He hasn’t even graduated yet, but Liua Tupuola has already scored his ideal job at the Waipa District Council, as a Geographic Information Systems Officer. He credits his success to his hard-working nature and the support he received throughout his degree.
Originally from Napier, Lee was encouraged by his sister Salavalasi to attend the University of Waikato after she completed her Bachelor of Laws in 2013. Influenced by his interest in meeting people and exploring new places, Lee enrolled in a Bachelor of Social Sciences majoring in geography the following year.
Lee stayed in Student Village Halls of Residence during his first year of study. He fell in love with the on-campus lifestyle so decided to stay on as a Residential Assistant (RA) in 2015. As an RA, Lee provided support to 36 first-year students, helping them with their studies and ensuring they had the “best experience of their lives.”
“Being an RA in Student Village was definitely one of the best parts of uni,” says Lee. “It was all about helping and challenging students, and having fun at the same time.”
He also became a Pacific mentor for two years, assisting 20 Pasifika students with their studies and any issues they might face at university.
Lee’s commitment to helping others did not go unnoticed and he was grateful to win the Tertiary Achievement in Pacific Ako Scholarship two years in a row, for his academic achievement and contribution to the community.
“I was really surprised and thankful to receive the scholarship. My biggest challenge has always been self-doubt, but winning the scholarship has increased my confidence on so many levels, particularly with my communication, presenting and people skills.”
As he heads towards his graduation day on 24 April, Lee has just one piece of advice to give to students.
“There is one motto I have lived by throughout my university experience: No matter how you feel, get up, dress up, show up, and never give up.”