While most first year university students enjoy the follies of student life during their mid-semester break, Vincent Schumacher was packing up his new-found Scarfie life to head home to Wellington after being diagnosed with testicular cancer.
At the time it was a huge shock as Vincent considered himself to be a pretty healthy kid who wanted to enjoy the many things Dunedin had to offer.
Thanks to the gusto of his supportive mother who works in the health sector, he was able to have surgery relatively quickly, but it was the “few blasts of chemotherapy” that was the “toughest bit” for the 18-year-old.
“I am a pretty optimistic person so getting through it and being okay was always going to be the result for me, but the support [of friends and family around the country] was very beneficial to that.”
Six years later, the Wellington-based 25-year-old Simpson Grierson solicitor says his health problems “certainly served as a wake-up call”.
“I had not done very well in my first semester and was drifting a bit, but when I came back to Dunedin the next year, even though not 100% physically, I was pretty determined to do it properly.
“I enrolled in law again, worked a lot harder and got through. My marks also improved. Now I appreciate life more and try and enjoy it as much as possible!”
But law was not his first choice, he says. Wellington born and bred, Vincent was educated at the “fine establishment” that is Saint Patrick’s College in Kilbirnie where he originally wished to be a doctor or pursue his love of cricket overseas.
Despite attempting to master the sciences, his results “didn’t pan out” with the exception of his English results, so, thinking law was “English-rich” he decided to head down South.
Like a lot of law students, Vincent says, he was first interested in pursuing a career in criminal law.
He recalls completing a particularly interesting forensic law paper at Otago University, which was taught in-part by the late Greg King and forensic scientist Arie Geursen.
“The paper involved going to a gun range to do some shooting, hitting a bag of cows blood to look at blood spatters and looking/listening to a lot of interesting evidence from a range of cases, including the David Bain and Mark Lundy cases.”
Now Vincent works in the litigation team at Simpson Grierson and “thoroughly enjoys it”.
“We do a lot of interesting work for a range of clients and it is a great team to be a part of.”
Outside of law, if it isn’t a good book, movie, playing with his mum’s new puppy or exploring Wellington, Vincent’s enjoyment for life extends to anything sport related – cricket, in particular!