Toetu Fatu Lafoai

Toetu Fatu Lafoai

Master of Analytics student
Bachelor of Science in Applied Mathematics and Computer Science

He enjoys the many great connections he has made over his years at AUT, says Toetu Fatu Lafoai who came to AUT to study a Bachelor of Science and is now enrolled in a Master of Analytics.

“The connections I’ve made with my classmates, student ambassadors and AUT staff have supported me with both my academic and personal journey throughout university. The student ambassadors were the first people I met when I arrived at AUT. They were students who volunteered to help new students settle in and prepare them for their university journey. This made my first day at university less anxious and more exciting. I greatly appreciated the idea of an experienced university student taking time off to help new students.”

Now a senior student, he enjoys working as a student ambassador himself, helping other students have the best start to their university life.

“Upon receiving an invitation to be a student ambassador, I decided to take on the role and I believe it has been one of the most important decisions of my life. I enjoy being able to lead and make new connections around the university. I’ve always been an introvert and my experience with the ambassadors has significantly changed that for me. I managed to break through that barrier that was always in front of me and was privileged enough to become one of the senior student ambassadors of AUT.”

Finding his passion
Currently studying a Master of Analytics, Toetu says he discovered his passion for mathematics when he was in high school.

“In my early school years, I despised mathematics. However, a pivotal point of my life was around my late high school years back in Samoa when I realised that mathematics plays a huge role in our comprehension of reality.

“Ever since then I was passionate about pursuing a career in mathematics, and conveniently the Bachelor of Science at AUT offered two of the most well-known branches of mathematics; applied mathematics and computer science. My transition to university from high school was an intimidating one, especially because my entire education life was in a different country. At the time, I was looking for a more friendly and exciting environment that would motivate me to pursue my chosen career. It was only a Google search away that my world and AUT collided.”

It's a decision he certainly hasn’t regretted.

“There are many passionate lecturers at AUT who are willing to transfer their knowledge to their students and will break a concept down to its core for you to understand. There is also a lot of support offered by course coordinators, including tutorials, office hours and many other resources. Once I finish my master’s degree, I’d love to pursue a career in the world of data science, engineering or anything that deals with mathematical and statistical analysis.”

Advice for other students
Now in his fourth year at AUT, Toetu has some great advice for other students.

“My advice is to never be afraid to ask questions, and don’t suffer in silence. My other piece of advice is to keep in mind that you will only truly fail once you’ve given up.”

He also has some sound advice around finding your career path.

“Discover which career you’re most passionate about in life and then pursue it! This is better than blindly following a trending career path or a career that you find no interest in. One of my favourite motivational quotes is, ‘Whatever challenge comes your way will be but a steppingstone of your journey.’ by Marcus Aurelius.”