The Return of Out of Town College Students
Jazmyne Faith Viloria | Maui High School, Class of 2023
As December strolls into the present, it seems Santa isn’t the only person coming into town. For most out-of-state college students, December’s winter break is the optimal time for the long- awaited trip back home. With so many of Hawai‘i’s key elements and normals absent in the mainland setting, what are out-of-state students most excited for in returning home?
“I am most excited for the warmer weather,” admits Wincy Perez, a freshman at the University of Minnesota. Like Wincy, many Hawai‘i students searched for a change of setting, yearning to experience a colorful fall and snowy winter. It seems, however, Hawai‘i’s landscape can’t be beat. “I could always appreciate the sights of buildings around me but you can’t beat the view of the West Maui Mountains or the beaches,” expresses Wincy. Alexis Viloria, a sophomore at Stanford University, agrees. “Although I do enjoy watching the leaves turn orange and fall on the mainland, I can’t help but be excited to step foot back into the ever-shining Maui sun and relish the feeling of a warm Hawaiian Christmas.”
With a change of setting follows a change in food. Based on location, not everywhere has fresh seafood, açaí bowls and fruit growing in the backyard. Alexis seemed to notice this as she exclaims, “The first thing I’m doing when I get back home is making a stop at the food trucks to grab myself an açaí bowl with poi and lilikoi butter!” Rynn Viloria, a freshman at Grand Canyon University, has a similar agenda in mind as she explains, “The very first thing I’m doing as soon as I get home is eating all my favorite local foods! On a daily basis, I crave lau lau, kalua pig, fresh poke, li hing lemon peel gummies—the list goes on and on.” Although there are new foods and Hawai‘i alternates in the mainland, “Food always tastes better when you’re home,” Alexis happily concludes.
“The thing I miss the most about Maui is the people,” Rynn reveals. Undoubtedly, the people one chooses to surround themselves with significantly contribute to a personal definition of normal. Rynn explains how her family formed a weekly routine. “My family would always do weekly cook outs and everybody would come together to eat and simply have a good time.” Like Rynn, Czerena Bayle, a sophomore at Chapman University, excitedly waits “to spend Christmas with my family. I’m looking forward to my family’s Christmas Eve dinner—a mouthwatering feast, festive games, celebrating my cousin’s birthday and attending midnight mass.” As a new “normal” is formed through a new environment, Rynn notices, “These little realizations just make me so much more thankful that I was raised the way that I was, surrounded by great people.”
An individual’s location greatly contributes to their mood, mindset and growth, as it establishes a new routine and expectation. Although out-of-state students tend to embrace the new opportunities and surroundings of their new schools, it seems Hawai‘i will always have a special place in their hearts; Rynn sums it all: “There’s something about missing something so badly, then being able to experience it all over again that makes me extremely excited about being back home.”
Google® Is Not Everything is a monthly column authored by high school students. The title of the column emphasizes education is more than just googling a topic. Google® is a registered trademark. This month’s guest columnist is Jazmyne Faith Viloria, a Senior at Maui High School. She is a member of SaberScribes (Maui High’s journalism club), Historian of the Video Club and Team Captain of Blue Thunder, Maui High’s Robotics club. Jazmyne is in the ACOM Pathway at Maui High, focusing on videography and photography. In her free time, she sews and refashions old clothes, journals, edits photos/videos and loves to analyze lyrics in songs. She is the daughter of Ruth Sagisi and Rudy Viloria.