Diploma in Communication Studies (Level 5)
Open Polytechnic Pasifika Study Award recipient Tiana Samasoni first started studying with the Open Polytechnic while on maternity leave in 2008.
“I wanted to utilise any downtime as efficiently as possible so I completed a Certificate in Introductory to Accounting (Level 4). I then decided to further my studies and enrolled in the Diploma in Communication Studies and am currently completing my final paper. I’ll then work towards a Bachelor of Arts majoring in Communication,” says Tiana, mother of two.
“I decided to enrol in communications as I love talking and writing and I felt that this qualification would be perfect for me, and so far, it has been.”
As well as doing volunteer work as an early childhood educator at her children’s playcentre, Tiana also volunteers part-time as a property manager and treasurer to a set of property units.
“Being in a classroom would mean I’d have to be in class at a certain time. I’d then need to organise babysitters or day care and I’d have to give up a lot of voluntary activities I currently participate in. However with distance learning, my study suits my lifestyle and I can study where I want, when I want.
“It’s not all roses though, it can be hard to study on your own but the lecturers, tutors and other students are just a phone call or email away.”
Seeing her husband, Jeff, graduate with a National Diploma in Architectural Technology from the Open Polytechnic and then head off onto other challenges showed Tiana that distance learning can act as a great gateway to new opportunities.
“He’s now studying towards a Masters in Building Construction through another education provider. This clearly shows to me that the Open Polytechnic is a fantastic way to start your tertiary studies and that’s why I chose distance learning. If my husband can do it, I can do it."
Tiana says that it has been a struggle sometimes when she hits a difficult point in an assignment, but her experience has shown that going back to the learning materials supplied by the Open Polytechnic or contacting her tutor usually sorts it out.
“It’s so important to make contact with your tutor if you’re unsure about any of the course material because you can bounce your interpretation off the material, and they can really help guide your thinking.”
Enjoying the courses she has completed so far, Tiana says studying has empowered her thinking, making her more confident in all areas of life.
“Because of studying, I feel I am a lot more confident and it has empowered my holistic development and I love it.” She also thinks it is important to role-model good study habits to her children. "I need to show my sons that education is a normal part of life and graduating is something that everyone can do.
“Receiving the Pasifika Study Award was a huge relief. Coming from a one-income household, the grant was fully appreciated. Studying through the Open Polytechnic has empowered me as an individual and as a strong Niuean-Māori.
“If I can do it, anyone can do it. You just need to be committed, believe in yourself, and work hard for something that will benefit you and your family.
“Studying is one of the most empowering tools an individual can give themselves.”
The Open Polytechnic Pasifika Study Awards are to encourage and support Pasifika students and recognises that distance learning provides a real opportunity for Pasifika communities to engage in upskilling and lifelong learning.
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