After six and a half years of struggles and sleepless nights Kamara Aniva Pouono can finally breathe easy now.
On Friday at the National University of Samoa gymnasium Ms. Pouono was congratulated by her family members, friends and especially her parents when she was announced as the top medical student in front of hundreds of people who attended the graduation.
She received a trophy and a certificate as a graduate from the National University of Samoa School of Medicine for completing six years of studies and gaining her Bachelor of Medicine and Surgery with seven other students.
Samoa has two medical schools. The other is the Oceania University of Medicine which is located at Moto’otua.
Ms. Pouono said she is very proud of herself despite the long, hard journey.
“I feel quite happy and proud because it wasn’t an easy journey at all, it took a lot of sacrifice especially time - times away from my family and friends,” she said. “As you all know medicine is not something that you can just take lightly, time is needed it’s something that requires a lot of time and a lot of sacrifice and time cannot be taken for granted. “It requires a lot of hard work and dedication.” Ms. Pouono said while she has been in the programme of medicine for six and a half years, she still has a long way to go.
“The next step is to start my internship where we work in the National Health Services and from there we’ll see what happens,” she said.
“I haven’t got my priorities set in which department I will take up but all I know is that I will just take one step at a time and see where I go from there.” Ms. Pouono said there were times in her journey that she felt like giving up but it was through the support of her loved ones that she made it this far.
“The most challenging part of my journey was the time factor,” she said.
“I didn’t get to spend much time I would like with family and friends because I had to commit a lot of time to the work needed to make sure that I studied hard.
“There were also times that I felt like giving up especially the hard work that I had to go through and the restless nights.
“[But] the main thing that kept me going was the support from my family and friends which made me believe that I could do it.
“The support from the senior doctors as well encouraged me. “They are the ones who drove me to strive for the best and pushed me to become a better person.” Ms. Pouono is from a family of five. She is 27 years old and is the daughter of Asuao Kirifi and Judy-Anne Pouono. She has two brothers and she hails from the villages of Si’usega and Siumu.