Lovely Luafitu has overcome “many challenges” on her way to graduating with a Bachelor of Commerce.
Lovely's academic journey began with working towards a Foundation Studies Certificate in Business at the University of Otago in 2018.
However, her plans changed when she decided to take a gap year in Auckland to spend some time orientating herself.
“My gap year was a special time of reflection for me, though I found myself wanting to continue my tertiary studies and so I resumed my business studies at the Auckland University of Technology,” Lovely says.
“Whilst there, I enjoyed the environment and made a few close friends, but I felt a pull to return back home and was constantly thinking of transferring back to the University of Otago.”
When the first lockdown began, Lovely did just that and moved back to Dunedin, transferring to the University of Otago where she enjoyed the comfort of home and could best apply herself.
It was not all smooth sailing though, as the busyness of full-time study, supporting her family, part-time work and raising two young children took its toll.
“My personal academic journey has been crazy,” Lovely says.
“I worked part-time to provide for my two young kids, helped my parents from time to time, had church obligations that I tended to, and then classes throughout the week.
“Though I did my best to stay on top of it all, kids are notoriously unpredictable and I wasn't always prepared for those moments.
“Some days were a struggle and I experienced many challenges but, in the short few moments, when I see my kids' eyes before I head off to work or classes that remind me why I do it all.”
She hopes that her academic journey will empower her family to have a secure future and is “beyond grateful and honoured” to have been able to complete her degree.
She is graduating tomorrow with a major in Management, a choice inspired by her aunt's suggestion. Originally, she thought Management was simply a means to a good career, but on the way fell in love with the topic and realised that there was a lot more to it than just “earning a living”.
“I became aware of how I could utilise my knowledge and skills to bring about new solutions for issues that have a direct impact on our society today, like ecological concerns, economic and social issues like poverty, healthcare inequality, and more.”
“Looking forward for me now, I hope to contribute to these issues, using the new skills I have learnt to make a difference in the world and give voice to the important things that people need to be aware of.”
- Kōrero by Kelsey Shutte