The University of the South Pacific (USP) has been an integral part of Ms Marica Togayali’s life, both in her academic journey and sporting achievements.
The 39-year-old, a second-year Information Systems student, is passionate about completing her studies and is committed to representing her country in the sport that she loves Volleyball.
Earlier last month, all USP member countries participated in the Pacific Games held in Honiara, Solomon Islands, and Togayali was among the few USP students who had to juggle their studies and training.
“I started my studies a while ago while pursuing my other passion, such as my sporting career. I have represented Fiji before, and this time, I needed to focus on finishing my studies. I’m doing this for me,” Togayali said.
Being able to pursue studies in Mathematics and Information Systems is a challenging task for any one person. Still, Ms Togayali said she was able to balance her studies and extracurricular activities thanks to the support from her family and loved ones.
Returning to begin her bachelor’s degree after several years was an adjustment. It was a decision she made for herself that allowed her to continue to enjoy her academic journey at USP.
“The support from my lecturers and tutors at USP helped me hit the ground running when I started my journey to get my degree. It was a great encouragement, making it easier for me to ask my questions.”
The lone Kulawai member from 2009 with years of experience in the sport was worried about making it to her final Pacific Games to represent Fiji in Volleyball, with final exams looming around the same time.
Leading up to her final examination, she built the courage to have the necessary conversations with her lecturer that allowed her to take her exams in Fiji and complete them in the Solomon Islands after the Pacific Games had started.
“My only option was to give up my spot in the team to stay back in Fiji to sit my final exam. Thanks to USP, I could sit one paper in Fiji and the remaining papers at the USP Solomon Island Campus,” she added.
Ms Togayali said, “This was a dream come true; if it wasn’t for my lecturers, tutors, and the Head of School, I would not have been able to pursue sports at the national level and continue my education. I am so happy; it was a dream send-off for me at this year’s Pacific Games, thanks to USP.”
Ms Togayali is encouraging young athletes to continue to pursue their passion for their respective sports while completing their studies.
“My advice is to give your best and your all to everything you put your mind to. For students in a particular sport and athletes studying, USP allows us to pursue both, which greatly boosts our discipline and commitment to studies and sporting careers,” she added.
Ms Togayali is working towards completing her final year of studies in 2024.
Meanwhile, applications for Semester 1, 2024 are now open.