Alofa Soolefai

Talofa lava, my name is Alofa So’olefai and I hail from the villages of Faleālili, Faleasi’u and Safune, Savai’i.

Alofa Soolefai

I am in my final semester of a BA/Bcom conjoint majoring in Mathematics, Finance, Economics and Ancient History with a Diploma of Languages in Ancient Greek and Latin.

I chose to study at UoA because the flexible degree structure allowed me to do the two subjects that I love even though they aren’t correlated at all. My journey with Mathematics has been eye opening, because it forces you to think outside the box and solve equations in ways you’ve never heard of. It was also a blessing in disguise because Economics and Finance are very math heavy so it made my Commerce degree easier.

The hardest thing I found coming to University was finding my crowd of people again. High school was easy because everyone has the same classes, but at University that’s not the case. However, UoA offers many opportunities for people to connect such as social events and clubs. To name a few of the groups I have been a part of, University of Auckland Samoan Students’ Association (UASSA), Commerce o’ Pasifika (CoP), Tuākana Arts, Tuākana Commerce, Tuākana Maths and Auckland University Students Association (AUSA). 

Through these groups, I managed to find people I can talk to about studies and about life. In fact, I met my best friends in these communities!

I am also a Tuākana Maths tutor because I love sharing my passion for maths with other students who are just starting out on their journey. Mathematics is a hard subject and it’s not everyone’s cup of tea, especially when it comes to abstract concepts that don’t relate to everyday mahi, but in the end it is very rewarding. Having gone through the Tuākana programme, I have been able to see the pathways for us Pasifika that we don’t often see our people in and it’s encouraged me to take maths to a higher level, and chose a quantitative pathway in my BCom.

After University I hope to continue my studies into the postgraduate level hopefully getting atleast my Masters in Economics. The ultimate goal is to work in the financial analyses corporate sector focusing on quantitative analysis before eventually coming back to teach at the tertiary level.

University is very difficult especially if you were spoon-fed at high school like I was. You have to be independent, which contradicts the collectivistic nature of us Pasifika. There are many communities out there that are happy connect with new people but the key is building up the confidence to seek them out. Be confident in yourself, and keep your eyes locked on the prize (i.e. graduation) and don’t let distractions knock you off course. You’re only here for a short period of time, so make the most of it and have fun, because at the end of the day, you are the one who has to live with the decisions that you make.