Thursday, October 4, 2018
Today I had a great opportunity to meet students from Aotearoa and Waianae High School. Big mahalos to Dr. Kiana Frank for putting together such a cool opportunity for these kids to come together and do some mālama at Papahana Kuaola. I hope you guys had a great time and made lifelong friends – and I hope you get to visit each other one day down the road!
I felt a little weird having to talk about my journey through STEM, because I never really feel that special. Like my journey isn’t much different from other people. But then I have to stop myself and realize that maybe my journey isn’t that much different from my friends here in Hawaiʻi, but to the rest of the world it might actually be different!
It was so amazing to see those friendships being built, and the sharing of language and cultures. I got chicken skin at the end when I watched all of you doing the closing protocols. You’re all so deeply rooted in your own cultures, and carry it wherever you go, and it’s a part of everything you do every day. It’s so amazingly beautiful and refreshing to see.
I really enjoyed meeting and talking with every single one of the students. They are all trying to figure out what it is they’re passionate about – and I remember going through that. It can be suuuper frustrating trying to figure it out, especially when there is always an adult asking you what you plan on majoring in and all kinds of crazy questions about your future you just haven’t figured out yet. But even though it can be super frightening, it can also be super fun. You’ll make mistakes, and you’ll feel insecure, but everything happens for a reason, right?
I hope that after today, every single one of you feel like you are capable of going to college. You. Can. Do. It. I can’t stress it enough: if Dr. Kiana, Dr. Wela and I did it, so can you. You have so many people who care about you and want you to succeed, and with that support I KNOW that you guys can do it. We’ll be there to give you that push of motivation when you’re feeling down, we’ll be there with a helping hand to pick you up. It’s ok if you don’t want to go to college. But don’t decide you aren’t going because you don’t think you can do it…because I promise you, you can. And I hope that you’ll at least give it a try before deciding you don’t want to do it. What’s that saying? “Give it the good old college try“? It’s really not as bad as you think it is. The foods good. Classes start later. You can work and make money and finally have money!!
And for reals, let me know if you need help writing applications to college, finding scholarships, finding a mentor in a field you’re interested in, or just wanna talk more about what school is like. If you don’t wanna talk to me, that’s cool too, I can find another grad student who would be just as willing to sit down and help you with whatever you need. We need kids like you to fill the shoes that are being emptied by a generation of folks who are entirely different from us. It’s time to fill those shoes with people like you who are so deeply rooted in our culture, and who will have the knowledge to make important financial, geological, medical kinds of decisions that shape our ʻĀina and the lāhui.
I’m rooting for you. We’re all rooting for you.