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But Queens High School head girl Amber Hosking says she lives her life in the future.
‘‘There always seems to be a ‘next big thing' - another new goal or project to work towards,'' she says.
‘‘A lot of people say you should live in the moment, but I don't because I'm only 17, and living in the moment is for when you're retired - when there's not much of a future left.''
Being head girl was Amber's biggest goal when she started at Queens High School.
Now she is approaching the end of her time there, her next big goal is to become a human rights lawyer for Amnesty International or the United Nations.
Amber's fellow pupils have benefited from her humanitarian interests.
She has represented them on the student council, anti-bullying council, formal committees, Stage Challenge committees and the Model United Nations Assembly.
Amber says a career in human rights law appeals to her because she has always been interested in protecting the interests of the underdogs in society.
‘‘I've always kept an eye out for the welfare of friends and family. I don't know why - I just can't help it,'' she says.
‘‘When I was younger, I was especially protective of my twin brother, who was born with a hole in his heart. It stemmed from that I think.''
Amber plans to foster her love of German next year by travelling to Germany to become more fluent in the language.
On her return, she hopes to study law and social anthropology at the University of Otago - the stepping stones towards her future career.