The wobbly line to success

June 2017


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Woolf Fisher First-in-Family AUT Scholarship recipient LARYIA LOMITUSI shares a moving account of her journey from her childhood in Samoa to a university education in New Zealand.

wobbly lineTalofa lava, malo le soifua ma le lagimama; my name is Laryia Lynn Faiaia Lomitusi, and I am of Samoan descent. I am a former student of Tangaroa College, and I’m currently studying health science majoring in nursing at Auckland University of Technology over on the North Shore.

My brother and I were adopted to our aunty and uncle since the beginning of high school; but our biological parents are currently back in the islands of Samoa. Getting adopted and moving to New Zealand was a very hard decision to make, but it was done with the clear intention of finding a better future for my family, which explains why I am on this journey.

I never imagined that walking to the plane was going to be such a hard and long walk on that day; the day I had to leave and say goodbye to my parents. That day was the beginning of this journey. As a family of only four, the idea of separation was heartbreaking. However, as the eldest I was always to lead by example, to be strong and brave, not only for my little brother, but for the hopeful tears and smiles of my parents; and so I had a big teary smile plastered on my face and waved while holding back an inner wave of countless emotions.

On that day, a lot depended on us, but it was especially on me, because I had a lot of responsibilities placed on my shoulders. Yes, of course often I’ve wanted to just give up and go home, because I miss my parents. Not to mention, I often feel guilty that there is no one to take care of them. In my culture the children must care for their parents as they get older. Sometimes I feel useless that I’ve somehow abandoned them. But every day I remind myself the reason why I am here, why I am on this journey to success.

School was often really stressful because of the workload as well as meeting deadlines, but I can honestly say that I was surrounded by teachers, friends and family who supported and understood who I am and why I’m always doing work during lunch times and going home late.

From years 10 to 13 I received awards across many different subjects, including the top student for the Health Science Academy in years 11, 12 and 13. I was also given the opportunity of a scholarship to travel down to Dunedin for the Hands-on Science programme in year 12. All these awards never came easy. They were all achieved through countless all-nighters, tears and many lunch times spent finishing off assessments.

Therefore, receiving the First-in-Family Scholarship is an honour. This scholarship contributes to my journey to reaching success and I am absolutely grateful. My family were completely happy and proud of me. With the scholarship my family will not have to worry and stress about how I will be paying back a student loan. My parents in Samoa were over the moon when they heard about my scholarship and they were so proud of my accomplishments which made me so happy. And I am so thankful to those who have helped and supported me all the way.

Furthermore, I’ve also set the bar for my younger siblings and this will serve as a source of motivation for them to strive hard in school. Not only that, but I hope to be a source of inspiration for young Pacific islanders.

In year 11 my English teacher showed us two different pictures of what success looks like; one picture was a straight arrow to success, whereas the other picture was a wobbly not-so-straight arrow to success. He then asked us which picture represents true success. I chose the picture with the straight line because I had believed that a straight line represented a clear focus and determination to succeed; however, my teacher went on to explain that it was actually the picture with the wobbly line to success. He taught me that line represented the fact that the path to success is never easy and often we will lose our way and stray from that path. Not only that, but that wobbly line portrays the struggle and hardship that we will face as we journey towards accomplishing success; and sometimes the journey towards success is what really matters.

To this day those images have stayed with me because the journey challenges us and moulds us into the individuals that we are. I am who I am today because I am defined by the struggle and hardship I have endured and continue to, as well as the accomplishments I have achieved.

On that day...
The wind made love to
Clear dark sky
It tore and ripped at
The lines engraved into
My waving palm as
Rain gushed from a
One piece broken heart
That flow of
liquid trickle through
Rose petals of
Brown orbs
As the lungs
Grasp for air that
Will soon not
Be there
On that day
An oath was carved
So far deep
Into the lining of
Every corner of every cell
“Never forget!”

Never forget the fundamental
Essence of ‘why’
That very ‘why’ cradled
Like a sneak quick flow
Of slow moving rain drops
Finding its way down
My cheeks,
A faint clap of thunder
Again my eyes fill with
Clouded skies
As reality claiming
The sun to be its one
Perhaps rain will
Come again
And if so
I am the image of
Moulded to be
The core of
Strength, resilience, courage,
My why
My parents

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