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Q&A with Sarah Halinowski: Believe in yourself

Sarah Halinowski received her associate's degree in liberal arts from Kapi‘olani Community College and now works as a department manager at Gucci. She originally planned to pursue a career in PR, but through her experiences working in retail she not only discovered an interest in retail management; she also learned the value of building relationships, believing in yourself and staying true to your core values.

How has your UH education helped you in your career?

I attended Kapi‘olani Community College (KCC) during my senior year of high school through their Running Start program. I was ambitious in taking six courses each semester in order to graduate early, as I had plans to move to California in pursuit of a bachelor’s degree that would land me my dream job at a PR firm. As I worked part time in order to pay for my classes at KCC, I struggled to keep up with the workload of six classes and not having enough time between commuting and working. I had a sociology professor who stressed the importance of time management and being reasonable with myself by setting the right goals and sticking to them. It taught me that in order to succeed, I needed to know myself; what worked for me and what didn’t, and what to do with that information.

My time in college shaped my core values and perspective which held the greatest influence in the changes I made throughout my career. I faced monumental challenges in my home, school and work life that forced me out of my comfort zone, teaching me that growth is not found in comfort. I rediscovered my love for drawing and painting, picked up film photography as a side-hobby, and started to feel myself becoming the person I needed most during my darkest times. I was not a person showered with praise whenever she achieved something, nor was I somebody others admired. Pursuing my education despite the curve balls in my life telling me I could not do it, is my proudest achievement. It taught me to treat others the way they want to be treated, and that there is something to learn and love in everyone you meet. Keeping an open mind and challenging myself to improve each day in school was the warm-up I needed once I discovered what I wanted to do with my life.

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University of Hawai‘i Alumni