Opinion: Hawaii Gives a New Perspective


Olivia Crigler

Hunakai Beach is one of my favorite places to unwind and take in the beauty of Hawaii.

I arrived to Hawaii the weekend before the first day of school in August, super excited at this new adventure. I was flying in from Kentucky with both parents, and we were staying in Waikiki.

But suddenly, during a dinner at a Thai restaurant there, I started crying. I was afraid. Fears of being so far away from home and restarting my entire life out here running were through my mind.

Looking back now, I feel a little silly about that moment because moving from Kentucky to Hawaii, while was one of the hardest decisions I have ever made, has also been the best decision I have ever made. Hawaii has given me a new perspective on life. It has been scary and there have been some tough moments, but I would make the decisions I have again every time. This will be a highlight of my life, and I can look back at this time and be grateful I made the decision to move. 

Signing my commitment letter to Chaminade University to play basketball. (Photo by Olivia Crigler)

For the first two weeks of the semester, though, I regretted coming out here. I was deeply homesick. I am from Hebron, a town with a population of less than 7,000, in Northern Kentucky. I grew up always wanting to get out of my town and comfort zone. Every day felt the exact same, and I attended school with the same people since preschool. I was craving to see the world and create a new life.

Hawaii was always a place I had wanted to visit, but I had never had the opportunity to go here. During the process of getting recruited to play basketball here, I did not have time to visit so I had to base my decisions on my interactions with coaches and players over the phone. The coach made me feel welcome and wanted so, I decided to sign with Chaminade sight unseen.

This is when the fear set in. What if I don’t like it? What if it is not what I had thought? What if I struggle to meet people? Will I get homesick? Kentucky and Hawaii are six time zones apart and over 4,000 miles away. This meant communicating with my parents and even them being able to watch my basketball games would be difficult. 

Once I was on campus, I was still full of anxiety. Sitting in my dorm room with my parents on their way home, I questioned why I felt I needed this big change. It took me about a week or two to begin to actually enjoy everything and where I was. I slowly began to meet people and put myself out there more and I got to see how campus and life worked.

After acclimating to the new lifestyle, people and athletics, every fear I had in the beginning drifted away. The best part of my Hawaii experience so far has been the friends and the people I have met on the island. I feel like a part of a big family and have been embraced by everyone. 

The natural beauty of Hawaii is unlike anything I have ever seen before. (Photo by Olivia Crigler)

My teammates are like the sisters I never had. They have shown me the natural beauty of the island and all the great local spots. I have been greeted graciously by the locals, and I am so proud to live here and to go to school at Chaminade. Every time I put on my basketball jersey, I want to be able to make the school and island proud. 

Some people never leave home and that is perfectly fine. In my case, it was necessary to expand. There is always an opportunity to move back home if things don’t work out. Why not take a chance at what else the world has to offer?

I went from fear and anxiety to the happiest I have ever been within a few months. Doing what is best for your own personal growth, even if it means leaving everything you know, can lead to some of the biggest growth you will experince. I have learned to appreciate the town I come from, but I know I want something more than what it can offer. Hawaii has taught me so many life lessons and I will forever be grateful for this. I cannot wait to continue this journey and take in the constant beauty of Hawaii.