Helping people makes me happy

Tohoa Tetini (Mahmah Timoteo) graduated this week with a Bachelor of Arts, double majoring in Anthropology and Sociology. Before deciding on her degree she needed to answer an important question.

TohoaAttempting to come up with something to write in these pieces can prove extremely challenging. It is like trying to create a quote for your end of year graduation yearbook. You don’t want it to be cliché and mainstream but you also don’t want it to be something your mother will disapprove of. In an effort to find the middle ground, I would first like to pose a question, and a pretty loaded one at that. What makes you happy? It was this exact question that I was forced to confront as a Year 13 student whilst sitting in the English room. I had everything planned out. I was going to complete a Commerce degree at the University of Canterbury, earn more money than I knew what to do with and eventually, build an empire. However, as I sat in that English room and contemplated my future, I realised that the only thing that really fueled that goal was the pursuit of money. As I began to explore this revelation more in-depth, that same question kept re-occurring. What makes you happy?

And just like the final scenes of ‘The Prestige’ (this is a magnificent film which I encourage you to watch), everything became clear. People make me happy, or more importantly, helping people makes me happy. Money and material goods can only bring a person so much joy. Whilst I planned to build my empire around wealth and consumption, families were losing their homes, children were dying of hunger and the environment was in the process of rapid degradation. Once I realized this, my intentions changed. It dawned upon me that my future was to be focused around human rights and the prosperity of those who have yet to have their voices heard. So here I am, graduating with a double major in Sociology and Anthropology, in hopes that the skills and opportunities that I have taken will guide me on a path to better understand the world around us and in turn, finding solutions or alternatives to the critical issues we face today.

At the end of the day, in order to be successful at university, you must first open your mind to the idea of happiness. Contrary to popular belief, studying at university can actually be incredibly exciting and rewarding. But first, you have to discover yourself. I would like to thank my family for all their love and support over the last few years. I would especially like to thank Mother Bear for all her kind words and cuddles. I love you.

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