“It could be the nurturing nature of women that draws them to the profession of education.”
Mandela best encapsulates the power of education “as the most influential tool one can have to change the world.”
Inspired by the educators in her family, Ms Seul Gee Samuelu, the Student Administrative Services (SAS) Coordinator at The University of the South Pacific (USP) Samoa Campus, ventured into a career that would enable her to help people in any capacity she can.
“It kind of runs in my blood, so it is either to teach or to administer or for whatever reason, I seem to be drawn to where education is. I enjoy empowering young people to be better versions of themselves.”
As a Coordinator for SAS, she takes pride in executing administrative work, assisting students from the very beginning of their enrolment into their respective chosen fields of studies and ensuring they cross the finish line to graduate.
After completing her undergraduate study in New Zealand, she pursued a Postgraduate study with USP, balancing work and her academic aspirations.
“As a student, it has always been USP’s flexibility to accommodate working students that got me through. Facilitators had the understanding and empathy that it is not as easy as it seems to study, work and be responsible for other human beings.”
Determined to succeed, Ms Samuelu noted earlier that, “a failure is never an option.”
“There will be times when we do fail but what is important is being able to collect ourselves when we are down and then getting up. The first step is always hard when we fall but hope helps to keep moving forward. That is the key.”
“It is always important that we lead by example for our children. We cannot expect them to succeed when we encounter difficulties and we surrender.”
The inspiring Samoan woman added that for women, “education is the most exciting aspect of progression and growth. It is a significant tool for women empowerment and human resource development.”
“In Samoa, our parents continually remind us that no one fights with their fists anymore (physical fighting), nowadays, they fight with their pencils. The sharper the pencil, the brighter the mind, and the better off the person.”
“Women should continue to fight with their pencils through education, sharpen them and be better at whatever they choose to do. Continue to break glass ceilings. Recently, for the first time, the National University of Samoa appointed a female as its Vice Chancellor, so there are so many exciting moments where Pacific women everywhere are making that difference.”
Ms Samuelu added that the “training she attained from USP has strengthened her view on gender equality. I have always strongly felt that way about women and that we should always empower each other in everything we do.”
She was raised by very strong women who taught her to learn and grow from the struggles they faced during their early years.
“They wanted to ensure that we always have God at the forefront of whatever we did. They wanted to ensure we worked hard for what we achieved. They wanted to ensure that we could do what our brothers do and perhaps even better and whatever accomplishments that we acquired – that the Glory was never of our own but that of the Lord who provides.”
Ms Samuelu said that over the years she noticed that most young people in Samoa left school for a meagre-waged job as they were not provided with better opportunities.
“From the rural village I am from, many young girls leave school due to teenage pregnancy or lack of financial support for education or their families find them measly jobs, so they leave school – they don’t care what the pay is – so long as they bring in some form of income.”
She developed a passion to advocate for the underprivileged on the importance of continuing education.
“I discourage my extended family members who want their children to leave school for work and try and find opportunities for them where available.”
Ms Samuelu continues to encourage young people to find their passion and to make something great of it. “Why settle for a life less than the one you were meant for?”
“Always try to overcome barriers that are set to prevent advancement. Failure is inevitable, learn from these failures! Focus on what matters to you and not others. Always celebrate small successes no matter what form. Do things purposefully.”