Thursday, November 21, 2013

Why leave Hawaii?

Kepa Barrett – Mililani, Oahu, Hawaii

As a senior in high school, I was very indecisive about my college options. I applied to nine different schools, and the process was very long and complex. I had to narrow down my choices by thinking about what I really wanted out of my college experience. I know I wanted to go to a small college where I could get to know my professors on a personal basis, but I also wanted the resources that larger universities possess. I also had a wide-variety of interests ranging from environmental issues to social responsibilities.

Pitzer seemed to be a perfect fit. It’s a small, liberal arts college with a low faculty to student ratio, and it is one of six other colleges that share abundant academic/social resources within the Claremont Consortium. Last year I participated in the Pitzer Fall Diversity program, a program provided by the Pitzer office of Admission for high school students of underrepresented populations. I had the opportunity to meet so many people from across the country and I fell in love with Pitzer. This invaluable experience played a huge factor in my final decision to attend this school.

The biggest fear I had before starting my first year in college was whether or not I could function properly without my family here to support me. They are my foundation, and I had never gone two weeks without seeing them, let alone four months. Although it’s been difficult not having them here, I’ve grown stronger as an individual and more independent than I ever was. The transition was challenging, but I feel a lot better now that I’m involved with extracurricular activities on campus. Among these activities are my accapella group The Ninth Street Hooligans, the Eco Center Club, Hui Laule’a Hawai’i Club, and the 5C Surf Club. Getting involved on campus and just being open with every person I met helped me make friends at Pitzer.

In terms of academics, I’ve always had a keen interest in the environment. We only have one Earth. We need to take better care of her. I decided to be a science major because I participated in the Keck Science Summer Immersion program. It’s an awesome program that started this past summer, and it gave me the confidence to challenge myself academically at Pitzer. The curriculum is definitely not a walk-in-the-park, but I thoroughly enjoy the work I’m doing. It’s also possible to have a social life while being a good student. A balanced academic/social life is totally feasible here at Pitzer.

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