4,967 miles from home


Photo Courtesy Dan Mangum

Sky Diving over the North Shore of Oahu earlier this year.

Growing up in New York most of my high school classmates went to colleges in the Northeast. Anyone who dared venture out to somewhere as far as California seemed to be taking a risk. Risk is often deemed in a negative light but taking risks is what allows us to grow as individuals and even more importantly as a society. I am very lucky to have taken the risk to leave New York for Hawaii and would urge others to get out of their comfort zones as growing is the greatest feeling in the world.

Chaminade University was the first school to offer me a scholarship, which was a huge help in the beginning stages of convincing my parents to let me take this risk. For any mother, sending their child far away from home can be nerve-wracking, especially when it’s your youngest son who had a habit of losing focus in school whenever the sun came out in New York. For her it was a risk as well and she needed to be reassured that things would be alright.

I’m not sure if the next event that took place was just a simple Facebook algorithm or if it was a sign for something greater. My grandma on my dad’s side was a teacher and always wanted to know what my plans were for college. She was very passionate for my education. Unfortunately, she passed away before I got to make my decision. But when my mother was on Facebook one night, she received a message to invite my grandmother to like the Chaminade Facebook page. For her, that was a sign that my grandmother would have approved of me choosing Chaminade.

Now that I am finishing up my third year and getting ready to start my senior year I am confident to say my grandmother would be very happy with the decision I made to attend a school so far away from home.

Chaminade is a school filled with various cultures that truly open up your mind to different ways of thinking. In particular, the Hawaiian culture and history is an interesting one that seems to be ignored on the mainland.  The culture is filled with many valuable lessons. For example, aloha means to work with everyone in the present to create positive energy. Although this is something I was taught through the Hawaiian culture, it is something I can bring back and share with my friends in New York.

I have also been introduced to all walks of life. In my immediate friend group I have made great friends from Australia, Nigeria, Norway and everywhere in-between. Each of these individuals come from a different place and all share different ideas that help us  grow.

In addition to the culture and people I have met, Hawaii has helped me become a healthier and happier person. In New York, once winter hit I would go into hibernation mode. In Hawaii, with the constant sunshine I always have an opportunity to explore and connect with nature. Every weekend I go for a swim in the Pacific Ocean. To me, the ocean is a perfect symbol for life and the lessons I have learned about leaving home. From the shoreline the ocean looks very peaceful; however once you’re out in the water you are bound to get knocked over by a few waves, but as long as you keep swimming and fighting you will have had a great time and will have gotten stronger.

Sometimes being so far away from family and friends can be difficult but I know that it has turned me into a more independent confident individual, and because of that I would urge others to go far away and experience new places.