Republic of Fiji Military Forces (RFMF) Sergeant Ben Taoi who graduated with a Bachelor of Arts Degree majoring in Politics and Journalism from the University of the South Pacific on Thursday is relishing the achievement and thanks his mother for the financial support.
Taoi gave up his education 11 years back to support his wife Stella Taoi and joined the military as a media correspondent after pursuing a certificate IV in Media and Journalism from the Fiji National University.
The 31-year-old was selected as the protection officer for former President, His Excellency Jioji Konrote in 2017 where he witnessed the first-ever USP Graduation which inspired him to resume with studies.
“I credit it to my mum Filo Taoi because she is my pillar of strength and her endless support. She told me that I should give it another try and because of her, I have achieved what I left years ago. She was my biggest financial support towards education.”
“My wife got pregnant while we were in University so I joined the military to help our family. It was a tough decision but a good one as well. After joining the military, I went through different pieces of training and programs where I came across public relations which caught my attention.”
“The degree I have attained today is a big boost in my line of work. Once I witnessed the USP graduation and after seeing the student wearing the graduation gown, that moment captured my attention and the following year I enrolled in USP and began my studies again.”
The father of two said through time management and sacrifices, he was determined to attain a Bachelor’s Degree.
“I started two years back and it was tough at first going to work and then studying. Later my wife got pregnant so I had to take care of her as well and then my son Nigel started schooling. A lot of challenges came but I was content in doing my best as a father, husband and student.”
“Sometimes I was in a Military camp and I had to stay up late at night to complete my tutorial and assignment. It was a bit tough but it taught me some valuable lessons as well. My wife helped me in my studies like she took care of the kids although she is also working. She gave me time and space to finish my University work.”
“It’s not the end for me now. I’m aiming for another level to further my studies in development studies as I have a lot of interest in academia. Initially, I wanted to get a degree just to assist in my career so that particular dream paved the way.”