Joseph Hafoka is not sure if law is in his blood, but it’s a career he’s harboured from a young age.
The Deer Park resident is on his way after accepting a first-round offer to study for a double degree of law and business at Victoria University.
He’s also been awarded a scholarship with Melbourne-based law firm Hall & Wilcox.
Making the achievement all the more momentous, Mr Hafoka will be the first member of his family since his great-grandfather to attend university.
“I’m of Pacific Islander descent, Mr Hafoka said. “It’s not common for people of my background to do things like this, but it’s something I’ve always wanted to do.
“My great-grandfather was also a lawyer. I’m not sure if it’s in my blood, but I’ve always loved law – it’s all I’ve ever wanted to do.”
Mr Hafoka, who attended Victoria University Secondary College, admits he’s nervous about the new chapter in his life, but also excited.
“The scholarship with Hall & Wilcox is a really fantastic networking opportunity and it excites me that I have this chance to really set up my career while I study,” he said.
Although he’s never lost sight of his dream, Mr Hafoka said he had to fight stigma along the way.
“I had lots of people tell me that because I’m Pacific Islander, I wasn’t capable of achieving this,” he said.
“I just want to tell people that they shouldn’t stop believing in themselves.
“There will be people that will tell you you’re not up for it or you can’t do something – but it’s not them that will get you where you want, it’s yourself.”