I’m Hananiah. 20 years old. I’m currently a sophomore at New Hope Christian College in Eugene, Oregon and I am studying for my associates in business. I really love anything that has to do with art, mostly media, art media. So photography, film, cinematography, anything on that spectrum. That’s what I love.
“The reason why I like media production is being able to tell a story without having to directly say anything.”
You can tell a story through pictures. You can tell a story through just visuals of a TV screen. There could be no word spoken, but it can be this beautiful message portrayed through visuals of different shots and different emotions. My biggest dream would be traveling the world, doing the things I love with the people I love. I feel like once I get to that point of my life, I can be content. But I guess you could say, more realistically, I really hope to maybe get in a film production company. I could see my unrealistic big dream were like shoot for NatGeo (National Geographic) or something.
“That would be top the line, super sick, because these guys literally get to spend days out in the forest and their one objective is to tell the story of nature, and how the Earth works, and the things that people haven’t seen before.”
It’s just kind of inspiring because I don’t know how to say it, but yeah. Its just that they’re just telling that story of the Earth and why and how beautiful the Earth is. Art has really just been pumped out, pumped out of Hawaiʻi. And there have been so many new artists, whether it’s music, or it’s actual visual arts, or whatever. It’s crazy. Everything in Kakaako, it’s just art. People are inspired by it, and people get inspired by it, and then they turn around and they do some new art of their own. It’s a cool thing.
First Year College Experience
How Was Your First Year of College?
My first year of college is interesting to say the least. I came into this college not exactly knowing. Like a lot of first year college students, I didn’t know what I was doing and I didn’t know where or what I was going to do. And there was a lot of inner conflictions that were just pulling me to and from, in which direction. Where do I want to go from here? How am I going to go from here? So on and so forth. It definitely, probably wasn’t the normal college experience. I basically go to a Bible college, so it’s heavy on studying the Bible, and everything basically having to do with the Bible, and faith-centered.
“One thing that I enjoyed most about it (college) was I got to explore and see what the greater world looks like instead of just this bubble of Oʻahu.”
That was kind of what kept me going. Most of college was taking these mini road trips where there’s just like three hours in the middle of the day, just some random town that nobody knows about or whatever. That was cool. My senior year of high school, I graduated in 2020 and that was right when COVID hit so it wasn’t the ideal situation. I definitely do think I missed out on a lot of what my senior year had to offer, specifically in the back half, because that’s when a lot of things happen for seniors is the back half of your senior year. But it was cool because my auntie, who owns like a beach rental, she let us stay there however or whenever we wanted to, which was amazing because we got to live somewhere else, basically, for seven months. And that was our little quarantine bubble, was right there on the beach.I went to Kamehameha by the way, Kapālama. The school did as much as they could, though. Of course, there were times where I didn’t feel satisfied, but it is what it is and there’s nothing you can do about it now. I think senior year, there was a lot of lessons learned.
I went into college thinking I was very or my whole life, I thought I was very extroverted and I thought I was just this people person. And then I came to college and all of a sudden it’s completely different.
“There’s a lot of times where I just sat in my room and meditated on my life.”
It was kind of hard because you know it was a lot of things that I had to face that I didn’t want to, in a sense, because college changed me and I was very much, I’m still figuring out who I am, because everybody does. There’s definitely that sense of just being able to get out and see the world for what it is instead of just that small bubble was something that was, I think, a highlight that I always looked forward to.
Mental Health Resources
Describe the Climate of Mental Health Resources on Your Campus.
I guess along the topic of mental health, my mental health, it didn’t exactly get better getting into college. I think it was more like, home was very homey and there’s nothing like home and there’s nothing like family, too. No matter how much you may say you hate them or whatever, at the base of it all, family’s family and you love them because they’re your family.
“… because there was no family or home outlet that I could go to, a lot of the time when I was feeling not the best mentally, I had to figure it out for myself because there’s one counselor on campus.”
I didn’t exactly feel comfortable with engaging with this counselor. So a lot of the time mental health was kind of something that I had to do on my own. But on the homesick thing, I think more recently I’ve been getting more homesick. I don’t think it helps because a lot of the things my littlest sister does, she is currently a freshman at Kamehameha, her and I are very similar in terms of what we enjoy, and our hobbies, and our passions. We both love being in the water and we both love anything that has to do with the culture of being Hawaiian. She dances hula. We both paddle. I’m more practiced in the voyaging aspect of it. Watching her do these things through a screen, it brings joy to my heart, but it also saddens me at the same time. One, my little sister’s growing up and that’s something that’s terrifying to me. Because it’s cool she’s growing up, but she’s not my little sister anymore. She’s not that little girl that I used to know.
“She paddles and paddling is something that I haven’t done in two years and it’s something that I definitely miss.”
So seeing anything that she loves to do and that she’s passionate about, it brings a joy to my heart, one, for the culture, and two, just because you are she’s finding herself and she’s getting to know herself. The other day I was just listening to songs from home, and for some reason, I just started to tear up. And I was like, “What is going on?” And then I realized the song that I was listening to was “He Mele Lāhui Hawaiʻi” which, if you know you know, if you don’t know you don’t know. It’s okay. The basis of that song is so powerful and it talks about the kingdom of Hawaiʻi and the people.
And so listening to that song being sung, it was like, wow. Native Hawaiian, the Hawaiian culture is amazing. It’s something that we take for granted every single day, which we definitely can’t. And engaging in that culture is something that, up here, is definitely difficult. Unless you have a huge Hawaiʻi following around you, who are consistently or maybe not consistently, but at least in practice of things from back home, whether it’s chant, dance, anything that has to do with the culture.
“Sometimes I felt like I lost part of my identity because I wasn’t able to have that outlet of practicing in my Hawaiian identity.”
Homesickness is definitely something that comes in waves. It’s nothing that happens consistently, but it just comes out of the blue, and it’s just like, wow. Home is super awesome and home is home. I think it was maybe a month ago, or maybe less than a month ago, but my sister was, she got first place in her paddling meet and my mom recorded that. And for some reason it just did it for me. I was so happy, but I was so distraught in the same moment. I was like, “Wow, she really did it. That’s something that she…” I’m getting a little emotional right now talking about it. Not going to lie. I was like, “She really did it. This is something that she really wants and she really wants to work towards.”
There is a picture of when it happened. They just crossed the finish line, and my sister, she’s sitting in the back of the boat, and she’s just pointing and celebrating. In that moment, I was like, “Wow.” And that morning too was the last day of the pipeline pro and that was emotional because that was a crazy event. And so that stacked on top of my sister winning that morning, it was just emotions of joy but sadness at the same time, because it’s there, but it’s not.
What is a Song That Reminds You of Home?
My dad plays a lot of music, but I don’t think I can put down just songs and specific. Of course, Hawaiian music. Hawaiian music, my heart, every single time. The ability that local and Hawaiian music has to bring people together even if people are complete strangers. It’s kind of breathtaking because you can have random people just sitting on the beach and if somebody else just happens to walk by with an instrument or something, they can join in and they can fellowship or whatever, just over that bond. There’s that similar bond of music that people have.
“And it’s something that I definitely miss because you can just sit around in someone’s garage for five hours, easily, uncles playing music and drinking, the kids running around the garage playing games, the moms on the side just talking to the moms.”
That’s the power that music has to bring everybody together.
Message to Funders
I don’t think there’s anything that colleges can do to help specifically for Hawaiʻi students, because just being away from home, is that’s just a whole ballpark. That’s the whole ballpark that nobody can feel except for being at home.
“The main thing is being able to teach college students how to make a good living and be able to live independently without having to feel like you have to donate a limb.”
I know a lot of it has to do with government and whatever and them making everything so expensive, but I think that’s what a lot of college kids, specifically from home, struggle with, is how to find these opportunities and really take them. Because in Hawaiʻi culture, a lot of us just end up living with our parents.
“For a lot of the time we’re with our grandparents until we’re well into our thirties. And I think it’s just learning how to break that and be able to provide for yourself independently.”
That’s more of a life skill. If you could put money into a program like that, I think that’s probably pretty up there.
Some quotes have been edited for clarity with the speaker’s permission.