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The Final Goodbyes: Thoughts from a Graduating Senior

This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at Hawaii chapter.

My time at UH Mānoa is soon coming to an end. I will be walking with my classmates during this May’s Spring Commencement ceremony and I will be finished with all of my classes at the end of this summer. The thought of being done with all of my schooling within the next four months is simultaneously exciting, exhilarating, and terrifying. I’m so excited to see what is in store for me going forward, but the thought of losing the “safety blanket” of school is super scary. Not to mention, I am also incredibly sad to be leaving O’ahu and my friends and community here. 

Right now, I am attempting to juggle three main things during my last few weeks living in Honolulu: finishing my senior project (and focusing on finishing all of my classes, really), preparing my co-CC to be the sole-CC for the Hawai’i chapter of Her Campus, and preparing to move back home to California (getting rid of things, packing what I will be taking home, and deep cleaning the apartment for the next tenant). I am also trying to enjoy my remaining time. One of my oldest and best friends is coming out to visit during the last week of April, so I’ll be spending that time prioritizing my last hurrah and enjoyments of the island as a student. I’m going to be very sad to leave this place; I feel so blessed to have had the opportunities here that I have had. I’ll be very sad to leave some of my amazing friends behind, but that’s not to say I won’t visit in the future! It will just be a while. I am also going to miss the beautiful hiking trails, beaches, and my favorite local spots here. 

The fact that my leaving this place is just a few weeks away really hit me this week: my senior project presentation is on the 24th of April, and then I’ll have around two weeks to finish my senior portfolio. Then I will walk in the graduation ceremony, finish packing up my apartment, and leave just a few days after graduation. Like I said earlier, I won’t be done with classes just yet. I’ll be leaving to study abroad shortly after, and I will be done with all of my classes come August. I’m so excited for this summer, but it also feels pretty bittersweet. 

This summer will be absolutely unforgettable, and it will really be my last hurrah as someone without major adult responsibilities. After my classes end, it will be time for me to buck up and get an adult job and deal with adult responsibilities (like taxes. Ew!). 

I feel like saying a hui hou (until we meet again) to this island will be incredibly hard. I know that I will visit this amazing island again, but I still can’t help but anticipate the emotional experience that it is going to be. This island and her community have taught me so much and I’ll be forever grateful for the hospitality and aloha I have been shown while I have lived out here. I have learned so much about the Hawaiian culture through my local friends. I can never truly express enough how amazing this has been. 

Figuring out how to truly mark the closing of this chapter has been really hard. So, I guess I will leave you all with this:

Mahalo nui loa a hui hou, hoa. Thank you very much (for everything) and until we meet again, friend.

Shae Walker

Hawaii '23

Shae currently studies Communications at the University of Hawai'i at Mānoa and is the Campus Correspondent for HCHawai'i. In her spare time, Shae likes to listen to music, hike, and cook.