I first studied through distance and flexible learning back in 1993; however, it took me six years to get back to the feel and touch of studying again. During that six-year lapse my social life really thrived, but I finally came to my senses in 1999 and enrolled again in distance studies through the USP Centre in Samoa. I think at that point I was desperate to get a degree especially as the 40th year of my life was just around the corner. I guess I finally grew up.
During my first year back at studies, I did struggle financially (and still do) supporting my elderly parents and the rest of my family. The financial burden was reduced when the Samoan government approved the funding of my studies. My family obligations and commitments did not hinder my academic development, it was basically me and my ego.
Although it is difficult to work, support my family and study at the same time, I am thankful for the opportunity to pursue university level education despite all the commitments that I am obligated to.
For me, the convenience of studying without relocating is ideal as I cannot leave home to study on-campus at the Laucala Campus because of my kinship ties ó my ill elderly mother and my being the main income earner, although there are irregular remittances from my brother and sisters overseas.
I am thankful to the University of the South Pacific, my sponsors and my office for understanding and supporting my degree studies through the distance courses. I would have stopped after obtaining my Diploma if I was not given the opportunity to continue through USPís distance and flexible learning. I donít think I would be successful in on-campus studies, as the guilt of leaving my ill elderly mother would haunt me.
My academic development could have been achieved in the earlier years of my life, but maybe it took those years of settling down to get focussed and committed. If it wasnít for USP, I would never have been able to further enhance my intellectual capacities.