Support Village Voice News With a Donation of Your Choice.
Graduating from university is a significant accomplishment and marks the culmination of years of hard work and dedication. Meet 21-year-old Oureanna Aalayah Lake, hailing from Bartica, Region 7. Her journey through academia has been a testament to my unwavering commitment to education. From a young age, her mother instilled a deep sense of purpose in her. Despite having her own educational challenges, her mother tirelessly encouraged her to pursue a brighter future.
Oureanna’s educational journey commenced at Hill View Nursery School. “I vividly recall my initial timidity on the first day, shedding tears while perched on the staircase, ” she said.
After Hill View, she transitioned to St. Anthony’s Primary School, where she realised her true potential. She demonstrated exceptional aptitude and a steadfast commitment to learning. Despite occasional setbacks and challenges, she consistently excelled academically.
The next chapter of her academic journey led her to Three Miles Secondary School, where she encountered the typical challenges of adolescence, navigating the complexities of puberty and emotional development. However, in 2019, Lake proudly completed her high school education earning the distinction of being one of the top students within Region 7 copping 12 cxc subjects.
“Following my high school graduation, I embarked on a new chapter at the University of Guyana, where I embarked on a journey that culminated in the recent attainment of my Bachelor’s degree in Economics,” Oureanna said. Her academic pursuits reflect her enduring dedication to education and my determination to break barriers to create a brighter future for myself and inspire others along the way
Further she added, “My decision to pursue a degree in economics was driven by a deep fascination with understanding the complex interplay of factors that shape our world. Economics provides a powerful lens through which I can analyse and make sense of various societal, political, and economic phenomena. I was particularly drawn to economics because of its relevance in addressing real-world issues and its potential to drive positive change.
Moreover, I believe that economics is a versatile field with a wide range of applications, from public policy and finance to global trade and development. This versatility, coupled with the opportunity to contribute to informed decision-making and potentially improve the lives of individuals and communities, motivated me to choose economics as my academic path.”
When asked about her university journey, Lake said, “When I first embarked on my journey at the University of Guyana, I grappled with intense social anxiety. At that time, my mother’s persistent advice echoed in my mind, encouraging me to overcome my shyness and forge connections with others. It was a pivotal moment when I made the deliberate decision to step out of my comfort zone and put myself out there.
Embracing this challenge proved to be a transformative experience. I gradually but resolutely started to engage with my peers, participate in various campus activities, and attend social events. The decision to break through my social barriers not only allowed me to expand my horizons but also resulted in the formation of profound, lifelong friendships.”
These friendships then became pillars of support throughout Lake’s academic journey. They not only enriched her personal life as well as they played a pivotal role in enhancing her academic experiences. Together, Lake and her friends navigated the complexities of coursework, shared insights, and provided each other with invaluable encouragement and motivation.
She added, “My transformation from someone grappling with social anxiety to a person who wholeheartedly embraced the opportunities for connection and personal growth at the University of Guyana serves as a testament to the personal development that can occur in the academic environment. This journey has not only enriched my university experience but has also equipped me with valuable life skills and lasting friendships that I will cherish for years to come.”
Life is a grand adventure that presents us with a series of challenges, each uniquely designed to test our mettle and shape us into the individuals we are meant to be. While challenges may sometimes seem daunting, they also provide us with opportunities for growth, self-discovery, and an opportunity to tap into our inner superhero. Lake’s university journey was no different.
“Beginning my journey at the University of Guyana at the tender age of 17 necessitated a significant life transition. Leaving behind my family and the familiar surroundings of Bartica to relocate to Georgetown was a daunting leap into the unknown. The prospect of navigating a completely new environment and interacting with countless unfamiliar faces was a source of anxiety,” she mentioned.
However, with determination to overcome these initial fears and with resilience and a steadfast commitment to her education, Lake gradually acclimated to the university community, embracing the opportunities for personal growth and development.
Her educational journey shifted in 2020, when the COVID-19 pandemic began, Lake’s classes were changed from in-person to online classes. This transition presented a unique set of challenges.
Lake moved back to Bartica and grappled with unreliable internet access and financial constraints. Her parents’ continuous efforts to provide her with data for online classes placed a strain on our finances. Recognizing the need for a more stable internet connection, a difficult decision was made for her to temporarily relocate to Georgetown, staying with her uncle to access a more reliable Wi-Fi system. This move required additional adjustment and sacrifice from Lake, but it was a necessary step to ensure the continuity of her education.
As challenges persisted and the demands of university life intensified, she became mentally drained and emotionally exhausted. Balancing these difficulties with my academic responsibilities was indeed a formidable task. However, these trials have strengthened Lake’s determination and equipped her with valuable life skills, underscoring her unwavering commitment to my educational journey at the University of Guyana.
“My advice to young individuals who aspire to pursue an academic journey like mine at the University of Guyana is to embrace change and challenge with an open heart. Be prepared for the uncertainties that come with leaving your comfort zone, as this is where growth and transformation often occur.
First and foremost, don’t let fear hold you back. The initial anxiety and unfamiliarity you may encounter are natural parts of the process. However, with determination and a willingness to adapt, you can conquer these initial obstacles.
Secondly, remember the importance of a strong support system. My family’s support and sacrifices played a pivotal role in my success. Lean on your loved ones for guidance and assistance when needed, and be open to making strategic decisions that benefit your educational journey.
Lastly, stay resilient and committed. The road to academic achievement can be challenging, and you may encounter unexpected twists along the way. However, maintaining a strong work ethic and unwavering dedication to your goals will ultimately lead you to success.
In the face of adversity, remember that each challenge is an opportunity to learn and grow. Your journey may not be without obstacles, but it’s these very challenges that will shape you into a stronger, more capable individual. So, stay true to your aspirations and persevere, for the rewards of higher education are immeasurable,” she said when asked for advice.
She mentioned, “As I reflect on my academic journey at the University of Guyana, I am excited about what the future holds. My experiences have not only shaped me academically but have also ignited a passion for making a positive impact in the world. I aspire to continue my education, perhaps pursuing advanced studies, and to channel my knowledge and skills into addressing real-world challenges. Ultimately, I hope to contribute to the betterment of my community, my country, and the global community through the insights and expertise I’ve gained throughout my academic journey.”
In the future, Lake hopes to continue exploring this dynamic discipline and its potential, so that she can make a meaningful impact on our society. She would also further her education.
The journey from a high school top student to a University of Guyana graduate is a testament to the power of ambition, hard work, and unwavering dedication to education. Oureanna’s journey serves as an inspiration for future generations, highlighting the importance of setting high academic goals and striving for excellence. As she steps into the world beyond university, she does so with the knowledge that her journey is just beginning, and the future is filled with limitless potential and opportunities to make a difference in the world.