“I couldn’t feel my hands,” Hawai’ian students brace for SMU weather
Julia Lucas, Staff Writer
For many years, Saint Martin’s has hosted a large population of Hawaiians. Students come from all the islands of Hawaii, but they all share one common experience: their weather. Hawaii’s weather is commonly known as warm and humid, so it can be a huge adjustment for Hawaiian students to experience a Washington winter. Every year, new students begin taking classes in Washington and are shocked to experience just how different the climate is. First-year students may think that the cold climate in Lacey is just an exaggeration at first, but once December comes, they discover the truth. First-year Hawaiian students may find their freshman year incredibly difficult, not only for classes, but also for the weather adjustments.
While Hawaiian students may experience many of the same feelings towards the Washington winters, every student has their own personal take on the matter. Their overall opinions vary on how they feel about the change in climate. Most Hawaiians made the obvious observation that Washington is significantly colder than Hawaii, but there were some more insightful answers. Kameaiomakamae Drayer-Hoopii and Mia Asuncion, two female soccer players, spoke about the unpredictability of the weather in Washington. “It’s crazy here because in the mornings on the way to class it will be sunny, but by the time you are done with class it will be pouring rain.” Asuncion explained. Cori-Ann Morioka-Kam expanded on this idea and talked about how nice it is to experience different seasons and seeing the leaves change. Every first-year Hawaiian student interviewed experienced their first snowfall during the fall semester. They described the snow as magical and interesting, and were overjoyed at how beautiful the campus looked with a shallow blanket of snow. The majority of Saint Martin’s students are from “the mainland” and are used to weather changes and regular rain, but the Hawaiian population is experiencing these phenomena for the first time.
Overall, Hawaiian students have enjoyed their first Washington winter because of the change in climate. Unfortunately, Hawaiians have also reported differences in their mental and physical state. On the lighter side, Makana Fo said, “I couldnt feel my hands for the first week we got back to campus after winter break. I still shower [before] going to class.” Some of the female students spoke about their problems with dry skin and chapped lips as well as the need to buy more blankets. Hawaiians also find staying awake difficult because the sun sets earlier in Washington than back home. Leading into emotional or mental setbacks due to the weather, many students spoke on finding a way to stay productive and happy. There is not always an opportunity to spend time outside, so many of the Hawaiians work together to keep each other mentally healthy. Kaili Lebanon emphasized that by surrounding herself with other Hawaiians, she builds relationships with people who are going through the same thing as her. Some students spoke about how the weather started affecting their emotions and making them feel sad and gloomy all the time. Morioka-Kam replied, “The best way to keep depressive thoughts from taking over, is to keep yourself occupied and busy. Whether this is spending time with friends, or working out in the REC, there needs to be a way for you to get your emotions out.” Hawaiians are going from one extreme to another: constant sun to constant rain. It is understandable that Hawaiian students have changes in their emotions because they are adjusting, not only to a new climate, but being away at college. Every student who lives on campus understands the struggle of being away, but not everyone could handle a major change in temperature too.