5 Lessons in ‘Setting Course’ for College and Career

By Keakealani Pacheco

Freshman, Hawaii Community College

Editor’s Note: Despite growing up in a place many consider to be paradise, thousands of Hawaii’s local-born residents are leaving the state year after year — many to pursue career opportunities. Hawaii native Keakealani Pacheco joined a two-week excursion from Roadtrip Nation®, a Strada Education NetworkSM company, to learn more about the diverse careers offered right in her own state, particularly in the STEAM (science, technology, engineering, the arts and mathematics) disciplines.

The Hawaii road-trippers’ journey included a visit with Gov. David Ige.

What she discovered is that there is exciting progress being made in STEAM fields across Hawaii. And, just as importantly, she learned more about finding careers within these fields that align with the things she loves to do. Follow the journey of Keakealani and her fellow “road-trippers” in the series “Setting Course,” which premieres today (Wednesday, Jan. 3).

Keakealanai shared five key takeaways from her quest to connect her passions with career opportunities in her community:

1. Youʻre the boss.

Remember that only you can take control of your life. If there is something that needs to be fixed, call the shots and find a solution. Use your assets (teachers, for example) to help you succeed. Itʻs OK to have more than one interest, and itʻs OK to make mistakes. True bosses learn to own up to their oversights and move forward.

So always try to move forward. You are the boss!

2. Bring all of you wherever you go.

You do not have to compartmentalize yourself to fit into certain social standards. Bring all of who you are into whatever you have to do — and if you find a part of you that doesnʻt feel comfortable with what you are doing, then maybe you need to take a step back to understand why that is.

Do things that both your mind and your heart can agree with.

3.  ʻAi ka mea loaʻa. (Eat what get.)

Be happy with what you are given. We donʻt all start out with the same amount of money and same living situations, but no matter how big — or how little — the amount, be grateful for it. Use what you are given to further expand your purpose in life.

This lesson can apply to wanting to move away for college. If you canʻt afford it, donʻt be ashamed to stay home. You can still have a great education, a roof over your head, and financial stability. Nothing is wrong with that.

4. Do what makes you happy in life.

This was an overall theme on our road trip, when we asked people their personal definition of success. To be content with where you are at in life is to be successful. You can have a million dollar company, but if you are unhappy with how it is being run and how you feel about yourself, then are you truly successful?

What is it that you need to do to get to that happy spot in life? Ask yourself that question whenever you can. You will find that your interests will change, and that is absolutely fine. Make those adjustments as you go along.

5. Donʻt be afraid to let life happen!

This was one of my own personal gems that I dug up along the way. In the beginning of the road trip, I had lots of questions about how the leaders we spoke with got through all those hardships in their lives. Iʻve always worried about those factors that keep people from continuing college. But what I realized was that we are all on our own paths. Everything that happens to us is meant to happen, and for specific reasons, we are given these obstacles in life to become who we need to be. We need to problem-solve and come up with solutions.

We shouldnʻt be afraid of whatʻs to come. We should embrace it instead.