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by Kalamalama staff

For Margaret Amina, returning to school after 21 years wasn’t easy, but, she said, “I am learning a great deal about myself, others, and my major.”

Amina, a management major at HPU, is a single mother with a full-time job. A Kalihi resident, who has worked in the hospitality and restaurant industries for 20 years, said she wanted to advance in her career.

“ Even though I know more (than others) and work hard, I was told I wasn’t qualified for certain management positions,” she said. “I was told I needed to get my degree.”

Two years ago, she responded to a radio commercial announcing an Hawai‘i Pacific University’s information sessions for adult students. At the session she was able to set up a meeting with HPU’s Center for Graduate and Adult Services, and after talking with an academic advisor, she enrolled part time.

Amina takes two classes per semester or term. With seven start dates at HPU throughout the year, a student can move as quickly as he or she wants to complete her studies.

Raised by parents who did not complete high school, Amina said her high school diploma was viewed as “good enough” for her family. However, time, technology, and a more competitive job market made her consider returning to school, particularly when she saw employees with fewer years of service being promoted.

How has Amina managed her course load? She credits a loving and supportive family that shares her excitement when she learns a new idea or technique in class.

“ It feels good when one of my sisters asks me how to troubleshoot on the computer, and I can solve a problem,” said Amina, who is the eldest of nine siblings. “I also thank my son who helps me with my favorite subject, math,” she added, with a smile.

Amina also appreciates the support and encouragement of her instructors and academic advisor at HPU.

“ One teacher told me, ‘Maggy, you don’t need to look over your shoulder to see how fast your classmates are keyboarding. Just focus and pay attention to the work. You’re doing just fine.’ The teacher wasn’t just being nice,” she said. “He meant it. I earned an A in his computer class.”

Working for many years, this college student says it is very easy to get comfortable quickly with “the routine” of going to work. And with a college degree, Amina said, “no one can take it away from me. I know I’ll succeed more as a person, professional, and parent. HPU is helping me do just that.”


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