Amy Odaira

Amy Odaira's photo

My name is Amy Odaira. I’m a double major in Biology, B.S. and Japanese Studies, B.A. I was originally born and raised in Thailand till the age of 11, then moved to Hawai‘i with my family.

What’s your passion?
I have a lot of interests that comes and goes. What I consider my “passion” would be an interest or hobby that have stayed with me for as long as I can remember. Broadly speaking, my passion is in the field of arts, crafts, and any making of creative content. In my spare time I do a bit of drawing, photography, DIY crafting, music, etc. I also love seeing people showcase their art online. Perhaps that explains why I have a mild addiction of watching YouTube videos.

How would you describe your personal journey in life?
I don’t really see myself as having a clear path or journey in life. The future is always uncertain, and for that I hold my goals and aspirations loosely. That doesn’t mean I don’t believe in having goals or working hard. I work under a deep awareness that there are uncontrollable variables in life that can change the course of my journey. Right now, my sight is set on helping my community as an aspiring physician. The journey is long and there may be detours, but I hope with all my heart that is what I get to do in the future.

What does your future hold?
Again, my future is uncertain, but my goal helps set me on a path to move toward. I’m an aspiring physician so after I graduate, I hope to eventually continue on to medical school after my gap years. What I do during those gap years is still up in the air, but ideally, I hope to spend that time interacting and serving the community I live in.

Why did you choose to attend UH Hilo?
I had a simple reason to why I chose to attend UH Hilo. I had considered going to the mainland for college however, I had a responsibility within my home in Hilo and a financial constrain that would make it hard to move away. UH Hilo is a reputable university, and it offered the programs I was interested in pursuing.

For future UH Hilo students, is there any wisdom you would like to pass on? What would you want them to know?
Thinking from the perspective of a science student, when I first started off as a freshman, I didn’t realize how large the number of opportunities there are for students to get involve with a professor’s research. As a science student, no matter what field you may be in, it’s very important to gain some sort of field research or lab training in preparation for entering the working world. I’d highly recommend building up connections with your professors, no matter what field of study you go into. There are so many resources, especially for those of disadvantaged backgrounds like me. Take advantage of the opportunities while you still have them. As a graduating senior, I can say that opportunities presented to you as a university student will not come by as frequently once you’re out of school.

What campus clubs or activities are you involved in?
I was and am currently involved in the pre-med club on campus called American Medical Students Association or AMSA (formerly known as Aspiring Doctors of Hilo). Through this club I was able to try my hands at a leadership role in the 2018 Relay for Life event. I also learned a lot from guest speakers who were often researchers or physicians from various fields. For a short while, I was also involved in Circle K, which is a community service club. This year, I joined the Board of Media Broadcasting CSO on campus which oversees a portion of student fees paid every semester. It’s been a learning experience carrying a heavier responsibility as a student leader overseeing funds and programs for students on campus.

What would be your personal motto?
I try my best to live by the words “yet you do not know what tomorrow will bring. What is your life? For you are a mist that appears for a little time and then vanishes” from James 4:14 (ESV). Like I mentioned previously, there are many uncertainties in life. Personally, I like to have control and a set plan for what my life would look like in the upcoming years. But things don’t always go my way; the past years have been a strong testament to that. The motto helps remind me of the impermanence that exists everywhere, to chill out a bit, to be more flexible and accepting of change.

Who has been the biggest influence on your life? What lessons did that person teach you?
I’ve been blessed to meet and know many great mentors, but my mother is my biggest influence in my life. She’s taught me many simple life skills, like gardening and cooking, and important life skills, like respect, manners, and relationship-building. She’s devoted many years of her life caring for young girls from disadvantaged backgrounds. Although she herself never got a proper education till she passed the age of 22, she accomplished so much more than I had when I was 22 years old. Her awesomeness simply cannot be encapsulated in a paragraph. I have immense respect for her as a mother, a mentor, and a friend.

Flashback to when you were 10. What did you want to be when you grow up?
I wanted to be many things when I was younger, but my imagination was limited to what I was exposed to. I wanted to be a teacher, a café owner, an artist, a storyteller, a camerawoman, a singer, a fashion designer, and many more. My career aspiration was always changing but funny enough, nurses or doctors were at the bottom of my list, because as a child I did not enjoy going to the hospital at all. It’s ironic now that I’m studying hard to get into the medical field.