Alesi Pei Bolatuku, 25, credits her family as the driving force behind her graduation from The University of the South Pacific with a Postgraduate Diploma in Commerce (Tourism & Management).
Alesi was one of the hundreds of students who obtained their certificates recently. All 2021 graduation ceremonies in Laucala were cancelled due to COVID-19 restrictions. Qualifications were conferred by Deed, after which graduates were given their certificates.
“I felt overjoyed with a sense of accomplishment with my achievement being the first person to graduate with a postgraduate in my family,” she said.
“It has been a challenging journey in achieving this milestone in my academic journey, and I thank God for his provision in my life and the support of my parents and friends.”
Some of the highlights for her as a student was having the opportunity to meet and mingle with students from different cultures and backgrounds from across the region and having the liberty to express her thoughts about issues that she is passionate about. USP was an excellent learning environment for Alesi, with approachable lecturers giving her the confidence to step out of her comfort zone.
“Learning at USP has given me the experience of quality education and accepting diversity as the key to learning which USP provides for students,” she said.
And despite the challenges as a result of the pandemic, she is confident that the tourism industry will improve, allowing her to find employment.
“With the impact of the pandemic, it was tough to find work in the tourism and hospitality industry. However, it did not stop me from continuing my studies and search for employment. Therefore, I thank God for being with me throughout those challenges and the support from my parents and friends,” Alesi added.
Alesi plans to pursue further studies at USP with a personal goal to achieve her Master’s before she turns 28.
Her advice to colleagues who may be struggling with their studies or returning to pursue tertiary education is to “put God first as your main priority, and everything will fall into place”.
“It may sound cliché but try God. He will meet your needs and wants. Never give up and always have a positive attitude toward things. Use your downfalls as your opportunity for growth and always remember your family no matter what.” Alesi added.