What students like about their part-time jobs

Written by: 
Helam Lau

Sunny Wong, a sophomore from Malaysia majoring in human resources, has worked as a Chinese multi-purpose tour guide in the Polynesian Cultural Center for 10 months since coming to Laie. He said he will work as a tour guide as long as he can.

He strongly recommended students who have courage to accept challenges to work as a tour guide. He said it helps a lot when you start working in the real world. “The only qualification is being willing to open up. They don’t want people who are shy. It requires me to think more and continuously seek for improvements. I don’t like jobs [where I’m] sitting for a long time.”

JOB DUTIES: “Our job is mainly to serve the tourists by bringing them around the PCC and explaining the cultures of the villages. We have to be familiar with the time and location of different activities and shows.”

UNFORGETTABLE EXPERIENCE: “There were two retired couples who were in my tour who might have had family problems. Some tourists come here to escape from the reality. I could tell from experience. I tried to talk to them and they opened up. We had a wonderful time and they invited me to come over to their house during the semester break.”

SKILL OBTAINED/ BENEFITS TO FUTURE CAREER: “I think it is one of the most beneficial jobs you could get in the PCC. People who you meet are connections that you can build. Within the four hours of a tour, you can build a relationship with people. The income of most of the tourists is above average and they have their own companies. I met supervisors and managers of the companies in the states.

“You get to interact with people every time you go to work; you have to talk with people. It is related to my major and contacts in the states, and connections that I made could be beneficial for my future career.”

WAGE: Minimum wage

WORK SCHEDULE: Work three days per week: Monday, Wednesday, and Friday; or Tuesday, Thursday, and Saturday. Shifts are either from 11 a.m.-5 p.m. or noon to 6 p.m.

TRAINING: “We have to get certified on how to give a tour on a canoe and [have] knowledge of the islands. Only male tour guides are required to learn how to push a canoe.

Wong said there is a written test, which is open book but with 100 questions. Three practical tests and three follows come afterwards, where you would partner with certified tour guides and then do 50 percent of the tour. At the end, you have to pass three out of five evaluations to be certified.

BOSS AND COLLEAGUES: “I have a strict but understanding manager ...but he actually takes care of people. Supervisors listen to our concerns. Every first week of the month, we have a meeting where our concerns would be taken care of by writing down things we are not satisfied with. They will contact us personally afterwards and try to resolve the problem.

“I have close relationships with my colleagues through working and helping each other.”


Gabriela Corbett, a junior from Washington D.C. majoring in peacebuilding, said she has worked as a student facilitator supervisor in the McKay Center for Intercultural Understanding for more than two semesters. It is also her favorite job compared to her other job as a Portuguese tutor in the Language Center. She is reapplying to keep the job.

JOB DUTIES: “I am responsible for the ‘Arbinger’ work, which is the name of a theory about how to see people and how your behavior can be more effective in expressing yourself.

“Basically, I plan workshops that could be held in different departments at school like Housing RA training, Language Center, classes, or even in the community. The workshop helps me to improve relationships of families, colleagues, and everyone.

“I also teach the student facilitators how to teach the peacebuilding skill as a supervisor. Part of the job is I am also a teaching assistant in the Peacebuilding 121 class.”

UNFORGETTABLE EXPERIENCE: “Last night, I was helping one of the students in the 121 class to understand one of the concepts. It was so rewarding to me how much it means to them. They said, ‘You are the best A ever.’ I really care about them and want them to have a good experience in the class.

“At the time, I had to teach the workshop, which lasts for five hours either on Friday night or Saturday morning, I felt like it was a sacrifice. But later I felt like a change of heart in myself when I heard the students saying, ‘I did not want to be here’ to ‘that was actually really good. Thank you. It was rewarding.’

“You will be involved in lots of awesome things and learn so much. I got sponsored to go to Israel to teach the Arbinger [method] because of the job.”

WAGE: Minimum wage

TIME SCHEDULE: Flexible, clock-in when you work, have to be committed for three semesters

QUALIFICATION TO APPLY: Must have taken or be taking the Peacebuilding 121 class in order to apply for this job and related positions. It is more applicable for a peacebuilding major or certificate.


Brian Wheeler, a junior from Hawaii majoring in information technology, has worked for the Academic Computer Labs Service as a consultant for more than a year and a half. It is his favorite job out of the three jobs he’s had as a college student. Previously he had worked as a concession worker at the PCC and a waiter at the Aloha Luau. “I am not going to quit the job.”

JOBS DUTIES: “We are in charge of the podiums in the classrooms, the computer lab in the Aloha Center, McKay Building and the library. We make sure they are working well. If they have any problems, we just go over to fix it.”

SKILLS OBTAINED/BENEFITS FOR FUTURE CAREER: “It helps a lot with my major rather than just learning how to do it. When I work for a company in the future where someone is having a problem with computers, I would know how to fix it because I had practical experiences. I am already doing my job before I graduate.”

WAGE: Minimum wage

FLEXIBILITY OF WORK SCHEDULE: “Same schedule throughout the whole semester. It’s convenient because you can work in between classes. Usually do not have to work after 5 p.m.; no work during weekends.”

IS IT TIRING PHYSICALLY AND MENTALLY? “It is mentally tiring when there is problems in the computers, but that’s what makes it fun!”

BOSS AND COLLEAGUES:  “Our boss understands we have a bunch of things at school. I really like the people that I work with. They are fun and we have a good relationship with each other.”

QUALIFICATION TO APPLY: “You don’t need to be an IT major, but if you are, you are more likely to be able to get it.”

Date Published: 
Saturday, January 20, 2018
Last Edited: 
Saturday, January 20, 2018

NOTE: This article's online publication was delayed because it was featured in the Jan. 2018 print issue.