Reflecting on the Co-Op Experience

Lauren shares her favorite memories from her Co-op experience in Hawaii.

Describe a favorite highlight or memory of your experiences in the clinic and outside of work?
Our last day on the island, we met up with one of our coworkers/ friends Shelly. The six of us woke up at dawn, hopped in two cars and drove up to the most western portion of the island near Ka’ena Point. Shelly knew a small beach where dolphins usually circle in the morning. We had seen them from the shore when we were assembling our gear. We put on our fins and snorkel gear and swam out a few hundred feet off of shore. We waited and waited and after about 45 minutes we were about ready to call it quits, when all of a sudden we heard their high pitched calls. We raced back out just in time to catch them swimming by. It was a great way to culminate all of the amazing adventures and experiences I had throughout my time.

My favorite memory inside the clinic came from the Kailua Open House. The staff at Kailua worked really hard to prepare to show off the clinic to the entire staff. We prepared games, including pin the tail on the bunny with a psychedelic tie-dye bunny rabbit. Everyone took turns trying to pin the tail on the bunny with very little success, many people didn't even hit the same wall. It was my greatest memory from my time at Fukuji and Lum.

Who had the most impact on you during your time here?
My supervisor Brynn had a profound impact on my experience in Hawaii. Not only was she acgreat resource for any problems I had at the clinic but she also came to be one of my closest friends in my time there. We spent many nights playing board games or going to the beach with the rest of the co-ops. It was great to have both a mentor and a friend to go to when I had an issue. Not to mention our fiercely competitive Wordle competition.

What was the most surprising thing that you did not expect to learn?
I learned so much about Hawaiian culture not only through coworkers but many of my patients took the time to enlighten me with all of their stories and tales. One of my patients was an older gentleman who grew up right next to the current Kailua clinic, he watched Kailua town turn from a scrappy neighborhood into what it is today. One day I sneezed during our session and he said “Kihe a mauli ola” and explained that it means breath of life.

If you had to choose one word about your experience, what word would you choose?
If I had to choose one word to describe my experience at Fukuji and Lum and with my time in Hawaii, I would choose malama. Malama means to take care of and tend to. Everyone that I met in my time in Hawaii was watching over others, putting everyone else before themselves, which is really the spirit of Hawaii that I felt deeply when I was there. No matter wether it is celebrating a birthday, or sharing laughs on aloha friday, everyone's purpose is to serve others and make them feel loved.

From this experience, what intentions will you have going forward with your career?
My experience with Fukuji and Lum has given me a great idea of what a company should look like. From top to bottom the entire company treats each other as ohana, with love and respect for patients and coworkers alike. I will carry this philosophy of business into whatever company I end up at, trying to help my coworkers feel like they are at home within their work environment.