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'Pay back those student loans!'

Sunday, August 25, 2019

Chevening scholar and University of the West Indies graduate Dainalyn Swaby is urging students who benefit from student loans to make the necessary sacrifices to repay so that others can access the facility.

Swaby is one of 19 young men and women who have copped Chevening scholarships to pursue masters degrees in the United Kingdom in the coming school year.

She was guest speaker at the 2019 Burger King Scholarship Awards Ceremony at Terra Nova All-Suite Hotel last Monday, where she addressed scholarship winners bound for university and high school. She told them she herself had been awarded a student's loan, and that she made a commitment to repay to offer others a similar opportunity, and “to honour my family's trust, confidence, and willingness to invest in me”.

Noting that she had heard many horror stories from university graduates about challenges to repay their loans, Swaby said that she was determined to pay as much and as quickly as possible when she began working and “felt overjoyed and accomplished” when she made her final payment.

“I'm not saying it's easy. Yes, we have to make sacrifices sometimes as it relates to spending on ourselves, but we must remember those coming behind us and those trusting us to uphold our end of the bargain,” she declared.

Dispensing tips from her own life experience, Swaby advised, “Manage your potential, focus on doing your best, pass your exams. Sometimes people around you can be very negative, virtually poisoning your water and creating a toxic environment. Surround yourself with persons who can support you, encourage you; friends you can study with.”

Further, she told the Burger King scholarship awardees and recipients of bursaries and book grants to “protect your energy — how you feel about yourself [and] how you allow people to make you feel”.

Swaby explained that while people often attempt to deter others from pursuing dreams based on negative experiences they themselves may have had, their advice shouldn't be taken seriously.

“Some people may mean you well but because of their experiences may discourage you; shoot down your dreams. Don't let them! You are the driver of your lives. Don't let anyone tell you who you can't be, and never apologise for who you are. You are on a pathway to greatness... Stepping into your potential is your decision. You don't have to ask anyone's permission,” she asserted.

Burger King this year presented $5.1 million in scholarships, grants and bursaries to primary, secondary, and high schools students at the 19th annual National Scholarship Awards.

Among the awardees were Ashalee Bailey — Lois Sherwood Bursary; Amica Gordon — Lois Sherwood Scholarship; Johari Douglas — Burger King Open Tertiary Scholarship; and Geraldine Allen — Burger King Open Tertiary Bursary; Quwayne Howell — Rondell Lake Scholarship; Shamarie Collins — Rondell Lake Grant; Jordan McRae — Primary Exit Profile (PEP) Book Grant; and Akeem Jackson — Lois Sherwood Arts Scholarship.