Leila Summers

AA Hospitality
Transferring Student

Why Choose College; A Student’s Perspective 

AA Hospitality Transferring Student

I’m a people person. I love seeing smiles on stranger’s faces when I talk with them! When I was younger, my mom told me “Leila, you should work in the hotels. You have a beautiful smile and you love to talk with people.” I didn’t really take her seriously at the time- like a lot of kids, I was spontaneous and carefree. Getting an important job seems ages away, and I never even considered going to college.

I dropped out of high school and went straight to work for several years. But then I realized that if I wanted to keep living this way, I’d have to get a college degree. The job market was changing so fast, and statistics show that by 2020, 65% of jobs will require a college degree. And this was ten years ago. So I got my GED, moved back to Kauai, and enrolled in KCC.

Now, I’m in my final semester as a hospitality and tourism major. I’m the Vice President of Leadership in Phi Theta Kappa, have a great internship in Koloa that I love, and will graduate this spring and go straight to work in a hotel, doing what I’m naturally good at- helping people.

I love giving back to this island, especially to high school kids because I know where these kids are coming from. Through a secondary internship with ClimbHI, I get to mentor them and show them that there are great jobs right at their back door. I want to teach them how to engage in the industry and to pass on the respect for our island home to others.

For me, it’s never about the money or the degree or the job. While those are all great things, my true passion is uplifting others to be their best. When I see someone smile from ear to ear because they just realized they can do something about their life, that’s when I know I’m doing what I’m supposed to be doing.