Careers

Lawyer Serukai Sets Mindset To Conquer All Challenges

“Have people in your life who can teach you new things every day. Remember to never forget your humble beginnings, be loyal and to never let yesterday’s disappointments overshadow tomorrow’s dreams. ” - Susan Serukai.
19 Jul 2019 16:21
Lawyer Serukai Sets Mindset To Conquer All Challenges
Susan Serukai (middle) with colleagues at the Suva Court.

From the start Susan Serukai developed a mindset to conquer challenges.

The 29-year-old lawyer faced a lot of challenges but with her determined mindset and family, she is where she is today.

For one thing, she did not allow challenges to dampen her spirit.

She was employed as a Legal Officer in the Office of the Director of Public Prosecutions (ODPP) Fiji before she flew out to Nauru on Tuesday and yesterday it was her first day as Legal Officer in ODPP Nauru.

“It was tough when my mother left us at a crucial time when I needed her the most at the age of two,” Miss Serukai said.

“My father struggled but was assisted by my grandmother and his other three brothers. This challenge taught me to love others unconditionally despite what wrong they’ve done.

“During my final year in law school I had to look after my bedridden grandmother during her last days. My times with friends were limited.

“But that was fine because it taught me about discipline and time management while under pressure with deadlines concerning assignments and exam presentations.

Inner Peace

“Despite the challenges, I focused on the good despite the hard and difficult times. I prayed so hard seeking inner peace and focusing on self-love and care, learning to take a break when the mind, body and soul are exhausted.”

Miss Serukai hails from Vaturua village in Nakelo, Tailevu and she graduated from the University of the South Pacific in 2014.

She is the second lawyer in her village, the first is her uncle, Anare Tuilevuka.

“I now reside in Nauru to continue my career as a prosecutor in another country,” she said.

True Blessing

“This opportunity is a true blessing from the Man above. Additionally my loving father’s support, incredible family and friends made this move easier.

“I’m also grateful to the Fijians in Nauru who welcomed me as soon as I arrived. And I look forward to working in this beautiful country. I’m thrilled about the new and bigger challenges that lie ahead.

“I represent the state, meaning I represent the people of this country when it comes to prosecuting. Fighting for victims of crime carries a special kind of fire to be their voice.

“Being the voice of a rape victim, or a family of a deceased who was unlawfully killed is what gives me the drive. I can sleep in peace knowing that from 8am – 5pm, I’ve helped someone out there.”

Susan Serukai (right) at work.

Susan Serukai (right) at work.

Path Change

Miss Serukai had initially offered a place to study to be an aircraft pilot in Sydney, Australia. However, her visa was rejected because she had not completed the prerequisite units in foundation.

“Paths and dreams changed so I opted for law school. Proud to say that when one door closes, another will open. Here I am,” she said.

“I conducted a trial with complex issues to deal with, and that took a toll on me. I took a step back, regrouped and continued.

“I figured that being angry, frustrated and stressed will not solve anything. Patience, humility and dedication must carry on, despite how heavy the workload gets.

“I prefer to work in an environment that applies pressure because my abilities are put to the test and that’s when new challenges arise and that is when it becomes exciting.

“That kind of experience is one you can carry with you in your career path knowing you can take whatever task is given to you.

Work Comes First

“Work usually comes first. I must admit, I am still trying to balance the two. It’s a challenge on its own.”

The St Josephs Secondary School alumnae includes outdoor activities as part of her hobbies; she is also into hiking, marathons, relaxing on the beach, swimming, cooking and baking.

“I have a lot of people to thank who have helped me reach this far especially my father Paulo Serukai who being a single parent, a Military Officer, and an aircraft pilot literally taught me to have fun in everything I do.

“He was not strict at all. He guided me and supported me in every decision I made and still does.

“My late grandmother Salome Rokotuilakeba who taught me that I can’t trust or rely on anyone and she would say: ‘You have to paddle your own canoe’.

“Silipa Dakunimata and family who guided me through my spiritual journey since I was a child. She taught me to be always be grateful through the good and bad times.

“Also the principal legal officer, Eastern division ODPP Fiji, Yogesh Prasad who taught me about the laws of Fiji, legal principles and techniques to handle complex cases like murder, aggravated robbery and so forth.

“Eventually he taught me how to train Police prosecutors in their Basic and Advance trainings, one thing he would say: ‘Be a troubleshooter’.

“Learned judges of the bench who I appeared before molded me to do the best that I can be when orders needed to be complied with and when it comes to conducting trials.

“My colleagues Shirley Tivao and Lavenia Bogitini, they taught me about competing in a work environment and encouraging each other in every step of the way.

“It was never about going against each other; it was all about growing together in our career.

“I have friends who deeply influenced my life and they are Losalini Rabaka, Veena Prasad and Natalyn Lakhan. They taught me that life is like a train and you have to get on it and move forward.”

Her advice: “Have people in your life who can teach you new things every day. Remember to never forget your humble beginnings, be loyal and to never let yesterday’s disappointments overshadow tomorrow’s dreams.”

Feedback: wati.talebula@fijisun.com.fj

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