldn’t say no to moving to Australia. After studying for so long I felt I needed to be pushed out of my comfort zone and meet new people,” said Dylan.

Moving to a new city is a difficult transition for anyone. However, Dylan said his time at Dilworth and the University of Auckland cultivated the confidence and skills needed to set up a new life for himself.  

As a recipient of the Staples Education Tertiary Scholarship, Dylan and Joji were awarded $5,000 per year for the first three years of tertiary study as well as holistic support to help them transition from Year 13 into university life.

“The thing I found most useful about the Staples Foundation Scholarship was the networking events. I got comfortable talking to people in the employment world as it exposed me to people from all walks of life. I think that exposure really helped me land my job and settle in Australia,” said Dylan.  

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Joji Joseph and Dylan Bai with Haydn Staples, Founder and Trustee of the Staples Foundation. 

In addition to networking, the Staples Foundation matches students with mentors and a dedicated buddy, provides ongoing training through the Support and Development Programme, and offers two weeks’ work experience per year in the profession or industry of their choice.

If Joji Joseph had to choose the most valuable part of the Staples Scholarship, he would pick the buddy system. He says his buddy was instrumental in helping him adapt to life at university.

“As a Staples scholar, you’re assigned a buddy in your first year to help you get a hang of university ropes. I found it special because I knew my buddy at Dilworth before I went to university. This meant when we were paired together, we quickly developed a brotherhood friendship and always had a supporter on my side in that first year studying.”

Joji completed a Bachelor’s in Science with a double major in Mathematics and Computer Science. He finished his degree in two and a half years, which he says was helped by completing a university paper in Year 13.

It was during his time at Dilworth he developed an interest in computers and cybersecurity, which influenced his studies and graduate job.

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Joji Joseph, Dilworth Old Boy and recent Bachelor of Science graduate from Auckland University.

“I’ve always been interested in computers. In every movie and TV show about computers they always talk about hacking, and this interest in cybersecurity just continued to grow overtime,” said Joji.

“I didn’t do any programming at Dilworth and only started when I was at university. While I didn’t have those technical skills at first, I had a good understanding of industry trends which I got from my teachers at Dilworth.”

His hard work has paid off as he recently accepted a graduate role in cybersecurity with the New Zealand Defence Force.

“I was really interested in joining the Defence Force because they offer comprehensive training and personal development. The Big 4 consulting firms offer cybersecurity roles, but I thought it would be interesting to apply my skills in cybersecurity in a defence setting,” said Joji.

Another thing Joji and Dylan share is their appreciation for their high school teachers who invested heavily in their growth and learning.

As Dylan explained: “Because Dilworth is a smaller school, you get to have more one-on-one time with your teachers. The teachers at Dilworth really believe in you and encourage you to work hard and achieve your goals.”

“Dilworth’s teachers are extremely talented and helpful. I always found they were a resource I could use to learn more and better myself,” said Joji.

As for the Dilworth students who are starting to think about their life after high school, Dylan says it’s important for them to figure out who they are and what they like.  

“I would say it’s not a bad thing to take a gap year between university and high school. In my case, after studying engineering for a year I realised it wasn’t the industry I wanted to work in. You shouldn’t feel rushed or pressured to study anything,” he said.

Joji agrees with Dylan and encourages high school students to focus on being themselves.

“Even if it takes some time, don’t be afraid to go at your own pace and figure out what you enjoy the most.”