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UB Imprint Vol 47: From UB Student Chevening Scholar in the UK and UB Wins Second in Ruta Maya
From UB Student to Chevening Scholar in the UK
I grew up in a single-parent household and I was financially and emotionally nurtured by my mother, Juanita Nicholson, with tremendous assistance from my extended family. My character and values are the product of my grandmother’s mentoring and endless love. Thank you, mother. Thank you, grandma. Thank you for believing and investing in my potential. You have been underlying motivational forces for the continuation of my educational journey.
Anthony D ‘Angelo once said “develop a passion for learning. If you do, you will never cease to grow…” I believe every journey starts with a passion – whether it be a passion for growth, passion for evolution, or passion for success. According to my family, I have always had a passion for learning, and it was their duty to ensure my passion blossomed. My mother enrolled me in preschool at the age of three. After two years, I graduated and attended primary school. At the age of 12, I graduated from Ladyville Evangelical Primary School as valedictorian. I was then enrolled in Pallotti High School, where I continued to perform as an outstanding student. I sat and passed ten CXC’s with an Individual Subject Award in Office Administration. After completing my four years of secondary education, I attended Saint John’s College Junior College (SJCJC) to obtain my Associate’s Degree of Science in Accounting. It was a very demanding program, but it was at this stage that my passion for Accounting became concrete – more than a desire. I graduated from SJCJC raking first in the Business Department and third in the graduating class. The graduation ceremony was unimaginable as I was awarded the “Most Deserving” Scholarship from the Government of Belize to pursue my undergraduate degree at the University of Belize (UB). However, prior to this, I had already decided to attend Belize’s national university and enrolled in the accounting program.
I envisioned a satisfying career in Accounting; and after critical examination of and research into UB’s Bachelor’s Degree of Science in Accounting (BACC) program, I was impressed by its Auditing and Investigation course. Therefore, I pursued a BACC program at UB, because I strongly believed it would complement my career aspiration.
The experience I obtained at the University of Belize was rewarding and enhancing. I was a normal student – attended lectures, participated in class discussions, engaged in group work, prepared presentations and sat examinations. Despite my consistent performance, it should not be construed that the University experience was always delightful. I faced many challenges and was consumed by anxiety and stress. The anxiety and stress created moments of defeat and dismay, but through the support I received at UB, I was able to overcome these moments and build my resilience.
During my two and a half years at UB, I have encountered numerous highly qualified and supportive lecturers, particularly, an Accounting and Finance lecturer – Mr. Fatai Akinkuolie. He has been a tremendously influential component in my undergraduate and postgraduate academic journey. On various occasions, he would express his content with my level of responsibility and determination in his courses. His kind words served as reassurance that I am competent and capable. On June 11th, 2016, as I marched across the stage to, firstly, collect my undergraduate degree with the highest honor – Suma Cum Laude – and, secondly, receive my award for Top Performer graduating with a cumulative grade point average of 3.97 on a scale of 4.00, Mr. Akinkuolie’s excitement equated to that of my family. It should also be noted that Mr. Akinkuolie was the individual who recommended the British Chevening Scholarship, then assisted me throughout the application and interview process. Thank you, Mr. Akinkuolie, for your guidance and supervision.
I am currently a postgraduate student at the University of Bristol in the United Kingdom. I am pursuing my master’s degree in Accounting as a Chevening Scholar. While the one-year program is intense and demanding, I firmly believe my time at UB truly enriched my passion for accounting and prepared me for my postgraduate studies. As students, we sometimes adopt this tunnel vision, focusing solely on obtaining our degrees. However, my time at UB gave me the opportunity for extensive networking, character-building; and developed the skills set needed for my post-graduate studies and professional career. In summary, the University of Belize created a stimulating environment for students, like me, to become successful and resilient.
Education is an investment, and I am happy with my decision to attend UB. My advice to existing and prospective students is: “Disappointments, obstacles, failures, tribulations are weapons needed to fight your way to success.” We should discard the mentality of ‘excuses’ – “I am not good enough”, “I am not strong enough”, “I am not intelligent enough” – and prepare ourselves to excel regardless of our situations. My journey was difficult but my determination to succeed and my time at the University of Belize created a profound appreciation and prepared me tremendously for my success.
Celebrating our win in the 22nd La Ruta Maya Belize River Challenge
The La Ruta Maya Belize River Challenge is arguably one of the world’s longest and most taxing river competitions. This 175-mile competition is a grueling four-day race, which traces a harrowing course along the Macal and Belize rivers, and attracts the best canoe racers from Belize and around the world. Among the sixty participating teams in this year’s competition was the University of Belize’s Black Jaguar Paddlers – Anselmo Rash, Pablo Manzanero and Kenneth Ferguson, who along with their coach, Claude Jones, placed 2nd in the Intramural category in which they raced with an overall time of 19 hours and 52 minutes.
“This achievement of our students in this competition is impressive and the consistency of their success is even more amazing,” UB’s President Professor Emeritus Dr. Clement Sankat said. “It speaks well of the quality and performance of our students’ athletic ability and the importance of team work in accomplishing goals as our students have consistently placed in this highly competitive and internationally esteemed event.”
When asked what helped them to complete the race, one of the paddlers noted that “coming through the river with everyone cheering is the best part of the race. Being surrounded by everyone cheering is really exciting;” to which his two teammates shyly agreed.
The La Ruta Maya Belize River Challenge has been a performance sport at the university since its inception. However, UB’s participation is equally about education as it is about advancing its student athletes. The race, which began in 1995, is a part of the “Save Our River Program,” to raise funds to clean up Belize‘s Rivers. UB, as the country’s national university, prides itself on being an environmentally conscious university and participating in an activity that highlights the splendor, importance, fragility and the need to protect Belize’s rivers is one that speaks to the very essence of what the University as an institution represents. This was specially demonstrated as our Environmental Club did a commendable work of cleaning the riversides during the course of the race.
The President of UB – Professor Emeritus Dr. Clement Sankat and the Vice President of UB – Dr. Mariot Simon join Belize and the entire UB community in congratulating Anselmo, Pablo and Kenneth on their remarkable achievement at the 2019 La Ruta Maya Belize River Challenge. Their win is not just a win for the University of Belize, but more importantly it tells the story of their tireless effort and indomitable spirit and resilience in this grueling race.
And to Coach Jones, we extend congratulations to you as well. We thank you for the tremendous support, encouragement and guidance you showed Anselmo, Pablo and Kenneth. This win is a tribute to your technical strength, hard work and dedication to our future leaders.