Once adorned with the crown of Miss Hibiscus 2010 and later clinching the title of second runner-up in the Miss South Pacific Pageant, Sera Tikotikovatu Sefeti has now added another achievement to her list: a degree in Journalism and Public Administration and Management from the University of the South Pacific.
“For a while during the pandemic, it felt as if we’d never experience the joy of walking up on stage. The triumph seemed distant,” recalled the 36-year-old from Kadavu.
But she wasn’t one to back down.
Amid the challenges of lockdowns and personal setbacks, Sefeti found strength in the bond she shared with her peers.
“We always checked up on each other, extending a hand whenever needed.”
But her journey to USP wasn’t without its hurdles.
She could not secure a scholarship due to her status as a housewife and mother, a setback that nearly saw her dreams crumble.
However, showing unwavering resolve, she said she did not give up and opted to enroll as a private student.
Her family proved to be her anchor during the challenging times.
Juggling responsibilities of motherhood to two young children, work, and academics, she said: “Balancing everything was challenging. But the relentless support of my husband, mother, and sister saw me through.”
Currently, as a freelance journalist, Sefeti is driven by a vision to work with Non-Government Organisations, emphasising her passion for environmental and human interest stories.
“The Pacific region has its challenges, and I’m driven to address these issues through effective communication,” mentioned Sefeti.
For those aspiring to enter the field of journalism, Sera’s message is clear: “Persevere. Journalism isn’t about fame; it’s about representing voices. Ensure you have the passion, or the field will outpace you.”
Reflecting on her journey, she believes her experiences, from the pageant stage to the academic halls, equipped her with confidence and determination.
“Those moments made me bold enough to chase my dreams, irrespective of age or circumstance.”
Facing personal losses during her academic pursuit, she ended with a note of gratitude.
“There were moments of despair, but my faith was my guiding light. I owe my achievements to the strength God granted me.”