Cheryl Kapahu

Freshman and Hawaii Ducks scholarship recipient makes her transition into college and the different environment of Oregon.

By UO student Chelsea Fullmer

Familiar with the tropical rain of the Aloha state, UO freshman Cheryl Kapahu thought she could easily handle the notorious rain of the Pacific Northwest.

“When I moved here, everyone was like, ‘Oh you’re going to have deal with the rain a lot, it rains all the time,’ and I was like, ‘I’m from Hawaii, I can deal with rain,’” Kapahu said.

But she quickly realized that the rain on the island of Oahu was vastly different than Eugene, and was in the dark when it came to Oregon’s cold winter days.

“No one once mentioned to me that it got cold,” Kapahu said. “I honestly moved up here with no clue that it dropped below 60 degrees. I had to buy all new clothes.”

Since her move to Eugene last June though, Kapahu has acclimated to both the weather and life as a freshman at the UO, creating memories including her first time in Autzen Stadium, seeing her first snowfall (twice in one year), travelling to the natural hot springs, and seeing the Pacific Ocean from a different perspective on the Oregon coast.

Cheryl's first snow.

Originally interested in attending an art school in a metropolitan city, Kapahu, who is majoring in art at the UO, ultimately decided she couldn’t stray too far away from nature. Kapahu’s mother wanted to make sure her daughter had viable options for various majors in case she changed her mind down the road, and suggested Ivy League schools—though Kapahu was not interested. The two ended up meeting in the middle at the UO, a university with a good art program, among others, as well as a big-school environment close to nature.

Kapahu applied to numerous schools in the Pacific Northwest, and not only heard good things about the UO from former schoolmates who are current Ducks, but also received generous scholarships from the UO, including one from the UOAA’s Hawaii Ducks chapter.

“Scholarships were a big contributing factor,” said Kapahu.

While Kapahu knew she always wanted to attend school out of state, being away from home did cause some longing for the Aloha spirit. But according to the Office of Admissions, Hawaii is one of the 15 most represented states in enrollment, outside of Oregon, something Kapahu soon realized.

“Almost every class I’ve taken, I’ve run into people from Hawaii,” said Kapahu. “It is nice, so I don’t feel super far away from home.”