“The heights of great men reached and kept, were not attained by sudden flight, but they, while their companions slept, were toiling upward in the night” (Henry Longfellow). My UWI story is encapsulated in this quote as it proved to be a turbulent journey, one of navigating exhilarating highs and challenging lows.
I am a proud Vincentian, born in January of 1992 to Chiefton and Yvonne Charles. My appreciation and love for business and management began when I was accepted into the St. Vincent Boys Grammar School. Academic success continued as I attained all ten CXC subjects I pursued as well as the four subjects that I studied at the St. Vincent and the Grenadines Community College. Upon graduation from the college, I was employed at RBTT Bank St. Vincent Limited from 2010 to 2012. During this time, I learned much about the financial sector of the economy and the nature of business in St. Vincent and the Caribbean. This prompted me to pursue Management Studies at The UWI. The dream was to use the knowledge and experience obtained through this programme to impact the world.
Despite this dream, I realised that the difficulties of life can hinder one’s passion. Between 2011 and 2012, issues in my personal life as well as professionally, affected my pursuit of career development. It was during this period of my journey that my faith and family supported my strongest. Their continuous encouragement and love led me to realise that whatever I attained in life would not be self-achievement but a collective one. Their spiritual, emotional and financial support, lead me to make the decision to pursue tertiary education.
I learnt about the Franchise Agreement that UWI St. Augustine has with the St. Vincent and the Grenadines Community College whereby the first year of a Bachelor’s Degree could be done at the college. My family and I discussed the prospect since we were not financially able to finance an entire degree programme right away. We took advantage of that opportunity and I successfully completed the first year having studied and worked diligently. Having secured a Level One GPA of 4.17, I was awarded the UWI Open Scholarship which I consider a tremendous blessing since my family was not financially positioned to incur the additional university costs.
Thus began two memorable years at the St. Augustine campus. The memories that I cherish most from my time at UWI are the experiences of staying on Canada Hall, meeting and working with colleagues from across the Caribbean and participating in the International Study Exchange programme offered by UWI. The values shared while residing on hall helped to develop forward-thinking and preparation for community leadership. The opportunity to work with youthful Caribbean minds developed an appreciation for regional integration among the UWI students as I came to the consciousness that we all were working towards the same goal. Finally, I had the privilege of studying in Canada for one semester as part of the programme offered at the UWI International Office. The difference in cultures and education methods furthered my appreciation for integration from regional to a global perspective.
It is said that hindsight is 20-20, and looking back my life and all the experiences that have brought me to this point, I can only be grateful to God, my parents and loved ones for the journey thus far. And though I celebrate this wonderful achievement with those around me, I know that to whom much is given much is expected. So it is my desire to impact the world with the abilities given to me in order to provide better lives for those that I can inspire.