RJ Kaleohano Mendoza

When I arrived at UH Hilo, I had previously attended a few colleges beforehand. I was somewhere between the “traditional student” and the “returning/nontraditional student”. Attending larger colleges and universities was a challenge, and it wasn’t appropriate for me. UH Hilo offered me the feel of a large college, but with a level of academic intimacy that one would find in much smaller universities.

The professors here challenged me both directly and in clever, demure ways. And having classmates- both traditional and not was such an enrichment because it offered a variety of perspectives on not only the course material, but to the approaches of learning. Studying Political Science is a challenge- but being able to have a study group with a classmate who lived through Vietnam and one who was young enough not to fully understand 9/11 expanded my vision.

What made UH Hilo home for me was not only the location, but the empowering staff and faculty. I was always encouraged to try something that I thought was not “my thing” or “I’m too old for that..” and ended up learning a good deal, and enjoying myself. Participating in student activities- such as BOMB, Ke Kalahea, Hohonu and UHHSA allowed me the opportunity to apply what I’ve learned at UH Hilo in a very practical way.

No matter where I am, how old I get, I will always be a Vulcan- loud and proud.