Education is our passport to the future

University of Canterbury Pasifika student Olivia Shimasaki is graduating with a Bachelor of Arts this week. We asked her to share her story with us. Congratulations to all of our graduates this week!

Olivia Shimasaki

My time at the University of Canterbury has been an amazing experience where I have been inspired to learn and grow as an individual.

My first involvement with UC was the 2013 UC Explorer programme. Alongside 100 other year 13 students from around New Zealand I had opportunities to attend lectures, stay in the halls, go on activities, and make new friends. I was also introduced to the Pacific Development Team, which has provided me a huge amount of support throughout my undergraduate studies.

I pursued courses which helped me to expand my knowledgebase and allowed me to question the world around me.  An ability to learn things which I am passionate about and being able to meet like-minded people in lectures and clubs were some of my favourite aspects of university.

My education has been crucial for my future professional path. I intend to continue my studies in the Human Services and Anthropology, in hopes that one day I will be able to use the skills which I have acquired to help achieve positive change and recognise human rights in the wider community.

Despite the late nights, stressed days, and extensive nail-biting over results, it was all worth it. Today, I have my degree; I have goals for the future and a supportive network to help me achieve my future aspirations.

To future students, my advice is, make the most of your time here and take opportunities you are given. As Malcolm X said, “education is our passport to the future, for tomorrow belongs to the people who prepare for it today.”

To the tutors, lecturers, and the internship programme who have given me support during my studies, thanks. Specifically, I would like to thank Patrick McAllister, a special lecturer who showed passion and taught me about accepting others, and showed me that with determination and passion, you can achieve your dreams.

I would also like to thank my family, friends, and boyfriend for keeping me sane when assignments got overwhelming, and helping achieve a good study and life balance. To my brother for introducing me to university life, and helping me to recognise the value of time and effort put into work. Most of all, my two biggest supporters, mum and dad – thank you for taking time out of your already busy days for me, giving useful advice, listening, putting up with my moodiness, and reminding me that I am a strong woman who can achieve whatever I set my mind to. Thank you both for your unconditional love and support.

Finally, I would like to give thanks to God, for with Him all things are possible.

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