By ROSELYN ELLISON
GLEN Burua, 23, from Matupit Island, Rabaul, East New Britain, has decided to use his struggles from high school and the lessons he’s learnt along the way to motivate other students in similar situations.
Burua’s mother, from Matupit Island, works at the ENB administration while his father is a sheriff with the Kokopo National Court.
Burua started his primary education at Sikut-Matupit Resettlement Primary School (2004-2011) where he completed grade eight and the following year, he continued on to do grade nine at Warangoi Secondary School attaining a grade 10 certificate in 2013. He then continued on to grade 11 in 2014 at Kerevat National High school.
Burua said he preferred to attend Kokopo Secondary School but was instead placed at Kerevat.
“I wanted to go to Kokopo Secondary and asked my parents to transfer me from Kerevat to Kokopo but there were no spaces available and that’s when the difficulty started,” he said.
“I started dropping in my classes because the more I was not doing well, I started blaming my parents for the lack of success I was having.”
Burua said it got to the point where his marks were so poor, he was struggling to stay focused on his studies and did not have any interest in school activities.
His bitterness and disappointment drove him to contemplate taking drastic action as a way to release his frustrations, but after talking to some friends, he decided that he would do the right thing.
Burua knew his marks were low, his internal GPA was 1.6 at the time and he knew he would miss out on doing the course he wanted at college but made a decision to accept his fate and rebuild his life.
Burua credited his faith in God and trusted that whatever path was meant for him would be revealed in due course.
Although his dream of entering the University of PNG and undertaking science foundation had been dashed, he went on to study journalism at Divine Word University in Madang in 2016.
Burua was one of the top students in his class but he still had a desire to advise and guide younger students in their choices in lives in school.
He started with students in primary schools and then travelled throughout the New Guinea Islands speaking to the students and motivating them.
One of the main reasons Burua had to put his time and effort into this endeavour was that behind every low grade, there was a story, behind every failure, there was a broken home, there was a single parent and there was death or loss in the family, there was abuse, there was a broken relationship.
He said everyone had different circumstances but were only judged by the outcome or results.
Burua said he knew from experience that nothing was straight forward and students needed all the help they could get to navigate challenges and stay on the right path.
He then decided to commit himself to this calling and, despite being in his third-year of his degree, he made a choice between completing his degree and going back home.
Burua decided to return to his home province to help students there. He said he had a desire and drive to write and spread his message.
To fulfil his goal of helping others, Burua recently published his first self-help book titled Turn adversity into advantage.
Through this book, Burua said he could reach a wider audience and students, from primary school to high school, who were struggling could read it and get an idea on how to steer themselves in the right direction to achieve their goals.
The sacrifices and challenges of publishing a book have taught Burua a lot about himself and what was important to him.
Things were not easy.
He was criticised for not graduating with his degree and did not received much support to publish his book or to visit schools, but those difficulties have made him smarter and wiser about what it takes to achieve goals despite the odds.
“Despite all these criticisms, failures and struggles, I tried to make sure that one day, maybe someone will have a degree because he or she heard me or read my writings in the newspaper or the book,” he said.
Burua launched his book in Kokopo recently.
He said one of his biggest heroes was Sir Paulias Matane, whose example inspired him not only to rise out of adversity but to travel the world.
Burua has travelled around the world and visited some of the biggest countries in the world.
He travelled to the United States as a film maker where he met with film directors. Burua travelled to Australia, Singapore and China representing Papua New Guinea and learning about tourism promotion. The quote that Burua rings true for him is “one may not go back and make a brand new beginning but one can start now and make a brand new ending”.
By ROSELYN ELLISON