Marisol Willson is a first-year student at UH Mānoa majoring in International Business and Management with a minor in fine arts. A Trinity Christian School graduate from Waimānalo, she is a recipient of the Clifford and Blanche Hee Endowed Scholarship in Honor of Thomas and Michael Hee and a UH Mānoa Equity and Access Scholarship.
I chose UH Mānoa because it was in my budget and close to my family and home. I love Hawai‘i—I am a surfer at heart and UHM is ten minutes away from my surf spot, which was a big factor in my decision. I am not a part of a surf club at UH, but I recently joined a Surfrider Foundation club that cleans up the beaches around O‘ahu and helps pass bills regarding ocean protection. I am also in a taekwondo club on campus that I love. I have always been in some sort of sparring sport and they make it free to join, which is a big blessing.
I am also looking into joining the International Business Organization to start networking and to begin finding out what it means to be in the International Business program. I want to travel as a part of my job, so participating in organizations directly related to that field is a perfect opportunity.
At UH Mānoa, I have been able to take classes with incredible teachers. My Business 200 class was taught by Dr. Paranal, and he sparked my delight in the business world, teaching me just how many fields there are in “business.” Through teachers like him, I've come to love the classes I’m attending and I see the value of them. Economics is a bit difficult for my brain to understand, but I am working hard to overcome that.
After UH, I plan to live in different countries and use my education to obtain jobs I can excel in and be a leader for others. I am planning a study abroad trip to Japan next year, and to Italy the year after, so I hope to be able to revisit those countries and meet with people and companies I networked with previously. I am looking forward to my future and what I will learn to help me on my journey.
Inspired to study on distant shores
I decided on International Business because I came from a multicultural household that inspired me to study other cultures and travel the world, instead of just staying in one country. Because my passion is to live and work in different countries and cultures, International Business seemed to fit me the best.
Both of my parents had to pay for their own college tuition, and my mom had to pause her education, because she was working three jobs and had to help her family. She always told me that she never wanted me to go through the stress of having to work through college that she went through. So my family wanted to do everything they could for me to not have any debt, and to be able to get an education.
My family does not have a lot of money, and these scholarships I have received have not only helped my own stress, but also my parents’. They don’t need to worry how they are going to help pay for my education—instead, they can see me flourish and study abroad without having to worry about fnances.
I get stressed quite easily. If I have grades lower than A, I worry that I will lose scholarships, so to combat this stress, I have found myself visiting the Japanese garden on campus. The garden has become my safe place where I can rest, listen to music, or do homework in a peaceful environment. Campus life is exciting, but finding a place like this has really been my saving grace through these past semesters.
Mahalo nui to all my scholarship donors. I am so beyond grateful for the help I received from you. Your donation takes a burden from me and my family about how to afford college. I love school, and I strive to attain excellent grades because I know I can achieve them. With your help, I can focus more on my studies and not on work that would bring me stress if I wanted to maintain good grades.
I will not take this for granted, but rather use this gift to fuel me to graduate from UH with a double major within (most hopefully) four years. I again thank you so much for this opportunity you have given me and I will continue to make you proud through my studies and my work at UH Mānoa.