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A Big Island Dilemma

March 8, 2010

The Dilemma

Living on the Big Island of Hawaii is amazing in so many ways.

But, every once in a while, life on a very big island with a very small population presents those of us who call Hawaii Island home with a Catch-22 kind of challenge and makes us reevaluate whether staying on this rock still makes sense.

For the younger generation, this is a common reality during the last years of high school.  For some, it can be a medical crisis or the longing to live closer to far-away family members.  For me, it’s about deciding whether it’s time to seek higher-education opportunities that are unavailable here.

Ever since making the final break with my original plan to be a teacher in Hawaii, I have been revisiting the possibility of going to law school.  I took the LSAT last year and, for several months now, have been weighing the alternatives:  should I stay or should I go?

Going means leaving the island, the place that has been my home for the last five years (that’s the same amount of time I called Oahu home after moving to Hawaii to teach in 2000).

Going means giving up the network of friends and acquaintances that has become my family and support system, half-a-world away from my “real” family.

Going means not having the chance to live on the Kohala coast (a day-dream just out of reach until this year due to obligations on the East side of the island).

The Decision

The options have been weighed, and, for now, the decision is to stay.  I’m putting the choice about law school on the shelf for a year.  It’s just too soon to leave this island I’ve come to love.

More importantly, I don’t feel like I can say with certainty that going to law school in Honolulu is the best next step.  Until I can, I just can’t take that leap and make that commitment.

I didn’t feel that way about moving to Hawaii.

When I got on the plane to fly to Honolulu, there wasn’t one doubt in my mind that I had made the right decision.  I want the same kind of peace about leaving the Big Island, if that ever becomes my reality.

Law school isn’t off the table, so over the next year I will be evaluating the option of a move to Honolulu for school, but will also be looking into the possibility of going back to the mainland for a few years.  If law school is my next step, I need to be confident that I’ve chosen the right school.

I have to admit, though, there is a part of me hoping that what I discover over the next year is that the Big Island exerts too great of a pull and that I just can’t bear to leave.  I’ll have to get back to you on that one.  The thing is…I still like living on this rock.

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