CUH Students Reflect on 1st Semester Completely Back On Campus


Adora Erguiza

Adora Erguiza (bottom right) and Peyton Oshiro’s (top right) friends gather for a selfie as in-person instruction allows students to reunite once again.

As Chaminade’s Fall 2021 semester comes to a close, many accomplishments, events, and changes occurred throughout these past three and a half months. Face-to-face interaction restored, student life increased, Pacific Island Review performed to a live audience for the first time in two years, and the Chaminade women’s volleyball team became the PacWest conference champions. As of Nov. 30, the university’s Covid-19 vaccination rate is at 93% for fully vaccinated students and 98% for fully vaccinated employees. 

While all of these feats warrant praise and celebration, each individual Silversword also has their own experiences to reflect upon and evaluate. I set out to ask students how recovering from a pandemic and returning to fully in-person instruction went for them. 

“I’m actually doing pretty well,” Peyton Oshiro, a third-year Business Administration major, said. “I think it helps that I’m in person. I was just used to waking up and logging onto Zoom, but now I actually have to go to school and see people. That was a big change. I was anxious at first, but I’m good now.”

Oshiro said he’s proud of himself for making new friends, and as he looks forward to spring semester, he wants to become more active in the Silversword community. 

“I think I want to get more involved by going to more events on campus and possibly getting an on-campus job so I can give back to the school,” Oshiro said. 

Lorraine Skelton, a freshman in Criminal Justice, also had positive sentiments when discussing her semester. 

“It was a good experience,” Skelton, a Makiki native, said. “It was more easy than I thought [it would be]. I’m expecting next semester to be harder.” 

Skelton strives to be more organized next semester, and fellow first-year William Kim of Saipan also aimed for similar goals to stay successful in his academic life. 

Kim, whose major is Data Science, said he’s “really happy” he came to Chaminade. Although he had other universities in mind, Chaminade was the one who offered him the most scholarship money. The pandemic caused both his parents to lose their jobs, so financially they were unable to support his education. 

“We had it hard for awhile,” Kim said. “My parents said they couldn’t pay for anything, any college or university I went to, so I had to come on my own. I’m glad Chaminade gave me a full-ride.”

The Saipan native said his first semester at Chaminade was challenging, but overall a great experience. He’s proud of himself for staying and not dropping out.

“Academically, it was pretty hard,” Kim said. “It was my first semester as a college student, but it was still fun. I’m learning new stuff, and I hope I can learn more.”

Second-year Psychology major Alex Hernandez agreed that the semester was hard. Hernandez said that the pandemic affected his study habits, but now that he’s in person, he’s happy to have made the transition.

 “It was stressful,” Hernandez said, “and it was difficult in the sense that I got used to online, but I’m glad to be back in person.”

Hernandez, a Guam native, went on to mention he’s proud he was able to live on his own and be independent since he stayed home for his first year of college due to the pandemic. 

Adora Erguiza, a fourth-year Elementary Education major with a minor in Psychology, also stayed at home in Guam for the duration of the pandemic. She recounts coming back to Oahu for school feeling energized and excited to be around others again. 

“I definitely changed in wanting to be around people and essentially kind of craving it,” Erguiza said, “just for the sake of feeling like I missed out on a lot in my junior year being away. I could’ve had the opportunity to meet new people [or] bond with my people that I already knew, but on a deeper level of just being classmates or people I see in the hall.”

Erguiza continued by saying she had high expectations to perform well academically.

“I went into this semester being very determined, very focused, very ambitious in telling myself, ‘You cannot mess this up.’ because it’s my senior year,” Erguiza said. “I think I was too hard on myself, looking back on it now.”

The Guam native said her momentum began to fade toward the middle of the semester. 

“Around October I started to decline just because so many things were happening with work, with life, and with school,” Erguiza said. “It just felt very overwhelming. And as a result of that, all I wanted to do was sleep and check out.”

When asked what improvements she wished to incorporate into her spring semester, Erguiza emphasized her desire to take better care of her mental health. 

“I should’ve gone to the counseling center,” she said. “I told myself that I would, because I recognized that I needed more help on an emotional and mental level. Coming from a professional, they’re trained to try and help you work through your thoughts to help you realize it’s not as bad as we feel like it is and what we’re feeling is valid. Implementing that into next semester is definitely going to be something I put more focus on.”

Rocco Deangelo, a third-year Silversword studying cellular and molecular biology, also kept busy this semester juggling several responsibilities and commitments. While admitting he was stressed at times, he said he loved being back in class with his classmates and instructors.

“My first semester back fully in-person had plenty of ups and downs,” Deangelo said. “Transitioning back to in-person class put me back on a set schedule with so much to do. I’ve been balancing school, work, and a social life which has put plenty of stress on me and I’m sure [the same goes for] other students.” 

Deangelo, originally from Burlington, North Carolina, said he’s been working hard to succeed, putting countless hours into his courses. The majority of his time is split between homework and work. 

“When I’m not working, I’m with my friends who keep me from going insane,” Deangelo said. 

The Cellular and Molecular Biology major said his favorite moment of the semester was a review game of Trivial Pursuit with his comparative anatomy class to bond together outside and study for their final, learning in an environment where things felt “a little more normal.” 

“It just feels so good to get together as a class, having the opportunity to laugh and learn in person,” Deangelo said. “This semester has been full of amazing moments filled with amazing peers and professors.”