As Fall 2017 BYU-Hawaii graduates stood in line at the Aloha Center waiting to enter the CAC for the graduation commencement on Dec. 15, they shared their post-graduation plans and how important it was to not only focus on studies during their college career.
Patrick Campbell, an accounting graduate from Arizona, said, “You spend your whole time in classes working, studying, library, and it’s nice to get acknowledged.”
Campbell shared his appreciation for LDS Apostle Ronald A. Rasband’s attendance. “I think it shows how much the church values education and how important they see us as future generations of leaders, citizens of the world, and members of the church–getting our education, going out into the world, being the genuine gold, going forth to serve.”
Cary Baldwin, a business management marketing graduate from Utah, expressed, “I feel excited. It’s been a long time working towards it, and it’s interesting cause I used to work for the Registrar’s Office. I would help with every graduation and would always see all the students getting ready, and then here it is - my turn.
“It’s fun to see everybody who’s graduating and I think it’s cool [to have] a ceremony to recognize all the hard work that we’ve done for the last four years.”
Sporting a Guatemalan flag around his shoulders and over his cap, Antonio Cardona, a business graduate from Guatemala, said, “I am very excited! It’s great to see that I finally made it.” He wore the flag “to represent my country and my people. I am happy to see all of my friends being able to accomplish their dreams, and this is one more step in our lives.”
Jacqueline Ayala Hernandez, a business associates graduate from Guatemala, said, “I feel very honored and humble, and especially being from Guatemala, having this opportunity, it was not easy for me to leave home and to come here, graduate, and achieve my goals.”
Hernandez shared one of her goals is to go back home to help children in her country to get a better education. “As I achieve my goals, I can help them.”
In regards to her family, she added, “I am going to be a great example for my siblings to see me graduating and going in the right way.” Ayala said she is now applying to BYU-Idaho in hopes to get her bachelor’s degree.
Eva Gomez, an art graduate in painting from Austria, said she started school with her husband and they both graduated together. She explained how it was difficult during their last year of school because they had a baby. “It was really difficult but worth it. It was really nice doing it together as a couple. My husband always helped me to stay motivated and to do my best, even when it was really hard sometimes.
“Graduating together feels like a really big accomplishment, and I feel proud of my husband so much. I feel very emotional and excited.”
Her husband José Francisco Gómez Masis, a political science and peacebuilding graduate from Costa Rica, said, “If I wasn’t working or studying, I was taking care of our baby and so was she. It was a process of sacrificing, helping my spouse, and learning how to serve each other.” He advised married couples who consider having children while in school to “follow the Spirit. If you feel like having a child, even though you are studying, still do it because you are going to learn a lot from it. At the same time, it requires so much sacrifice and overcoming challenges, but at the end it’s so worth it.”
Taylor Osborne, from Idaho, shared how during his college career, he got his associates at BYUI. He later attended BYU Jerusalem and came to BYUH to graduate in business management. “It has been so wonderful–the people that you get to be with, the education that you get … and the environment that you get to receive it in.” He said he has thought about working towards a master’s degree at BYU at Provo to experience all four of the universities.
Andrew Leng, a biochemistry graduate from Oregon, said, “I feel good. I am ready to move on with my life and achieve my goals.” When he was asked about the challenge of majoring in biochemistry, he replied with a joke saying, “It’s not tough as long as you live in the library. I feel like my degree just states that I’ve lived in the library too long.” After some laughs, he shared his plans to stay in Oahu to work and then go to med school in November 2018.
Baldwin shared advice for those who are starting college: “Make as many friends as you can. Just don’t stress too much. School is important, but there’s so much more you can learn besides the academic part of your university experience.
“Get involved, meet new people, go to all the activities, join the different clubs, and just enjoy it because it really goes by so fast. And then before you know it, it’s your turn. You’re going to miss it. You’re never going to have this opportunity again to be a student.”
Osborne shared, “I started college in 2011 and I prolonged it because I absolutely love college. It's been so much fun. I feel like people who don’t enjoy college didn’t take the opportunity to enjoy it. They put … too much focus just in studies. That is crucial, important, and necessary, but you missed out on a whole unique part of life that only lasts three to six years. It’s a time in life that you will never ever get again.”
NOTE: This article was unable to be uploaded sooner because of technical difficulties with the Ke Alaka'i website. We apologize for its late publication.