Sosefina Finau, an alumna from Tonga who majored in human resources and organizational behavior, reflected on her time at BYU–Hawaii leading up to graduation. She said she was grateful for the opportunity to participate in Culture Night and gain work experience at the Polynesian Culture Center. She counseled students to find the right friends who will encourage them to be successful.
Understanding your purpose
Finau offered advice to students whoare still continuing their education at BYUH. She shared, “Never give up, always set your priorities, and set a goal and work toward it.” She continued, “I know that coming from a poor family. I always remember where I am from and why I am here before I do anything. If you understand your purpose of being here, you can do it.”
Reflecting on the opportunities given to her by BYUH, Finau said, “I am grateful to have been chosen to come to BYUH because there are so many youth and students back home, but because of the limitation of the opportunities they aren't able to. So, if you get accepted, come. That is your blessing.”
Manu Panuve, a senior from Tonga majoring in business management, said Finau has been a good friend in her life. According to her, “Fina is such a great friend because she has a bubbly personality.
“I feel like she loves to make other people around her happy and that is just her and how she is. There are times when we are stressed, but when we talk [to each other,] she makes us laugh. So there are many times where we just forget about why we are stressed and enjoy the moment.”
There are times when we are stressed, but when we talk [to each other,] she makes us laugh. So there are many times where we just forget about why we are stressed and enjoy the moment.
According to Finau, her best experience at BYUH has been being in Culture Night. Her first time participating was in her junior year. Since then, she has performed in both the Fiji and Samoa clubs. “Not only does it remind me of my culture, but also I get to learn of other cultures as well.”
After graduation, Finau commented she is looking forward to furthering her education to a higher level, with human resources management being the ultimate goal.
She also shared she is looking forward to understanding what the workforce is like. As the PCC was her first opportunity to have a job, it has become much of a comfort zone, so she said she looks forward to adjusting to the reality of the workforce outside of the PCC.
Sioa Tafengatoto, a senior from Tonga majoring in accounting, shared experiences she had enjoyed with Finau while the two had been in school together. She said, “When Fina is there, it is always fun. The conversations, the jokes, she keeps everything alive. I love having class with Fina because I know that I will go to class and enjoy it.”
Finau said her time at BYUH afforded her opportunities she would not have been able to find elsewhere. She shared there were two reasons she decided to enroll at BYUH. First, BYUH is a CES school and she was interested in having a “church-centered environment.” Second, Finau said she wanted to work at the PCC for the experience and the income.
Finau shared, “You feel developed both spiritually and physically when you come to BYUH.” She added how she was grateful for the opportunity to go to school and also work. She said, “Sometimes it is hard to do both at the same time, but I feel like it makes me more prepared for my future, independence, and self-reliance.”
Panuve reflected on what she has learned from Finau. Panuve said, “I think if there is one thing I have learned from Fina, it is to enjoy every moment that you have because they only come once. You might as well enjoy the current moment rather than planning to enjoy something else when it is not guaranteed.”
Finau also looked back on the individuals who helped her on her path toward graduation. She first expressed gratitude for her parents and added how the friends she has made at BYUH have helped her along her way to graduation. She said, “When you come here to school, your parents are not always able to tell you what to do, so if you pick the right friends, they will help you to be successful.”
Tafengatoto said Finau’s relaxed nature has helped her during her university experience. She said, “Fina is so easy going. She is a very good listener, not just with school, but with my own personal life. It is easy for me to share with her and she gives me feedback. I trust that what she says to me is for my own good.”