By Chris Takahashi | Staff Writer

It’s a Monday morning just a couple weeks back and I’m making my way to Honolulu Community College (HCC) for a summer school course. Being entirely unfamiliar with that campus, I consulted a campus map the evening prior to find my classroom and to scout out the parking situation. From the pocket-sized screen of my cellphone, parking looked to be about a two-minute walk from my classroom building. Easy enough, right?

Well, in reality, the parking lot is in fact just under a two-minute walk from my classroom, but it was not where I eventually parked. The posted signs said “permit required,” so I made my way to some of the other campus parking lots in the vicinity only to find the same “permit required” sign everywhere I went. At this point, my plan to arrive 10 minutes early to the first day of class was beginning to look bleak, but if I found some nearby street parking I knew that I could definitely make it to class on time.

I parked on King Street and checked the map again for the most direct route to class from my now-current location. This led me down Austin Lane into a warehouse parking lot and a perimeter chain-link fence—with small barbs staggered along the top—acting as the sole barricade preventing me from making it to class on time.

I arrived only about a minute or two late, at least according to my watch, but much more time would have elapsed had I retraced my steps back up Austin Lane without … ahem … hopping the fence quickly. I’ve since learned that those permit-only parking lots are available to anyone during the summer months and my morning commute has now become quite streamlined.

I’ve also learned that HCC, though analogous to KCC by virtue of being a community college in the U.H. System, also has a couple features that our home campus (KCC) could implement.

They have a pretty liberal policy toward foods/drinks in the library by allowing you to drink liquids with covered lids (coffee anyone?) and consume snacks while working at the study tables. I can’t be the only KCC student that would, more often than not, want to have coffee at arm’s length while studying in the Lama Library. Coffee is a college student’s best friend.

Speaking of coffee, and this will surely sound like I’m harping on the subject, but it seems that the coffee shop within the KCC cafeteria is hardly open. Over at HCC, they have a coffee stand right outside their library serving up hot and cold java goodness to any passerby, and I’ve only seen that place closed once in the last couple weeks. It was during a time in which there was some on-campus construction across the walkway, announced by the constant and jarring noise of a jackhammer kicking up dirt. I’m not sure if there was any direct correlation between the construction and the coffee shop being closed during the time I walked by, but the coffee stand was promptly open the next day. That seems consistent enough for my caffeine needs.

But, if HCC tops KCC on those two minor details, there’s still no question that I’d prefer to be taking my summer school class at KCC. How many campuses feature near-panoramic views of Maunaloa Bay? And even if HCC’s cafeteria feels more modern (or at least it has to have been remodeled in more recent history), KCC gets the nudge for campus dining with its well-regarded culinary department.

When I step back on KCC’s campus for classes this fall, I’ll be happy to be back on my home campus. But, I’d be even happier if I could take my coffee into the KCC library on study breaks. Ignorance really is bliss, as they say.