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Faith Beyond Campus: A Student's Journey of Spiritual Growth and Service

Arania Campbell, a senior majoring in Pacific studies from Laie, Hawaii, shares her journey in maintaining and strengthening her faith in Heavenly Father as she graduates from school ready for opportunities to serve Him.

Arania Campbell standing in front of BYUH campus.
Photo by Rosalind Pedron and Didier Pedron

An Opportunity for Education

“Life was pretty great growing up here.” Campbell excitedly said. She grew up experiencing the gospel-oriented life of the Latter-day Saint community here in Laie, with the emphasis of an education being instilled in her from an early age. Entering the Early College Program in Kahuku High and Intermediate School, she took college classes that helped her make an early decision on what major to pursue in the future. Although this program enabled her to get an associate degree in liberal arts, she was still unsure if university was the right fit for her. The decision to enroll in BYU–Hawaii was influenced by the fact that her mother, Patricia Hi’i Campbell, works as an academic advisor on campus.

“Growing up in a Polynesian household, I was taught that education is important and will take you far in life. With those values instilled, along with the gospel-oriented community around me, I prayed about it and came here,” Campbell said, showing how her environment helped with her decision. She adds, “A lot of my family members never got the opportunity to gain an education and I wanted to make them proud by availing this gift of being in a university.”

The Gospel, Resilience, and Good Friends

Arania Campbell walking in front of the BYUH campus.
Photo by Rosalind Pedron and Didier Pedron

Campbell found her university life here in BYU–Hawaii to be spiritually fulfilling. “I was able to grow my relationship with my Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ in this school. Growing up, I was taught the basic way to worship them, but my connection to my Savior evolved into genuine love because I was surrounded by people who had the same goals that I did. We all want to do great in school, but we also want to grow our relationship with our Lord and Savior. It’s one of the greatest things to ever happen to me.” Campbell said, highlighting the university’s combined mission to provide secular and spiritual learning.

She also learned resilience and sticking to one’s beliefs as a prime reason to succeed, saying “You just got to stay on top of it. Stay on top of all your projects, assignments, and homework. Stay on top of the values that mean the most to you. Because all this is what’s going to take you far in life.”

Finally, she emphasizes that the core of university life is the friends and connections you build here. “Surround yourself with good friends and good people. If you do this, they will want to see you succeed and you’ll also want to see them succeed.” Campbell said, showing that this motivation helps a person become whole.

Appreciation for Mentors

Campbell’s successes in BYU–Hawaii have been possible because of the help of mentors surrounding her, particularly professors Dr. Line-Noue Kruse and Dr. Michael Ligaliga.

“Dr. Kruse has a very big part in helping me get where I am today. Even as young as I was coming here, she had a lot of faith in me even when I didn’t have faith in myself. She has guided me to a path in what I want to become in life,” Campbell said, showcasing how Dr. Kruse’s expertise gave her a straight path to follow.

“Dr. Ligaliga was a very good mentor because of the same things I stated about Dr. Kruse, but mainly because he challenged us to think of solutions for situations that we wouldn’t expect to happen. This degree I’m finishing in Pacific studies is only possible because of his right-hand guidance of me.” Campbell said, complementing how Dr. Ligaliga has shaped her way of thinking.

Arania Campbell walking along the beach.
Photo by Rosalind Pedron and Didier Pedron

Advice for Current Students

As for some parting advice, Campbell tells students to “Make the most of your time here. Take it slow. Not too slow to the point that you’re not going anywhere, but slow enough to give yourself time to figure out what you want to do and enjoy the memories you make.” Regarding participation, she adds, “Attend all the activities, participate in all the clubs—as many as you can—, and go to school dances. Enjoy all you can, because once it’s time to put on the cap and gown, all of it will just be memories that you’ll cherish for how long.”

“A quote that always resonated with me is ‘The windows of heaven open in many ways. Some are temporal, but many are spiritual. Some are subtle and easy to overlook. Trust in the Lord’s timing; the blessings always come.’” Campbell stated, quoting a general conference talk by Elder Neil L. Andersen of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles. She adds, “The last four words stuck with me the most because during my time here, I couldn’t really see what God’s plan was for me regarding education, but trusting and putting my faith in Him really told me that my place was to be here.”

A Future in the Lord’s Vineyard

While Campbell does not have any concrete plans for a future career, her next step after graduation is to serve the Lord Jesus Christ as His representative in gathering scattered Israel. “I’ve been praying about it, but the next phase in my life is to go ahead and apply to serve a full-time mission. It’s never been part of my plans, but I decided to have the courage to ask Heavenly Father, and I got an answer that it was the right thing for the people I serve and for me.” Campbell said, excited to trade her cap and gown for a black nametag representing Jesus Christ and teaching His gospel.

From an early associate degree to a full-time student in Pacific studies, Arania Campbell’s journey at BYU–Hawaii has been a prime example of how discipleship with Jesus Christ can shape decisions, increase faith, and create new paths in life. As she ends her academic journey for a journey in saving souls unto Christ, her faith will take her places beyond BYU–Hawaii, as she has entered to learn and will now “go forth to serve.”