Final grades for the University of Hawaii at Manoa were posted on Wednesday, May 19, 2021, which means I am officially a college graduate for the class of spring 2021! How does it feel? I don’t feel that different, to be honest. Could it be because I didn’t participate in my university’s hybrid commencement ceremony? Or the fact that I didn’t buy a cap and gown? Or is it because I graduated college in the middle of a pandemic? All of those reasons make sense, but also, I won’t know if my hard work paid off until I find a good job to support myself.
This past month, people have been posting pictures of themselves in their cap and gown and while those photos were nice, what’s the point in buying a cap and gown if you’re only going to wear them once? I saved $45 to $60 by not buying a cap and gown, which is perfect because I need to save up if I’m going to buy VIP passes to a Def Leppard concert (since the pandemic ruined my chance of meeting the band last summer). Without a cap and gown, it would’ve been weird to participate in the hybrid commencement, which took place at UH Manoa with an in-person diploma ceremony and a photo session for the graduates. Hey, my parents saved gas for not driving all the way to UH for that sort of thing.
It’s not that I didn’t care about graduating from college, it’s just, the pandemic taught me not to care about those superficial things that go away at the blink of an eye, and to save my money on stuff I know will make me happy. I keep telling my parents that I’ll celebrate my college graduation when I meet Def Leppard; even if it takes me two years to meet the band, I won’t truly celebrate until I get VIP passes for one of their gigs and I get a picture with my favorite band in the entire world. That’s also a reason why I don’t go out much anymore, not that I went out a lot before the pandemic, but I want to save up my money every way possible.
I previously talked about my experience taking online classes during the fall 2020 semester, but that was NOTHING compared to the hell I experienced during the spring 2021 semester. Ok, it wasn’t that bad because I had two synchronous online classes, which was really nice because I got to interact with the professor, make small talk with my classmates, and see everyone’s faces. The two synchronous classes were FDM 200: Culture, Gender, & Appearance; and COM 478: Communication in Communities Capstone. FDM 200 was cool because it was all about fashion and how appearance plays a role in society. COM 478 was awesome because not only was my professor the bomb, but I was allowed to do my research project on how boybands affect their fans’ mental health and behaviors.
I also had two classes that were asynchronous, which were COM 339: Public Relations Writing and COM 444: Communication and Gender; both are pretty self-explanatory. I enjoyed COM 444 because a lot of the topics from the textbook were familiar since I grew up with Degrassi, a show that taught me to accept others for who they are, regardless of their identity and sexual orientation. I also watched The Danish Girl (2015) starring Eddie Redmayne, where he played a transgender individual; he was in Les Misérables (2012) and I thought he was ok, but after watching The Danish Girl, I started to take him seriously as an actor.
I won’t go over too many details about the negatives this past semester, but one of my professors was awful! He sucked at communicating and he posted the assignment instructions too late, so we had to procrastinate to get the assignments done on time. Sometimes, he forgot to post the instructions all together, so he had to scrap those assignments. He acted all cocky like he knew a lot about the subject and was an expert, but really the biggest lesson I learned from his class was to not let my hatred for a professor get the best of me.
Thankfully, Ka Leo kept my mind off of that horrible professor. I wrote seven articles this past semester and I covered a wide range of topics from the UH Manoa commencement to tourism to the COVID-19 vaccine. My writing has definitely improved since I started working for the student newspaper back in July 2020 and I gained more confidence conducting interviews since my first article. In addition to Ka Leo, I continued my role as the secretary for the Disney Ohana Club and I became the director of communications for the Hawaii chapter of the Public Relations Student Society of America (PRSSA). Both positions were very similar since I took notes at the officer/executive board and general meetings, and I sent emails updating our members on what was happening with the club.
My last week of school was from May 3 to May 7, and thankfully, I only had final projects, so once that week was done, I was done because I finished my final projects early. When my last article for Ka Leo was published, I knew that things would not be the same, and that I had to step up my game and find a job. Honestly, I didn’t spend too much time looking for a job during the spring 2021 semester because I wanted to focus on graduating first, but now that I’m done with school, I’m freaking out!
I’ve decided to go into the field of journalism and experience is crucial; I’ve only had one internship (and I have my blog, but I’m not sure if that counts), so I have a long way to go. I just have to be persistent and check back for internships with Honolulu Star-Advertiser, Honolulu Civil Beat, and Honolulu Magazine; maybe even try branch out to see if I can land an internship with Ultimate Classic Rock (since I’m interested in music journalism). I’ll keep looking for opportunities, but at the same time, I want to enjoy my freedom by watching more YouTube, listening to all of my CDs, and writing more blog posts. Hey, after what that professor put me through, I deserve a break!
Congratulations to the high school and college graduates of spring 2021!
Take care and see ya real soon!