ADS & ODS 1988

Patriotism (October 1988)
Life After College for Liberal Arts Majors (November 1988)


by Danny Campos

There is a short story by Yukio Mishima entitled "Patriotism." It is a beautifully written piece about a young Japanese officer having to choose whether to follow his civic duty, as ordered by the Imperial army, or his conscience. In the end he chooses the latter and, in doing so, he commits seppuko to honorably discharge the consequence of his insubordinate behavior. He is patriotic because he did what was required of him given the dictate of the Japanese culture.

For most of us Americans, few would ever go so far as to committing seppuko to display our patriotism. For one thing, it is simply not in our culture to do so; we have other means of expressing our patriotism, some heroic and some less heroic. It begins often in kindergarten when we are required to recite the pledge of allegiance and stand at attention while the flag is raised. This continues throughout high school and beyond, sometimes merging what is patriotic with what is our civic duty. And so, we have advertisements that urge us to vote, to serve on a jury, and so forth because these are all patriotic gestures as well as our civic duties.

On certain occasion we honor our war dead because they have given the ultimate sacrifice in the service of their country. Their patriotism is never questioned. It is only for us the living that patriotism is tested occasionally. And while it is easy to see patriotism embodied in a tomb, there are other kinds of patriotism, less explicit, more subtle that will never be known but to a person himself.

I am reminded of this subject after meeting a certain individual who is sent here to pursue an advanced degree from a foreign country. He admits to having gone through a contract process to ensure his return to his homeland upon completion of his studies. Yet, for him, such contracts are insignificant because he can very well break them, and easily pay the stipulated fines in a matter of weeks should he decide to do so, and stay here as others before him have done. Understandably, given the economic constraint that besets his homeland, it is perhaps wiser for him to do so. His family has, in fact, encouraged him to do just that.

Yet, he chooses to return to his country, to share the fruit of his education to an impoverished land. His decision is not based solely on his patriotic feelings towards his country, but rather in his deep sense of urgency. It is his country that needs him most and it is in his country that he can best utilize the education he has acquired here.

His decision will never be known, will never be enshrined in a monument for public adoration, because it is what is expected of him first. Perhaps he, himself, is not even aware of the patriotic overtone of his decision. Yet, it is a reality that faces many students here from abroad, especially those who come from economically "underdeveloped" nations.

We could very well learn from such patriotism; that it is not always a bold gesture that counts but a silent resolution that sometimes must be suffered solemnly.

Nevertheless, in the case of this individual, the Philippines will get a "brain gain" from America. And for this we should be glad that a certain patriotism is alive and well, not the gun-toting kind that is often depicted in movies and recruitment posters.

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Life After College for Liberal Arts Majors

by Dynah Soquena

On November 18th, the University of Hawai'i Manoa's Career Services Placement Office sponsored a panel consisting of recently graduated liberal arts students. The panel, entitled Is There Life After UH?, was geared not-only to relate experiences in making the transition from college to the world of work, but also to give advice and insights through a question and answer discourse.

The panel was composed of former economics, sociology and communications majors. Each panelist shared some feelings and doubts while working for an undergraduate degree in liberal arts.

Some recalled being 'stuck' when ask by parents, relatives or friends: "What will you do with such a major?" Some wondered if they should be taking business classes. It did not seem to them that there was life after college for students in their fields of study. However, the six UH graduates made surprising discoveries in the "outside world" as they began to establish their careers.

Pastora Dona, a former communication major, now working as an administration specialist in Bank of Hawaii says, "Employers are open to different perspectives. It seemed attractive to them that I was from 'tine outside' and could bring in fresh ideas." Dona admitted that the interviewers did focus on her major for a short time, but as a whole, they really wanted to see what college had done for her. It is important to show that one is trainable and willing to learn. "Employers try to perceive an applicant's overall character."

Brian Norwood, employed in United Airlines Ramp Service said, "A job applicant is more than a person with an education. Other non-academic past experiences can become significant cant to one's career making. Norwood claims that being a former football player taught him perseverance, assertiveness, patience and the importance of hard work.

All panelists stressed that being "socially intelligent" is one of the major keys to success. It is important to know how to get along well with people from all levels.

Steve Sturman, a former economics major claimed that a good liberal arts background helped him gain more confidence in dealing and relating with different people in the working world. Sturman, now a Financial Analyst in Bank of Hawaii, added, Taking all those classes in humanities, arts, science and business made me a more open-minded person that is surprisingly crucial to one's career. Someone with a 'closed mind' will not be able to relate with others, and such person cannot do business."

The panelists also agreed that despite popular opinion to the contrary, skills they learned from a liberal arts program are indeed practical and helpful in attaining there chosen careers.

Dwayne Baro, flight attendant for Continental Airlines shared that he always wanted to travel and is now perfectly happy with his present job. "One does not need a TIM degree to work with the airlines," said Baro, a former communication major. Baro also claimed that working with UHM's Financial Aids Office concurrently with his major gave him the skills and preparation to deal with complaints of airline customers and "difficult" passengers.

What, then, must liberal arts majors and students in other fields of study need to take with them to the work world? Common sense, speaking and writing skills ranked highest in the necessity list. "One should take as many writing classes as possible," say Sturman. Writing can make very strong impressions. It reveals whether one is concise, organized and attentive to detail."

The panelists shared other advice regarding the process of job-hunting. "Use the Career Placement Office," says Naomi Higa, a former sociology major, now a claims adjuster for an insurance company. "The Career Placement Office offers a wide range of services that include information on job openings, preparation for an interview and how to create a resume."

Mark Uyeda, who recently became an administrative officer for the state, said, "A resume must be well researched. Employers are always looking for something special in an applicant." Uyeda recommended that graduating seniors should become involved themselves with internships during their final semester in college to gain head start.

Dona suggested that students should apply early, possibly a few months before graduation because competition can get rather high. "Don't wait for graduation, or don't feel that no one would hire a person who hasn't graduated yet. Many employers are willing to wait. Above ale the panelists final advice to future job seekers is, "Don't get discouraged and hold on to those goals."

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