Lone’s Dear Diary

Written by Lonetona Peato
NZ Born of Samoan descent

I learned to prioritise, focus and most importantly - PRAY

What is success? How does one gauge it? How do you.....haha jokes... I have no idea what I’m talking about or how to structure this but was simply trying to make this sound engaging from the get go. Lol.

I believe in second chances. 

I know this, I was at uni for 7 years for a 3 year degree.

A NZ-born Samoan growing up in Saute Aukilani. Had your typical “strict-religious-go get the belt I’m gonna beat you with” parents. I had an amazing childhood though and was excelling academically too, right through to high-school. 

But then I was introduced to uni - where the tutors didn’t care if you did the work or if you turned up to every lecture.

All of a sudden, I was free! Cheeeehoooo!

I never had this sense of freedom before as i grew up in a strict household. I was skipping class to eat, go movies and spend more time with my girl than with my books....auuuuu moepi!  

Grades started to go downhill and so was I. How was I gonna tell my parents I wasn’t performing well in exams? How was I going to explain my failings to those who knew what I was studying and were genuinely interested to see me succeed? Soon enough, I was 3 years deep and no where near graduating and eventually, Uni was forced to drop me.

I really had to pull my finger out and focus. Parents were getting older and I was realising that i would soon have to start contributing to the family. I learned to prioritise, focus and most importantly - PRAY. Things slowly started to fall into place, I enrolled into a Diploma of Architectural Technology, smashed it and graduated.

Then I re-enrolled into the very degree I had been dropped from years before - my second chance!

It was a struggle, but I kept praying and things continued to fall in line. Not only was I able to study full time but also hold down part time jobs. From private tutoring of Year 11 MAGS students, mentoring the Kelston first XV rugby team, to being a Funeral Director! I wasn’t about to waste this second opportunity and in April of 2016, I graduated with a Bachelor of Architectural Studies and as if that wasn’t good enough, I managed to land a job immediately. Talk about blessings!

Seriously, if it wasn’t for me being dropped, I don’t think I would’ve found the drive to finish what I had set out to do. My parents love and support never wavered, despite their sons short comings.

I don’t know if people reading this will gain anything but I can tell you this: that even if you’ve fallen short or failed at something, there’s no greater satisfaction than picking yourself up and soldiering on to the finish line. Don’t waste second chances, find that drive - whether it be your parents, your children or just for your own future. (A lil prayer doesn’t hurt either).

Anyways, that’s enough of Lone’s Dear Diary haha.