WITH college applications and essays being completed and turned in by many a stressed-out high school senior applying for higher education on the mainland, one wonders why more seniors don't consider going to the University of Hawaii.
Think UH before
dashing off to mainland
In fact, I think it's safe to say that the quality of higher education at UH-Manoa can be compared to the Ivy League juggernauts on the East Coast.
You might flat out disagree with that assertion, but careful scrutiny of the UH's honors program will lead you to believe that there is a very competitive "Ivy League" type of college with an environment geared toward discussion-based learning rather than large lecture-oriented classrooms.
Last year I attended the University of California at San Diego for my freshman studies. Not only did I have to go through the difficult adjustment process that every Hawaii student experiences, but I also had to strive for decent grades in my 200-plus student lecture courses.
The UCSD faculty may have received numerous accolades and sizable research grants, but the lecture set-up was anything but conducive toward stimulating learning.
Moreover, I felt a stigma in mentioning to mainland Asian-Americans that I was from Hawaii. I felt as if they were looking down on me.
However, being away from my family did help me understand how much I take my parents for granted. That, along with an increase in independence, were the two most evident successes of my stay at UCSD.
I urge high school students not to rush their decision to attend a college on the mainland. One should only go when one feels ready to take on the responsibility and independence.
It's common for students from Hawaii to come back home for education after spending only a year on the mainland. Don't feel ashamed if you come back. UH is a very excellent institution and at its current price, the tuition is a steal.
Too many times I've heard people say that UH is junk and the curriculum is too easy. That's a bunch of baloney as any UH student will tell you. Considering that the state has cut general funds to the university, I think the faculty is doing an exemplary job in trying to maintain academic excellence.
The only difference I noticed between UCSD and UH is that as a whole, the students at USCD are a little bit more motivated. Student motivation is what separates good colleges from wimpy ones; not SAT scores or GPAs. No amount of money can produce motivation.
You don't have to be brilliant to be in the UH Honors (Selected Studies) Program. All you need is desire. Most of the students in the honors program were invited to apply, but anyone can apply. The advantage of the Honors program is that it allows freshmen and sophomore students to take core classes with 15 to 20 students, rather than 200-plus students. The smaller classes can make the university experience less overwhelming.
To high school seniors: Enjoy your last year of high school because come next year you're going to face the harsh adult world. Whether you go off to the mainland or stay at home to go to UH or one of the community colleges, you should be proud of your accomplishments because you are taking those bold steps in pursuing higher education.
If you consider UH a junk school, I hope your mainland institution will take care of you and provide you with a stimulating experience. If you choose to stay in Hawaii and attend UH, look up the honors program.
Education is your best weapon against the societal ills that plague our country. No one can take your education away from you. Good luck future leaders.
Jeffrey Shitaoka is a pre-nursing sophomore at UH
contemplating a career in education
Rant & Rave is a Tuesday Star-Bulletin feature allowing teens and young adults to serve up fresh perspective. Guys and girls speak up by fax at 523-8509; by answering machine at 525-8666; snail mail at P.O. Box 3080, Honolulu, HI 96802; or e-mail, email@example.com