By Seluvaia Sika, Kapi‘o Staff Writer /
With three children at home and a challenging course load at school, Kapi‘olani Community College student Chasity Akim leads a life full of complications yet her approach to handling it all is remarkably simple.
For Akim, 34, everything boils down to faith, family and a better future.
Akim was born and raised in Waimanalo and attended St. Partick School and Maryknoll School before graduating from McKinley High School.
While she has held several jobs over the years — from cashier at Hardware Hawaii to baker at Zippy’s Restaurant to clerk typist and cafeteria helper for the state Department of Education — Akim has always been drawn to health care.
In 2014, Akim completed an associate’s degree in medical assisting from Heald College in 2014. Despite being pregnant and eventually giving birth while classes were still in session, she graduated with honors and was selected to speak on behalf of her class at graduation.
Akim is now completing prerequisites at KCC in preparation to apply for a nursing program. She ultimately hopes to work as an operating room nurse.
“I am aiming for the Queen’s Medical Center because within the state of Hawaii, Queen’s is known to be elite of all the hospitals,” she says.
Akim’s daily schedule is always full. She typically awakes around 5:30 a.m. to pray and conduct daily devotionals, and prepare a bottle for her 2-year-old daughter. After dropping off their 9-year-old at school, Akim’s husband takes Akim to KCC, where she attends classes and studies until her husband returns at 5:20 p.m. Back at home, Akim prepares dinner for the family and helps her 9-year-old with homework. Once the children are put to bed, she completes her own homework over a cold beer or glass of wine, says her nightly prayers and retires.
“Two, 9 and 15,” Akim says. “Those are the ages of my daughters. They’re my hobby, my life and everything.”
Despite her wearying schedule, Akim says she finds peace and inspiration at school.
“KCC is not just a place of learning,” she says. “It’s a place with the most supportive, compassionate and caring faculty and staff.”
In addition to her classes, Akim said she is looking forward to working as a peer mentor at KCC’s Native Hawaiian Career Technical Education. For her, the added responsibility is welcome.
“If it wasn’t for school I’d be at home going crazy,” she said. “School is my therapy.”
Typically dressed in yoga pants, tank top and fitted hat, Akim has a laid-back demeanor and easy sense of humor that belies her assertiveness and focus. Referring to herself “highly self-motivated,” Akim said she is firmly committed to achieving her goals.
“Although this season in my life is challenging, I always keep God at the center in all that I do,” she says. “Doing such allows me to carry on with my commitment to my academics whatever life throws my way.”