Growing up in a humble home in Vanuatu, Jullie Tavlili dreamt of becoming a manager the day she started her high school journey, which later materialised with her action to pursue a Bachelor of Commerce with a double major in Economics & Management and Public Administration.
Tavlili was among the 291 students that graduated from The University of the South Pacific (USP) Emalus Campus in Vanuatu earlier this month (May 5, 2023) with her bachelor’s degree.
She said that the thought of becoming a manager motivated her throughout high school with the hope of getting a decent salary to support her family.
In an emotional response, the Ni-Vanuatu lass dedicated her achievement to her oldest biological sister for her financial support throughout her study, “most importantly, my adopted family, my mum and late brother Rex for their endless support and for always being in my corner.”
“My mum, Annie Kaising, is a single woman, and she had one son. She heard about a little girl abandoned by her parents, and she knew that this was her chance to become a mother for the second time, so she decided to adopt the child. She adopted me when I was three months old.”
Tavlili shared that as she grew older, her mother struggled financially to put her through school, and her brother, Rex, worked as a gardener.
“July 6th, 2016, was the saddest moment for my mother as she dealt with the passing of my brother and her only son. He was the only one who helped her to make a living and pay for my fees.”
Determined not to let the struggles of her mother and late brother go to waste, Tavlili never gave in to criticism from those who called for her to withdraw from school.
“I want to thank families and friends who supported me in one way or another, and above all, I want to return the praise and acknowledge the Almighty God; if it weren’t for God, I wouldn’t be here today.”
Tavlili, like many other students, faced certain challenges during her study, including “not having enough computers for students, internet issues such as intermittent connection, and lack of face-to-face class for economics courses in which we had to pay private tutor for extra class.”
Throughout the entirety of pursuing her studies, Tavlili never lost sight of her dream of becoming a manager and “as I was nearing the completion of my study here at our Emalus Campus, it became clear to me that my dream wasn’t just to become a manager but to help in the development of my community and my country.”
Recalling her years at USP, she acknowledged the regional institution for developing the Pacific and being a melting pot of multiculturalism, allowing its students to foster life-long friendships.
“My favourite things about student life are getting to know each other through group work and discussions and, most importantly, learning new positive things about striving hard for success.”
“For most of us that studied at the Emalus Campus, we can all agree that the significant banyan tree on campus has seen the birth of various friendship groups and has seen so many students through their best and worst. I believe the same can be said for the UU100 lab, library, 24-hour lab and the open space close to the UU100 lab.”
Tavlili is also encouraging “others thinking of studying in the same field as mine to continue to study hard and make a difference wherever you go. It is important not to be easily tempted by your peers and make friends with those who motivate you to work towards your dream.”
She added that it is equally important for current and prospective students not to compare themselves with others as it is the thief of joy.