I would like to wish the people of the Cook Islands all the best for 2016.
In particular I would like to address the young people that have just finished college and are now at the juncture or crossroads in their life where major decisions will have to be made on what to do, where to go and how to get there.
For some, it may be the start of furthering their education at a tertiary institution such as a polytechnic or university, while for others it may be considering a career in a particular field where an apprenticeship has been offered to train as a builder, electrician, plumber. Others might be seeking a career in the Armed Forces. Others may be contemplating work for the sake of simply earning a steady income while trying to find out what they actually want to do in life.
These are the same decisions I had to make when I left Rarotonga after attending Apii Te Uki Ou to complete my schooling at St Cuthbert’s College and Epsom Girls Grammar. I eventually enrolled at Auckland University of Technology where I studied for three and a half years, graduating in July this year with a Bachelor of Business Degree with a double major in Accounting and Management and a minor in Human Resources.
Although life after college can be daunting, it is actually the start of shaping one's personality and character, and most importantly, a time when mistakes are often made, which in a funny way ultimately shapes the way we become as people and human beings.
The message I would like to offer is to always back yourself when faced with a task or decision that appears to be so impossible and unobtainable, that people often don’t even try it.
The saying “Nothing ventured nothing gained,” clearly shows that if we really want something but are too scared to even try then we are failing ourselves without giving ourselves the chance to prove we can do it.
Those young people venturing out into the real world will experience for the first time weekly rentals (a reoccurring nightmare) and power and phone bills, not to mention warrants of fitness and vehicle insurance.
As well as that, there will be the never-ending reminder notices for overdue accounts and bills and living off noodles.
All I can say is that it gets easier, because it forces us to become responsible and accountable to ourselves and the people we care about and to prioritise what is important in our lives. So do not give up. With the right attitude, I am sure you can achieve and overcome whatever comes your way.
With the New Year off to a start, it’s time to set your goals and work hard to achieve them.
It is not about being perfect, it is about making progress.
And last but not least, be kind in all that you do and please take care on our roads.
I wish you all a blessed, fulfilling and safe New Year. May God bless you all.