Sur-endipity: Why did I join journalism?


The paybacks are so worth the stress of deadlines, CQ day, red ink overloads, horribly lit photos, and all of the other mishaps of journalism.

It’s the million dollar question, and, boy, do I have quite an answer for you.

At the start of my junior year, I often asked myself the same question. I’m not sure if it was the vast majority of empty seats available to me, or the face Ms. Kye Haina made when I walked through the door, but at one point I knew that this would be like no other class I had taken before.

Nowhere on campus will a teacher throw you out on the field and make you take photos while dodging footballs and flying wide recievers.

Nowhere on campus will a teacher tell you to have a story up by 12:00 p.m. the next day after staying up until 10 p.m. the night before covering a game you don’t even understand.

Nowhere on campus will a teacher make you write a story that will go out to the public before even teaching you how to write a correct lead.

Yet nowhere on campus will you learn the many skills it takes to not only become a fabulous journalist, but also to become a student that is always one step ahead of the game.

Being that there were only four students in my Journalism I class, and no, I’m not over-exaggerating, the first semester of Journalism I was rather manageable.

I say “manageable” because the word “easy” is never an option when it comes to journalism. Never in your life will journalism ever be “easy,” but that’s what makes it so interesting.

Reason #1

Every day comes with a new challenge, and for someone who craves the thrill of overcoming obstacles, it’s no wonder why I always need to push the boundaries set for me.

Whether it be figuring out how to take a better photo, or how make a magazine, I was, and still am, never satisfied with a “no.” No matter how many times I hear the word, I will always try to figure out a way to make it happen. And though at first, the struggle of trying and trying again may be difficult, the relief of finally making something happen is so worth the pain.

Reason #2

For as long as I can remember Google existing, I can remember always wanting to know what came up when I searched for my name. Time and time again it would always correct me and ask if I was searching for “mile” or “mail” or “sir,” and nothing even remotely connected to me would pop up.

But let me tell ya, that all changed when I joined journalism.

Not only are there pieces and photos that you created, there are stories and photos of you! Journalism allows you to get your name and face out there, it provides the opportunity for you to network and create a name for yourself.

It’s the coolest thing to have someone come up to you and be like, “Are you [insert name here]?”

Reason #3


Art is one of the most fascinating subjects to me, but for someone who can’t even draw stick-figures, it’s safe to say I wasn’t meant for the Visual Arts Academy. Yet I crave creativity, so how do I find a balance? Journalism.

You want to take a cool photo? Snap away.

You want to draw a new comic? You grab that pencil and you go for it.

You want to create your own magazine? So be it.

You want to write a story on why you joined journalism? Knock yourself out!

Basically anything and everything you could possibly think of is possible in Journalism. As a journalist you are given creative freedom to do whatever you choose (in appropriation, of course); it can’t get any better than that.

Reason #4

Okay, not trying to boast, but dude, in Journalism you get to win like fifty billion awards. In our first year we won a National Magazine Contest. National!

Not only did that happen, but we also won Best in State for Online Journalism. How cool is that?

Coming into my second year, I wasn’t expecting half the feats we accomplished. But hey, life is like a box of chocolates, right? You never know what you’re going to get.

Our staff won six state awards, 16 division awards, and the 3rd Place Overall Best in State Award.

On a personal note, I got to win the Most Valuable Staffer Award two years in a row, the 2015 Hawai’i State Journalist of the Year, a National Superior Award in Portrait Photography, and was featured on ‘Oiwi TV. Does it get any better? Talk about a killer resume!

Which brings me to…

Reason #5

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I can’t even tell you how many times I have been treated to surprise pizza parties, field trips to Flatbread Pizza Co., dinner dates to Outback Steakhouse, and celebratory cake and ice cream deliveries.

How is this not a deal breaker?

Going into journalism I had no idea this was ever a thing, I mean, anything I want at Outback Steakhouse? It’s almost unheard of! But once I was in, there was no turning back.

Through all of the stress of deadlines and Ms. Haina’s red pen corrections, there isn’t anything more promising than the thought of the well deserved congratulatory meal. Just saying.

Reason #5


We’re a family.

Yes, there are multiple instances in which I wanted to scream and yell at someone for not giving me visuals for their piece, or for not finishing their layout, or for showing up on deadline without anything done. But no matter what, I would always have my staff’s backs.

Not to mention the fact that Ms. Haina is my BFF.

I have spent 90% of my academy career in ROOM x-126 stressing over all things journalism. And when I just want to vent about poorly created layouts in other publications, she’s my go-to girl.

Overall, the memories I will cherish most about my years at Kamehameha Schools Maui happened while I was a journalist of Ka Leo o Nā Koa. 

The people I will always remember are the people I met through journalism.

The lessons I will never forget are the ones I pushed through in journalism.

Journalism has become my life, and if youʻre thinking “Why did I join journalism?” Thereʻs your answer.

Then get back to work, youʻre on deadline.