October 7, 2009 Hello and welcome to my happy realm of Online Journaling! I am a new writer, so I begin with the basics. My name is Tara (TAH-RAH) Apo, and I'm from the beautiful island of Maui, Hawai'i (yes, I do love to surf, but no, I don't dance Hula).
In order to better introduce myself as a Hamilton student, I would like to present:
Tara's Excellent Hamilton Adventure
A synopsis of my experiences at Hamilton thus far, and some of the insight I have gained along the way
Our epic journey begins with year one of the Hamilton experience:
My first several weeks at Hamilton bring the earth shattering realization that I am a minority here. Hawai'i is a giant mixing pot of culture and ethnicity, and in fact Caucasions are the percieved "outsiders." My reality has been turned upside down and I have a hard mental adjustment to make.
Despite this initial shock, freshman year is spectacular! Shortly into the school year I form an extraordinarily close group of companions. Our time together is phenomenal, we gallavant around campus, speculate about the unique atmosphere, lifestyle and events that take place at Hamilton, and laugh a ton. The only disadvantage is that I don't make an effort to get to know other students, since I'm having such a blast with the ones I do know. Fortunately, an older, wiser Tara does adjust this attitude, but we'll get to that later.
Weeknights are generally spent studying in the Library or new Science Center, which I all but live in, being a biochemistry major (at the time). Though perhaps our study time was not always as academically productive as it could have been, it was always immensely enjoyable, and I wouldn't change it for a thing. In any case, a Hamilton student understands when he/she cannot afford to be unproductive (and if you don't when you get here, you certainly develop the ability quickly).
It doesn't take me long to realize that I have the best friends in the world here and I decide that I could not have found a school that would be better for me than Hamilton.
I'd like to end with two important points I took away from my first year at Hamilton. The first is that you will form excellent friendships here. I believe this is not only a positive benefit, but a vital component of your success as a student. Hamilton can get, for lack of a better word, crazy, what with workloads that sometimes seem impossible and so many things to do you wonder how you will fit them all into a day. It is your friends that carry you through to the other side and keep you grounded, and frankly no one but a Hamilton student could possibly understand what you go through and experience here.
The second point is perhaps one of the most important I have learned in my life, and is a direct result of my being from Hawai'i. Almost all of my peers from Hawai'i chose to attend college either in Hawai'i, or on the West Coast, and understandably. Once there, they form large cliques of Hawaiian students, which allows them some familiarity and comfort, but effectively prevents them from meeting new kinds people with different perspectives and cultures. I would have done the exact same thing, if I could have. Interestingly, I found that few of my Hawai'i friends had experiences as positive as mine that year.
I have given this a lot of thought, and it is through Hamilton that I have realized the monumental importance of stepping out of one's comfort zone in order to grow and flourish, gain new perspective, and enhance one's vision/understanding of the world and onesself. If I wished one thing for the young people of Hawai'i, it would be that they chose to venture out as I have.
That's it! Go forth now, good readers, and step out of your comfort zones! Our saga will continue with the next entry. I will also be telling you a little more about what I'm doing now because, as interesting as my sophomore year may be, some cool stuff is happening at present! Until next time, farewell.