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Carolyn Castaneda

With Career and Family as Her Focus, Accounting Major Carolyn Castaneda Returns to College

Carolyn Castaneda enrolled at Hawai'i Community College as an Accounting major. We spoke with her earlier this semester; the interview has been edited for length and clarity. 

Tell us about your background

I was born and raised here on the Big Island. I currently live in my hometown in Waimea with my fiance and two youngest children. I work full time for a non-profit organization as their finance and administrative support specialist. And in my spare time I enjoy going to the beach with my family, doing community work, giving back to the community, doing volunteer work. 

Did you ever attend college before? 

I did in the past. I tried, but you know, life got busy and I wanted to work, and once I started working, I just stopped thinking about school. Now that I'm older, it's like, I want to go back to school. I want something. I want a degree. So here I am. 

What made you return to college? 

I want to be able to provide a better life for my family. Also, work is really important to me and I want to be able to be the backbone of the company that I work for, and that's what accountants do.

I do accounting for a living, and I've been doing it for so many years, but I never really understood everything about it. Being here I’ve learned a lot more and understand more.

What was it like returning to college? 

I felt a little nervous about it because I wasn't too sure if I could go to work, take care of my family and go to school at the same time. But I've come to realize that I can balance that out, and I'm glad that I'm going through full throttle with this. 

How has your experience been at Hawai'i Community College? 

The experience has been great. My instructors are super awesome. They've been very helpful. I'm never hesitant to shoot them an email to ask them, can you help me with this? Or if I had a question, they were always there for me. So I'm glad that I made the leap to be here.

What would you say to someone considering attending Hawai'i CC? 

I would say that if they're thinking about it, they should go for it. You know, life is short, and if you want to reach that goal, and if you have a dream to be something or want to do something in your life, go for it. Don't let anything stop you.