Inspired by her cousin, who completed Foundation study at The University of the South Pacific (USP), 19-year-old Charlize-Joy Smith decided to do the same last year as she felt it was the right fit for her.
Smith, who hails from Savusavu on Fiji’s second largest island of Vanua Levu, followed her instincts to join the USP Foundation programme in 2023 instead of completing Year 13.
“When I joined USP last year, everything was new to me. It took me a while to adapt, but once I got the hang of university life, I quickly found my rhythm and realised that things are done much more efficiently here compared to high school.”
The 19-year-old who initially majored in economics during high school never imagined she’d gravitate toward science later. It wasn’t until she started her driving lessons that she developed an interest in engineering.
“My driving instructor, who also happens to be my neighbour and is one of the facilitators for civil engineering at USP’s School of Information Technology, Engineering, Mathematics and Physics (STEMP), shared what he does at USP and that pushed me towards engineering.”
Smith shared that during her studies at USP, she realised that the learning environment at the tertiary level “forces you to be independent, whether you like it or not.
It’s one of the hardest things I encountered, but then I slowly learned that there are people in school whose job is to help you. You ask them questions, and they’ll answer it, and it’s best not to be shy to ask questions.”
“Studying at USP encourages learning without constantly overloading you with the need to take insurmountable notes. It also allows us to ask questions; the tutor, lecturers, or even teaching assistants would gladly answer them until we understand.”
Her determination to excel was reflected in her joining a group of her foundation friends to represent Fiji at the world’s robotics competition in Singapore late last year.
Known as the First Global Challenge, the robotics competition encourages STEMP activities, allowing young science enthusiasts to build a robot from scratch to perform tasks and compete with other students worldwide.
“I am truly grateful that I represented my country as Team Fiji to the First Global Challenge through USP. I would encourage more young girls who dream of working in this field to pursue it.”
With only one more unit left until she finishes Foundation, Smith hopes to pursue her undergraduate studies in engineering and advises new students to “manage your time wisely and if you don’t understand anything, ask.”
Meanwhile, USP wishes to encourage new, continuing and resuming students to register for their courses, as Semester 1, 2024 registration is now open.
Students who have received their offer letter must log onto their Student Online Services (SOLS) and register for their courses as soon as possible to access their timetable.
Those struggling to register for their courses can also visit the USP Student Administrative Services (SAS) at our Enrolment Hub located at the Performance Space between the Australia- Pacific Lecture Theatres at the Laucala Campus, Fiji.
USP will also have another roadshow today and tomorrow in Nausori and Nadi and at the Lautoka Campus on Viti Levu, Fiji, with the last venue being the Labasa Campus on Fiji’s second largest island of Vanua Levu. Our staff will be there to make our services accessible to you, whether you’re applying as a new student, seeking academic advice, or wishing to resume your studies after a lapse of six semesters, qualifications upgrade, and more.
With more students still sorting their application documents, the university has extended the application due date for new students to February 9, 2024; the deadline for resuming students’ applications has moved to February 16, 2024, and late applications will be accepted only until February 21, 2024.