Lagaau is not like most girls her age. Sure, like any other teenager she enjoys music, sports, spending time with friends and family and planning/organising things, but through her life Lagaau has had to overcome a great many difficulties “I have gone through depression at one point in life and it was one of the hardest and darkest times of my life. I would never go through a day without crying. I would cry every morning when I’m in bed, every night when I’m going to sleep, and every time I had time to myself. I constantly had distressing thoughts when I’m out of home, especially in school.”
Lagaau is currently in year 11 at Woodridge State High School and is finding school “really hard and challenging”. Not having all the resources you need for school at home is a great struggle for any student, but combined with leaving your homeland and everyone you know to adapt to a new life would be a great burden on many people. “Having to leave my home country, Samoa, at the age of 10, for New Zealand was very heartbreaking. Having to leave everyone I knew and adapting to a new life and environment was hard. Not knowing how to speak English and constantly moving schools four years in a row, a different school each year, slowed my education down even more.”
But despite such hardships and difficulties with the English language, Lagaau is driven to work hard for what she wants. “School motivates me to keep going and keep doing the best I can. It reminds me that everything is possible when we put our hearts and minds into it and that there is always a way to achieve a goal. It may not come as we expected, but as we work hard, we will eventually achieve it.”
When asked about her goals for schooling Lagaau said proudly that she is “hoping to pass all my subjects by the end of the school year and have a great work network after I graduate high school.” After school, she aims to attend University to study a bachelor degree in Social Work or a double degree in Behavioral Science (Psychology) and Social Work.
With such a profound interest in social work, Lagaau told us that she aims to be a social worker focusing on young people in high schools or a mentor at an NRL club. “I am passionate about helping young people and I love helping others whenever I can. I love putting a smile on someone’s face and I do this by joking with them, sharing my experiences with them, and helping them with whatever they need.”
Through her hardships, Lagaau has learned many life lessons that she wishes to share with others. “Through the time of my distressing thoughts, I kept reminding myself not to harm myself. I kept asking myself ‘Why would I do this to myself?, ‘What would my family and the people around me feel?’. But I always knew that life is way more precious than anything else. I always knew that this dark hour of my life will change me in how I see others and will turn me into a stronger person than I was before. Never forget that you will become a better and stronger person in the end and that you will inspire others through your experience. It is never too late to change your current mindset. Facing difficulties or hardships will not bury us down but rather make us stronger than what we can ever imagine.”
Such profound words from a young woman in grade 11. Lagaau’s story is a powerful example that you can overcome anything, and like the JTWomenToLead motto says ‘Girls Can Do Anything’.
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