By Danielle Fielder
A 64-year-old college student at Honolulu Community College maneuvers through the hardships of generational differences while studying in the MELE program.
Timothy Hurley is in his second semester. Hurley is a full-time student, while also being a musician and singer. He is enrolled in the Music Entertainment Learning Experience program on campus where he studies the engineering aspects of making music. Before coming to Honolulu Community College, the last school Hurley went to was Leeward Community College, approximately 32 years ago, where he received a two-year associate degree.
In the late 1970s, Hurley was in a popular band named Summer. His band recorded a couple albums and even had the chance to go on tour, but after being in the spotlight for a bit, Hurley enlisted in the National Guard and also took up a full-time job at a utility company.
In 2005, Hurley retired from the Hawaiian Air National Guard after being in for 26 years. Years later, when he heard from a friend about the GI bill, a Veterans Affairs education benefit earned by members of Active Duty that covers a portion of educational costs, he knew that going back to school was something he wanted to do. Hurley wanted to return back to school, before the GI Bill expired in 2020, to continue his education, and he loved the Mele program that HonCC had to offer. Since Hurley already was a recording artist, he wanted to learn more engineering music to help recording artists.
Unfortunately, Hurley has had setbacks, however. Hurley says that “the only downside is that, in addition to all these music classes, I have to take other classes” and that “it took a little while to get my brain functioning again cause for 32 years and 7 months where I was working, I was using computers and I was running electrical equipment. I didn’t have to use my brain in that capacity that I was using it in school.” But Hurley admits that one of the difficulties he has been facing are the generational differences between him and his other classmates. He feels as though he is trying to catch up to other students who have better computer skills than he does, but he says, “other than that, I’m just like any other student trying to learn.”
To anyone considering going to school Hurley says, “If they didn’t have the chance before, they have the chance now, if they can make ends meet. Yeah, by all means.”
By Danielle Fielder