Support Village Voice News With a Donation of Your Choice.
In academia, passion acts as the driving force that propels students toward excellence in their chosen fields. One such inspiring example is the story of Rahul Changa, a university of Guyana (UG) student whose dedication to geography has ignited a remarkable journey of discovery, understanding, and appreciation for the world around us. 18-year-old Rahul Changa, hails from Suddie village located in the Cinderella county, Essequibo, Region Two (Pomeroon/Supernaam).
“Growing up in the small village of Suddie has shaped me into the person I am today. At 18 years old, I have already discovered my passion for academic activities and volunteering. I find great joy in giving back to my community and helping others in any way I can,” Rahul said. He enjoys reading about topics that are relevant to his field of study (geography), as he aims to broaden his perspective of the world around him.
Changa also enjoys learning about new cultures, investigating the complexities of the environment, or analyzing the influence of human actions.
Another area of his life that gives him a lot of joy is public speaking.Changa added, “ I’ve always had a natural desire to express myself and my views in front of an audience.
Unfortunately, because of the after effects caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, I was denied many opportunities to demonstrate my public speaking abilities.” However, he is optimistic that in the future, he will soon be able to express his voice and create a positive influence with my words. As it relates to his educational journey, Fisher’s Primary School laid the foundation for his academic success. He then moved on to Abram Zuil Secondary School, where he continued to excel in his studies. In 2022, Rahul excelled, acing his Caribbean Secondary Education Certificate (CSEC) exams. He topped subjects such as social studies, geography, and Caribbean history. This achievement validated his hard work and fueled his desire to pursue higher education. He copped several awards, including best graduating student in Social Studies, Geography, and Caribbean history, as well as for Integrated Science, English A, Physical education (PE) and for passing 7+ subjects.
Rahul mentioned, “With all passes at the Caribbean Secondary Education Certificate (CSEC) level, I eagerly embarked on the next chapter of my academic journey. I enrolled in a bachelor’s degree program in Geography at the tertiary level, at the University of Guyana . This decision was driven by my passion for understanding the world’s physical and human landscapes, as well as my desire to contribute to sustainable development and environmental conservation.”
As he continues his studies, he is extremely excited about the opportunities that lie ahead. It is Rahul’s dream to make a difference in the field of Geography, as he will use his knowledge and skills to address pressing global issues, whether it’s through research, community engagement, or advocacy.
When asked about why he opted to do geography, he said, “I opted to study a degree in geography because of my passion for the conservation of our natural environment and sustainable development. Throughout my secondary school years, I excelled in geography while many of my peers found it challenging. This success made me realize that I had a talent for the subject, and I wanted to further develop my skills and knowledge in this field. Additionally, I am particularly interested in the role geography plays in the newfound oil and gas industry in Guyana. With recent discoveries of significant oil reserves in the country, understanding the geographical aspects of this industry is crucial. Geography helps analyze the physical and human factors that influence the exploration, extraction, and distribution of oil and gas resources. By studying geography, I can gain insights into the environmental impacts, socio-economic implications, and sustainable practices associated with this industry.”
Rahul believes that his geography degree, as well as his university experiences will make him an asset in the oil and gas sector in Guyana. As the industry continues to grow, there will be a demand for professionals who can navigate the complex geographical challenges and contribute to sustainable development. With his knowledge and skills in geography, Changa believes he can actively contribute to the responsible management of natural resources and the development of environmentally conscious strategies in the oil and gas industry.
Overall, his passion for environmental conservation, talent for geography, and potential for employment in the oil and gas sector in Guyana have all influenced his decision to study geography. He is excited to explore the diverse aspects of this field and leave his mark on the sustainable development of our natural resources.
University Journey + Gratitude
Rahul described his university journey as nothing short of incredible. He is now preparing to enter his second year in September. While reflecting on the achievements and experiences of my first year, he is proud to say that he secured A’s and B’s in his courses, which has given me a sense of satisfaction and acts as a form of motivation for him to continue striving for excellence.
One aspect that has greatly contributed to his enjoyable campus experience is being a resident of the Dormitory UG provides for students. Living on campus has allowed Rahul to fully immerse himself in the university community, forming lasting friendships, networking, participating in various activities and gaining experience. The dormitory has become his home away from home, providing a supportive and vibrant environment that has enhanced his overall university experience.
In addition to living on campus, he has also had the opportunity to volunteer at multiple UG events. One notable event was Ug’s career day, where he assisted in organizing and facilitating workshops for fellow students. This experience not only allowed him to give back to the university community but also provided Changa with valuable skills in event planning and leadership.
Rahul is the recipient of a scholarship from the Ministry of Public Service This scholarship has eased the financial burden of pursuing higher education and also served as a recognition of his hard work and dedication. He expressed gratitude to his parents, who have been his pillars of strength, providing guidance, love, and encouragement.
Their unwavering support and belief acts as extrinsic motivation fueling his success. He is also grateful for the support he received from his colleagues as well as the
Ministry of Public Service, as they believed in his potential and provided him with this opportunity to pursue his dreams.
“I would also like to acknowledge the staff of my faculty for their dedication and commitment to providing quality education. Their expertise and passion for teaching have greatly contributed to my academic growth. The professors and lecturers are approachable and supportive, always willing to go the extra mile to ensure that I understand the course material,” Rahul added.
As his second year approaches, he is excited about the many possibilities and challenges that lie ahead, but he is optimistic that he can overcome them. He said, “I am determined to continue striving for academic excellence and to make the most of my university experience. I am confident that with the continued support of my parents, the faculty staff, and the ministry, I will be able to achieve my goals and make a positive impact in my chosen field. Overall, my university journey has been exceptional. It has been a time of growth, learning, and self-discovery. I have been fortunate to have a supportive network of people who have believed in me and helped me along the way. I am grateful for the opportunities I have had to volunteer and contribute to the university community, as well as for the financial support that has made my education possible.”
Rahul plans to continue building on the foundation he has established in his first year. He is determined to push himself further, to challenge himself academically, and to explore new opportunities for personal and professional growth. He is confident that his university journey will continue to be exceptional, and he’s grateful for all the experiences and support that has brought him to this point.
Challenges and how overcame them
While at university, he faced several challenges that tested his resilience and determination. One of the biggest hurdles Rahul encountered was dealing with severe anxiety, which often led to mental breakdowns, this was during the most demanding periods of the semester. The pressure to perform well academically, meet deadlines, and excel in various extracurricular activities took a toll on his mental health. The constant worry and fear of failure made it difficult for him to focus and maintain a positive mindset. However, in an attempt to not let anxiety control my life and hinder my progress, he learned to prioritize his mental well-being. He began taking breaks and allowing himself time to recharge. Whenever he felt overwhelmed or on the verge of a breakdown, he would step back and take a mental health break. His mental health breaks involved him either going for a walk, practicing mindfulness exercises, or engaging in activities that brought him joy and relaxation. These breaks assisted him in regaining his composure and approach to work with a clearer mind.
Another challenge he faced was procrastination. “It was easy to get caught up in distractions and put off important tasks until the last minute. However, I realized that this habit was hindering my progress and causing unnecessary stress. To overcome this challenge, I started reminding myself of the bigger picture,” he mentioned.
In doing so, he would reflect on my goals and aspirations, reminding myself why I enrolled into the university. This mindset shift helped him stay motivated and focused on his studies. He also implemented strategies such as creating a schedule, breaking tasks into smaller, manageable chunks, and setting deadlines. By doing so, he was able to overcome his tendency to procrastinate and develop a more disciplined approach to work.
“In conclusion, my university journey was not without its challenges. Dealing with anxiety and battling procrastination were two significant obstacles that I faced. However, by prioritizing my mental health and reminding myself of my goals, I was able to overcome these challenges and thrive academically. These experiences have taught me valuable lessons in resilience, self-care, and the importance of maintaining a positive mindset in the face of adversity,” he noted.
My Future Plans
While completing his degree in geography, he developed a keen interest in disaster risk management. He believes that understanding the complexities of natural disasters and their impact on communities is crucial for effective mitigation and response strategies. Therefore, his next step will be to pursue a master’s degree in Disaster Risk Management. During his master’s program, he aims to gain in-depth knowledge about various aspects of disaster risk management, including risk assessment, emergency planning, and
post-disaster recovery. He wants to explore the interdisciplinary nature of this field, combining geographical knowledge with social sciences, engineering, and
policy-making. By understanding the root causes and vulnerabilities associated with disasters, he hopes to contribute to the development and management of sustainable and resilient communities.
While pursuing a master’s degree, he also aspires to gain practical experience via internships and research projects. They will allow him to apply the theoretical knowledge gained in real-world scenarios and develop valuable skills in data analysis, GIS mapping, and project management. Rahul believes that hands-on experience is crucial for a comprehensive understanding of disaster risk management and will enhance my ability to make informed decisions in the future.
Ultimately, his long-term goal is to become Guyana’s Minister of Natural Resources, as he is passionate about environmental conservation and sustainable development. Rahul believes that this position will provide him with the platform and authority to make a significant impact. As the Minister of Natural Resources, he would work towards
implementing policies and initiatives that prioritize the protection and sustainable management of Guyana’s natural resources.
In addition to his aspirations as a future Minister of Natural Resources, he also has a dream job as a Geopolitical Analyst. This role would allow him to combine his knowledge of geography, disaster risk management, and international relations. As a Geopolitical Analyst, he would analyze the political, economic, and social factors that influence global events and provide insights and recommendations to governments, organizations, and businesses.
Being a Geopolitical Analyst would enable Rahul to contribute to the understanding of complex global issues, such as resource conflicts, climate change, and geopolitical tensions. By providing accurate and informed analysis, he can shape policies and strategies that promote peace, stability, and sustainable development.
“To achieve my career goals, I understand the importance of continuous learning and professional development. I plan to attend conferences, workshops, and seminars related to disaster risk management, geopolitics, and natural resource management. Additionally, I will actively seek opportunities to collaborate with experts in these fields, both nationally and internationally,” he mentioned.
When asked for advice, he said, “Ignore the discouraging comments and follow your dreams. Don’t let anyone tell you that certain degrees are useless or won’t lead to employment. Every degree has value, and it’s up to you to make the most of it. In today’s rapidly changing world, the job market is constantly evolving. What may seem like an “unemployable” degree today could become highly sought after tomorrow. The key is to focus on developing a diverse skill set, adaptability, and a passion for continuous learning. These qualities will make you valuable in any field, regardless of your degree. To the young people in Essequibo or any other remote area who are being told that they cannot achieve certain things because they are far away from modernity, I want to assure you that distance does not determine your potential. With determination, hard work, and a strong belief in yourself, you can achieve anything you set your mind to.”
Further, he said, “It’s important to remember that success is not limited to a specific location or background. Many great individuals have emerged from humble beginnings and remote areas, defying all odds. Your geographical location should never be a barrier to your dreams. Embrace your unique circumstances and use them as a source of inspiration and motivation. Being from a remote area can actually give you a fresh perspective and a unique set of skills that can set you apart from others. Use your
experiences and the challenges you’ve faced to fuel your determination and prove all the doubts wrong. Seek out opportunities for growth and development, even if they may not be readily available in your immediate surroundings. Take advantage of online resources, distance learning programs, and networking platforms to connect with professionals in your desired field. Don’t be afraid to step out of your comfort zone and explore new avenues for learning and skill-building. Surround yourself with positive and supportive individuals who believe in your potential. Seek mentors who have achieved success in your desired field and learn from their experiences. Their guidance and advice can be invaluable in navigating the challenges and uncertainties that may arise along your journey. Lastly, never underestimate the power of perseverance and resilience. There will be setbacks and obstacles along the way, but it’s important to stay focused on your goals and keep pushing forward. Remember that success is not always linear, and it often requires patience and persistence. So, go get it!”
As he continues to navigate the world through the lens of geography, Rahul serves as an inspiration to fellow students, youths and geography enthusiasts reminding us that the pursuit of knowledge and the passion to understand our planet can lead to meaningful and impactful contributions to society.