Ms. Harriet Toto Olita, a former student at DeKUT got a scholarship at The University of Western Australia to pursue a PHD program in Agricultural Economics with a focus on Conservation Auctions after completing her Masters in Actuarial and Financial Science from Curtin University.
1. How did you navigate your studies and your whole life at DeKUT in your four years?
Study/life balance was essential. It was vital to prioritize study sessions, and my social commitments. In addition, setting myself achievable and realistic goals each semester motivated me to get things done. To put this in perspective, you may have an assignment due in in a week’s time and a social event on the weekend. You can set your goal to finish the assignment by Friday evening through subdivision of the tasks in small bits everyday throughout the week. This will enable you attend the function stress free!
2. How did you resolve the challenges you faced in Life?
Challenges in life are inevitable. Every problem I faced equipped me with knowledge and skills to solve future issues. I also sought help in difficult moments.
3. How did you navigate to get a scholarship in Australia?
I submitted my application and hoping for the best. The key is…”Never give up!”
In addition, networking is essential. Maintaining contact with your networks keeps the flow of information in the event of opportunities.
4. Did you have challenges in finding funds for your accommodation and upkeep?
While pursuing my master’s degree, it was challenging working part time and studying full time. I had to balance my workload and studies. I am glad that everything worked well due to persistence and faith.
5. How did your spiritual commitment add value to your progression?
It gave me hope. God was at the centre of my day to day activities, always guiding and inspiring me to serve humanity. This quote guided me daily “Service to humanity id service to God.”
6. How do you network and connect with the students and professors in your university as well as Australian society?
I was able to join various societies and clubs at the university. In doing so, we attended networking sessions where we got the opportunity to interact with fellow colleagues, lectures and employers. In addition, in each semester, there was a career fair organised by the university where employers were invited to showcase their services to the students.
7. How do you handle the stresses that may be brought by weather, culture and language as a foreign student?
The ability to adapt to the environment and interact with the local community made it easier for me. I was involved in volunteering activities within the society which gave me the opportunity to learn different cultures and become more accepting.
8. Do you feel lonely when away from home?
Home is where the heart is. I feel at home in Australia too. People are friendly and tolerant of other cultures, making me feel at home. I miss the Kenyan community especially, Dedan Kimathi University family.
9. What would be your advice to DeKUT students in undergraduate life?
I believe in you. Never give up.
10. How would you encourage the students who cannot be able to afford but would like to study abroad?
Networking is essential. In addition, numerous scholarship opportunities are advertised online and in the local daily papers, hence they can be able to apply. Above all, never give up.