MANUS lad Paul Poloka is beginning a Master of Science in Psychology this month at the University of East London in the United Kingdom.
On Sept 16, while everyone at home was celebrating the 46th Independence Day anniversary, Paul was receiving a First-Class Science degree in Psychology at the same university.
To get a first-class degree, Paul had to achieve a score of 90 per cent for his research, placing him as the highest overall student in his class.
He was given a British Psychological Society Award for being the top student at the university and one of the top 100 (of 30,000) highest scoring students in the UK.
The award allowed him to become a Graduate Member of the British Psychological Society – the first step towards chartership.
His mother is from Gulf.
He completed his primary school education in Manus at Lombrum and Naringel. He went on to Papitalai for his secondary school education.
Looking back, he attributes his success to the support of his famiy which helped him a lot through higher education level.
He graduated with his first degree – a Bachelor of Science in Geology – at the University of Papua New Guinea.
He received invaluable experience in various roles in the energy and mining sectors, which also took him to Australia and Norway.
He later went to the United Kingdom for studies, pursuing a completely diferent stream – psychology. He graduated in September with a Bachelor in Psychology degree.
Paul was invited by the university to give a vote of thanks on graduation day, to honour his successful scores, to become the top student in his class.
He told the audience what had been a challenging two years he had come through, adapting to the new ways of studying through the pandemic.
He talked about the challenges he faced studying in a foreign land in the middle of a pandemic.
He thanked everyone at the university – catering staff, cleaning staff, library, technicians, academic and administration officials – for their support.
He thanked the University of East London for providing him an opportunity to pursue his goals in an inclusive, diverse and welcoming environment.
“Not only has the UEL been supportive of me, it is also diverse in terms of culture, age and background, and that has made me feel so welcomed and valued in the UEL community.”
Importantly, Paul dedicated his proud and memorable moment to his family, friends and loved ones. He thanked them not only for their emotional and financial support, but also their belief and trust in him.
This month, he is starting the Master of Science in Psychology programme, hoping to complete it before returning home.
“ Not only has the University of East London been supportive of me, it is also diverse in terms of culture, age and background, which made me feel so welcomed and valued in the university community.”
He is again banking on the support of his family and friends in the UK, and the unconditional support of his family and friends back home, to help him through the next challenge in his life.
His strength, resilience and positive attitude have helped him achieve his goals so far. He knows that those important qualities will drive him through again to success again.
- Story and pictures supplied by Michaline Moir-Bussy