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Discipline of Computing, Information and Mathematical Sciences

Harnesh Solanki Wins Joint Information Systems Gold Medal

Harnesh Solanki from Suva won the gold medal in Information Systems. We sat down for an interview.

Please tell us about yourself. Where are you from and what were the factors that led you to study Information Systems at USP?
It has always been a challenge to talk about myself as currently I have not achieved anything big, but anyway I am a simple guy from Suva, just recently graduated and working at BSP Life as an analyst programmer. To be honest, I was really confused and totally undecided about my career path. In high school I did pure science for 2 days, then I moved to pure arts class and after 7 weeks of studying pure arts, I moved back to pure science class again, so you might already have an idea of how confused I was. So anyway there are absolutely no factors that led me to study Information Systems at USP apart from the growing IT field in Fiji. Actually, I wanted to become a pharmacist but that field was already flooded in Fiji so just did CS/IS at USP and I’m really glad that I studied that.

What is the criteria with which you got the Gold Medal?

Highest GPA in Information Systems.

What motivated you to work towards the Gold Medal?
My sister, Vanisha Solanki, motivated me to work towards the Gold Medal – she is my role model. I am following her foot steps for quite a long time now. She got a knowledge lamp in class 8, hence when i came to class 8, i also achieved a knowledge lamp. She became a mentor at USP and I  also got the opportunity to become a mentor, and finally now this gold medal. She was awarded a gold medal, and now here I am with a gold medal this year. So I have just been following her foot steps for quite a long time, adopting all her good qualities and trying to give my 100% in each and every task.

What strategies you had for exam preparation and assignments?
I cannot recall any specific strategies, but I liked to study on my own for exams. I did not enjoy studying in a group because most of the time we end up talking with friends instead of studying. Group studying should be effective but sadly it was not effective in my case but if I had to clarify something or got stuck somewhere I used to call my friends and discuss the problem over the phone.

For assignments it was totally the opposite. I loved doing assignments in groups, but anyway we had no choice because in year 2 and 3 most of our assignments were group assignments, so it was fun doing assignments in a group. Also when many people are working on the same assignment, better ideas are generated more easily hence the assignment is done properly.

What challenges you had during your studies?
I did not face any major challenges during my studies, just minor issues of not being able to understand the concept being taught in the courses and this was easily solved by clarifying with the lectures/tutors or searching on the internet. Additionally, I just hated those days when I used to get headaches because of lack of sleep but this used to be my fault as I was not able to manage my time well sometimes, hence, being loaded up with assignments and studies, and then just surviving the whole day on 3 or 4 hours of sleep and looking like a zombie in uni.

What was the response for you family and community after receiving this award?
They were really happy when they got to learn that I am receiving a gold medal in information systems. At the same time they were feeling really proud that I was able to fulfill one of their dreams. Their expectation was really high as my sister was also awarded with a gold medal in finance in the 2012 so they expected me to achieve a gold medal also. So when I told them the good news, my family and community were really happy and we had a small celebration at home.

What message you have for other students who are about to graduate?
Just try to avoid last minute studying and assignmenting because most of the time we get loaded with exams and assignments in week 7 or week 8 so its just better to start with assignments once we get it. Also create your own timetable and to do list, this way you will be able to manage your time well.

Finally, remember to ask this question to your own-self, “Are your EXCUSES more important than your DREAMS?” and always keep in your mind that god will surely reward you one day for all the hard-work you have put into your studies.

Do you have plans for postgraduate study and research?
Yep, most likely I will start with my postgraduate from next semester. I did not start this semester because I wanted to find a proper job for myself first, that is, settle well in the industry first and then resume studies from next semester.

What are your career goals?
I wish to obtain a position within an organization that will enable me to utilize my educational background, willingness to learn and ability to work well with people. I am looking for an opportunity where I can complement my knowledge and contribute my best to the organization to attain its goals and fulfill its objective



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