Kevin and Kinsey Brown, recent BYU-Hawaii graduates from Idaho and California, both set their sights on dental and medical school after falling in love during their time at BYUH. They shared how their academic journey had been challenging, but how it’s possible to achieve your goals and embrace the aloha spirit at the same time.
Reflecting back on his schooling at BYUH, Kevin said “when I first got here I printed out the requirements for graduation and I put it on the wall and I thought, ‘Oh my gosh there are so many classes I have to take,’ and now that I’m done I’m like, ‘Wow I took all those classes?’ I never thought it would end this quick. Now it’s here it’s just like a slap in the face like, ‘You’re done!’
“You never know where life’s going to take you until you live through some of the trials that happen in college. Like failing classes or talking to people who are in the profession you wanted to go in and finding out it’s maybe not for you.”
Kevin and Kinsey Brown began and ended school together. Photo by Courtney Bow Nielsen
Literally every class together
Not every student dreams of attending BYUH, such as Kinsey. She said she “didn’t want to be part of that stereotype, but as I got older, I was like, ‘Oh wait, college is actually really expensive,’ and I wanted to attend universities in California, but I applied here because it’s really cheap, and it’s very beautiful.
“I was part of a Polynesian dance team at my school, so I learned how to do Hula and Tahitian dance back there. I already had an appreciation for Hawaiian culture before I even came here. So, when I got in, I was super excited.”
Kevin said he knew he was going to a BYU school, but at BYU-Idaho, the no-shorts rule was a huge turn off for him. “I’m a shorts kind of guy. Idaho was too cold. I didn’t want to put up with a Rexburg winter, so Hawaii was the next best thing. My dad went here, and my sister graduated from here, so it’s kind of just been in the family.”
Kevin explained how his decision to come to BYUH lead him to meet his wife, Kinsey. “I served my mission in Brazil, so I already spoke fluent Portuguese, but the day before classes started, I just got this impression I should sign up for Spanish 101, even though everything is the same, and I already knew everything in class already… when I got to class, [Kinsey] sat down right next to me… and just had me in her grasp.”
Both Kevin and Kinsey also noticed they had religion together, as well. She shared, “We saw each other as we sat across the room in our religion class, and he kept looking at me. We kept looking at each other and then he came up to me after class and asked if I had bought the textbook yet for Spanish and I said no… We were talking with each other and walking to our next class, and then he was like, ‘Oh do you have class right here?’ and I was like, ‘Yeah’ and we took out our schedules, and we found out that we literally had every class together.”
Kinsey continued, “After that, we saw each other every day and we thought we could be study buddies since all of our classes were the same. It took a week to start dating. It was God just being like, ‘Hey, you guys should really get married.”
Kevin smiled and said, “Yeah it was like a flag saying, ‘She’s the one.’”
Kevin and Kinsey were married in July 2016. Photo by Brittany Jarman
Assistant professor of biology, Spencer Ingley, had both Kevin and Kinsey in his class within two semesters of each other. He shared how he had good experiences teaching and getting to know them, having taught two classes to both of them.
“That’s a cool thing about being here at BYUH… we have small class sizes, and our departments are really small,” said Ingley. “So, with people like Kevin and Kinsey, we end up seeing [them in] multiple classrooms. You see them in different contexts inside the classroom and outside. You get to know them more as a person.”
“It was interesting to see how different she and Kevin were, but also how complimentary they were,” Ingley added. “Kinsey has a lot of spunk, and she isn’t afraid to jump in and lay it out for everybody. Kevin always had this respectful polite way about him, and I thought it was always funny seeing him in the halls with Kinsey. They were playful and lovey-dovey. It was cool seeing a different side of Kevin.
“In my interactions with them, it seems they bring out very good characteristics in one another. You can tell they are a team, or they are on each other’s team. They are cheering for each other, rooting for each other, and they coordinate their plans and life goals so they can move in unison.”
Advice from Kevin and Kinsey
One thing Kevin advised to other students to do was island hop. Speaking of those spontaneous inter-island vacations, he said, “Those are the best trips because you’re not expecting anything so whatever happens is just fun. Just remember to take in the culture here because you won’t get that anywhere else in the world.”
Kevin added, “Embrace the aloha spirit of Hawaii and saying aloha at church because you won’t get that anywhere.”
With enthusiasm, Kinsey invited students to “go out and have fun more. We’re all here for school (which is why I would focus on my classes), but do something fun every week. It’s hard because now we’re trying to cram all our Hawaii adventures into the month we have left out here.”
It is just as important to relax, Kevin cautioned, as it is to not stress out. “It’s going to be worth it and everything always works out, no matter what. Don’t let your schooling get in the way of your education. You’re getting an education no matter what happens, whether it’s learning life lessons or learning inside the classroom.”
Goals after college
With feelings of accomplishment, Kevin and Kinsey look to the future.
Smiling, Kevin let out a big happy sigh and said, “I’m just ready to be done with school for a while. We’re really sad to leave Hawaii because it’s a really nice place and the culture is great.
“I’m trying to get into Loma Linda University in California for dental school. I have to study for the Dental Admissions Test (DAT), and they recommend at least 2-3 months of studying to be prepared for the test. It also costs $450 to take. Every application to every school costs money, plus buying plane tickets and hotel rooms for interviews to those schools. So I will be doing summer sales in Atlanta to help pay for it all. We leave on June 26. We are shipping our vehicle to Seattle and then driving across the country to get there.”
Kinsey shared, when it came to her education, she hit the ground running, and life afterwards won’t be much different. “I decided I wanted to just get in and get out so I could go to professional school to get a good job. It doesn’t feel like I’m done with school because I know I’ll have 11 more years of school if I go to medical school.
“My goal is to own a home someday. By the time we’re like 70 years old, we’ll be in La Jolla, California after all our debt is paid off [from] school. We like traveling so that is one of our goals to travel more. We are going into different professions, but it would be fun to have a little side business together. My goal is [also] to always say mahalo and aloha, even in church, on the mainland.”
The Browns now plan to futher their education in dental and PA school. Photo by Courtney Bow Nielsen