Student Voices

Savannah Directo


Since the fifth grade, I've loved writing and creating stories. I believed becoming an English major would allow me to study what I enjoy, be creative, and learn how to write better (technique- and grammar- wise). So far, my assumptions about the English major have been true: I can study what I enjoy, be creative, and learn how to write better. I've also read lots and lots and LOTS of new books, which have broadened my worldview, I think. My favorite courses are Poetry Writing and Fiction Writing. I enjoyed creating stories and reading the creations of others in those and several other courses. When I graduate, I plan to teach English in a high school.

Dillon George


Growing up in the Marshall Islands, students who attend private schools are most likely to be the students who are fluent in English. Unlike Public Schools/Local schools, students struggle in learning English because the teachers there are either not good in speaking or understanding the language itself. I told myself I'm gonna become the best English teacher someday in the future. For my students, my people, and my country, I CAN DO IT.

So far, getting out of my comfort zone into the learning zone had given me different aspects of experiences. The experience itself gives me the chance to learn the differences in writing and speaking the English language as well as communicating with others. I'd rather say so far so good.

After earning my English degree, I plan to go back home (Marshall Islands) and work, make good use of my degree, sharing what I know with my people and my students as well. Yet, I want to travel before I go back and settle.

Min joo Koak

Min joo

I am an English major because literature gives us knowledge on culture and history. When I came to Hawaii, I was fascinated at how much the people respect their culture. Hawaiian culture also reminds me of my own, and I sympathize with the history. My experience so far has been a 10/10. It is amazing to see the landscape and the people are so friendly. I eventually want to become an English teacher because I want to help the world become a more equal place. I want to teach the importance of learning other cultures and languages.

Mirvat Mohamed

Mirvat Mohamed The reason I chose the English major is actually kind of interesting; I think I was always meant to study English at some point in my life. I have always been interested in the usage of words and their meanings. My first language was actually Arabic, but I think because I remember learning the English language, I find it kind of fascinating and I like to compare it to Arabic. I’ve also always been a pretty good writer, and I enjoy writing prose and poetry. There’s something about the power that words can harness that I find very interesting and enjoy learning more about. My experience so far has been pretty great. I've enjoyed learning about the different types of literature. I am also doing the TESOL Certificate; learning about language acquisition has been the most interesting and fun for me.

I’m hoping after I graduate to have a chance to travel the world and teach English for a few years. My ultimate goal is Astrophysics, but I think having an English background can create a really cool opportunity for me to explore science writing, which what I plan to do in the next coming years.

Mary Oliver


I decided to major in English with a creative writing certificate because I enjoy writing. I have wanted to complete my college studies for many years now and I have enjoyed every day that I’ve spent at UH. My experience at Hilo has been very enjoyable. I enjoy my classes and the chance to meet many new people. After I graduate I hope to spend my time writing and maybe someday publish.

Braden Savage


I chose English as my major because I LOVE storytelling - particularly writing. I've been writing a novel since 2015, and I have hopes of finishing it within the next year. I decided to enter college to hone my writing skills, and it's one of the best decisions that I've made (thanks to my parents for convincing me to do so).

My experience in college has been excellent. My professors have all been wonderful, and I've been able to do some super interesting things that I wouldn't have done otherwise (such as doing a public reading, directing my own play, and writing up a lesson plan for teaching line-editing).

After college, I intend to finish writing my book and to get it published. I have gained so much knowledge while in college, most of which will facilitate the actual finishing of my book.

Kysha-Jean Tmakiung


I chose the English major because it really seemed like the natural next step for me out of high school. Throughout my education I’ve always enjoyed the writing aspect of assignments and wanted to expand on that during my college career. My classes so far have been pretty writing intensive but I absolutely loved them. I have had my fair share of hard times but who hasn’t haha, my professors have been more than helpful in getting me where I am today. With everything I’ve experienced in just two years I’ve come to learn a lot about myself as a writer and how to improve which is exactly what I was looking to get out of choosing this major. I’m not exactly clear on what I plan on doing with my major but I think that English is a valuable thing to really grasp and I’ll find my bearings.

Kai Ward


When I first applied to college I had no idea what to choose for my major and actually ended up choosing Computer Science as that seemed a rational decision. In the end, I took the words of my past teachers to heart and switched my degree to English with an emphasis on writing. Since middle school, my teachers have complimented on and encouraged my writing saying that I had the potential to be a great writer someday. So far, I’m glad I decided to not only come to Hawaiʻi but to take some of the classes associated with the Creative Writing certificate. Especially because my home campus doesn’t offer such a program. Otherwise, I’m not sure I’d have chosen on my own to pursue fiction or poetry writing. Of course, there’s far more you can do with writing than that.

While I don’t know what I will do with my degree or even my life, I’ve tried to adopt the attitude of Kirsten; which is a student I met last semester. When I asked what she would do with her degree she told me, “I’ll do whatever the hell I want.” Which I think is the perfect attitude, no matter your degree.