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For Hawai'i Community College alumnus Jeremy Gambing, college is a way to advance in his hospitality career.

Alumni Profile: A College Journey Cut Short on the Mainland Continues in Kona

Jeremy Gambing is ready for more. Gambing has always had a passion for travel and people, so the hospitality industry has been a good fit for him, and he has worked at a major resort in Kona for about seven years. He has been in the same job position, however, and he wants to expand his opportunities and options. 

“Being in that same spot makes me want to grasp more, because I’m surrounded by amazing people in different departments, but I never get to see it,” Gambing said recently. “It’s that curiosity that kind of drives me to want more and learn more outside of my own department.” 

One of Gambing’s main strategies for career advancement? College. Specifically, Hawai‘i Community College - Pālamanui, where he earned an associate degree in liberal arts in 2019. After graduating, he transferred to an online degree program through the University of Hawai‘i at West O’ahu, which he discovered through the University Center, West Hawai‘i. He’s currently enrolled in a bachelor’s degree program in general business administration. 

“I want to stay in hospitality and want to learn more in the hotel, and if I learn it’s not what’s meant for me, then I have a general business background I can rely on,” he said. 

Attending Hawai‘i Community College - Pālamanui was Gambing’s second attempt at college. After graduating from Kealakehe High School, he went to the University of Nevada Las Vegas, but realized the cost was too high.

“The biggest thing was finances,” he said. “When I went to Vegas I didn’t understand the finances and didn’t get enough scholarships to finish four years there.”

He later realized that when he was in high school there was peer pressure to attend a four-year university, but it’s not the right fit for everyone. 

“I kind of followed when I went to UNLV,” he said. “I never sat down and questioned whether this journey was really for me.” 

When he returned to Kona, he began working, and thanks to Hawai‘i Community College - Pālamanui and the University Center, West Hawai‘i, the door to higher education was still open to him. 

“The biggest impact that Pālamanui had,” he said, “is that it was a reminder that education is key and that education is right there.”