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Study took me out of my comfort zone but I liked it.

December 14, 2020

Bachelor of Business student Vakaola Tupouniua (Ola as known on the right) with fellow business student Kayla Jordan

Malo e lelei. 

My name is Vakaola Tupouniua (known as Ola). I’m in my third year of the Bachelor in Business Studies programme at EIT, majoring in Management.

I am a Tongan national. Gisborne has been my home for about 12 years. I am a mother of 5, a student, and a part-time Revenue Officer at the Gisborne District Council.

I started my academic journey at EIT in 2011 with the New Zealand Certificate in Business Administration & Computing programme. Then I moved on to the New Zealand Diploma in Information, Communication & Technology (Dip ICT) Level 5. I have a passion for learning, and I love studying, so I carried on.

In 2018 I decided to enrol on the New Zealand Diploma in Business so I could get a better job and provide a better life for my family. After successfully achieving this I decided to continue with the Bachelor of Business Studies. Towards the end of my second year, I started working part-time as a Revenue Officer at the Gisborne District Council and studied at the same time. Now I am in the final term of my Bachelor in Business Studies and am so excited to see the light at the end of the tunnel.

I decided to do the Bachelor of Business Studies because it was something I have always had an interest in. I had previous work experience in administration which helped me decide to study business. Even though I already had a Diploma in ICT I realised my interest was not in computing, but in business which is why I decided to pursue this course of study.

Coming to EIT as a student took me out of my comfort zone. I had never worked collaboratively with other students before. I worked in teams with Pākehā, Māori, Indians and people from different areas of life. There were students fresh out of high school, mums, businesswomen, and Councilors. I would not have been exposed to these people otherwise.

Juggling home life, as a mother of 5, was not easy. In fact sometimes it was very hard to juggle between home, study and work. However, I have great people around me who supported me in my academic journey; especially my husband, Frank. He helped around the house and also with our children while I strived to get a degree, and thereby a better job and life for our family.

Enrolling in this programme made me realise, I have possessed management, analytical and budgeting skills. This programme helped me explore myself and my capabilities.

The support services at EIT were very helpful in my academic journey, especially the library. The Librarians were fantastic, attentive and very helpful.

The Learning Advisors were also available on-site in the library which made it easier for me to go in and ask for advice on my assessments.

I am hopeful to gain full-time employment from next year onwards.I am also considering taking on a Te Reo Māori course next year because I believe it will be essential for me in my workplace. After that I will take a break for a couple of months and carry on with a Postgraduate Degree and my Masters.

I can definitely recommend EIT to others who wish to study. The small class size gives students more time with the tutor to help them succeed in their academic journey. This is something that is hard to find in Universities.