Rovarovaivlu Tulawe Vesikula
Class of 2015
I attended Lewis & Clark College after graduating out of Lester Pearson College in 2010. Being the first of my siblings to attend a university overseas, I was very excited and proud to have been selected and admitted by LC into their Undergraduate program.
As an incoming freshman I experienced the usual type of feelings that most international incoming freshmen typically experience which was a little bit of culture shock, nervousness, homesickness but at the same time a sense of optimistic excitement that came with being immersed in a challenging and studious environment.
Lewis & Clark College and its wonderful residents, students and faculty taught me a lot about my own personal values and priorities. After reaching the final year of my studies, I found that I had become more open minded and free spirited than I was when I came in as a freshman. I learned to thrive in both in sports and academics despite my being a minority.
I revived and co-captained Lewis & Clark’s first ever professionally run men’s rugby club which went to become a successful team in our conference, winning many of its matches against rival teams such as Reed College, Pacific University and Willamette. I also joined the men’s football team and played as a running back, which proved to be both an insightful and rewarding experience for me.
Academically, I chose Economics as my major field of study because I felt I could make a positive impact in the area of public policy. To do this, I needed to have a strong understanding of economic root causes and effects, accompanied by a heathy dose of realism and real world applications. In the many challenges I faced as an Economics student, I was blessed to have supportive faculty and international student and scholar’s staff who played a huge role in ensuring my academic priorities were appropriately aligned so that I could successfully complete my undergraduate studies. Sure enough, I was able to complete my Senior Thesis in my final year which was titled “The Effect of the Tipped Minimum Wage on Firm Strategy, Employees and Social Welfare” and was awarded a B in the course.
In retrospect, I can say with a fair degree of confidence that I have no regrets at all. LC was truly an amazing experience. Ironically, for a beautiful campus, there were indeed a lot of rainy days which, at least to me, served as a metaphor for much of the struggles I faced as an international student; but the saying “you can’t appreciate the sunshine without a little rain” really resonated with me throughout my time as an LC student. My accomplishments were in a sense my rays of sunshine, and I appreciated the heck out of them.
It would be remiss of me to not give credit where credit is due. Special acknowledgement must go to the hardworking staff of the International Student and Scholars Office which proved to be a strong backbone to my undergraduate career. Like a caring parent to their child, the ISSO never once cast a judgmental eye on me but instead guided me through my journey of self-discovery.
The challenges I faced and overcame have taught me to be a very determined individual. “You must have the right attitude and be willing to work hard and smart for what you want” is a mantra I now repeat to myself every day.
I have been building my career around research and statistics, working in the past in this capacity with Gaunavou Investments and Investment Fiji. Currently I have been blessed with the opportunity to work with Tourism Fiji as their Research and Insights Officer and on the side am pursuing postgraduate studies in Economics at the University of the South Pacific.
My career aspirations for the future are to serve as a policy analyst in the Fiji government and to continue furthering my education, perhaps in the fields of Law and Public finance. Until then, I am taking each day as it comes and am remaining optimistic. I will always thank LC for pushing me above and beyond my self-imposed limitations; by freeing my mind and reminding me that ‘all is possible with the right spirit and the right attitude’.