“My name is Mahina Sauer, I’m a junior Nursing major, and I play softball here at SNU.
I’m from Mililani, Hawaii. I’ve lived in the same house all of my life. Often times in Hawaii, your name is either a family name or a phrase telling a story. My parents didn’t think they could have another child after having my older sister. My name means: “The bright moon shining over the calm sea,” which resembles the hope my parents saw when they discovered they were having me. If you ever want to know my full name, just ask.
I grew up Catholic, although I wouldn’t consider my family as “practicing Catholics” and attended a Christian school K-12. When I came to SNU I was really just going through the motions. I was closed off, and I didn’t have very many friends because I was only here for softball.
I’ve played softball since I was 6. Well, baseball actually. I guess my dad grew tired of hearing me say, “I hate being around all the boys”, so he made a little coach pitch softball team. Softball is that getaway for me. When everything else is changing, softball has always been my constant. The sport brought me some of my closest friends. It was the people, not necessarily the sport, that shaped my life and who I am today.
On the softball field, there are days that are gonna be really dark. If you’re not doing well, or if you’re like me and get hurt your freshman year. That injury put me in a really rough spot and I already wasn’t in a good place because my only motive for coming to SNU was softball. When I couldn’t play softball, I began to have the attitude of “well what else is there for me?”
My whole life, I’ve just been “Mahina who plays softball” and I now know I have other qualities to offer. This is my third year at SNU and throughout my time here I was able to discover who I am as a person, not who I am as a softball player. My parents see it too. My mom was even saying, “Who would’ve thought? You were an New Student mentor last year, and now you’re an Resident Advisor.” Even my high school friends are astounded by my involvement, and tell me I would’ve never gone after these things. I don’t know, this place brings out something in me that I never saw before. One of the most profound things I’ve learned, is that my identity is not in softball.
The people who impacted me definitely influenced my decisions to apply for leadership positions on campus. They were always welcoming and willing to go the extra mile. Kimmie Runnels was my NSI mentor. No matter what she was going through, she was consistently my ray of sunshine. Sadie Shaull, was my Resident Advisor the past two years and there’s not even enough time to talk about that girl. My sophomore year, even after being an NSI mentor, I still didn’t really belong here. She would always catch me at the right times or send me a text saying “Hey I was thinking about you today! I just want you to know you are loved, wanted, and I’m here whenever you need me. ” Sadie wasn’t just my RA, she became my friend. I felt that it was only right to give back in the same way that people kept pouring into me.
Servant leadership is being a light for somebody else. Sydni Toilolo, who played on the softball team for the past two years, was my light. You’ve got to be that spark for other people, when they feel like nothing else is going right for them. I’m not somebody who likes to be out front, I like to lead by example.
I’ve become more comfortable with sharing parts of my story with people that before coming here I didn’t think anyone would really care about. At first, people were so friendly and approachable, I just thought they were putting up a front. It took me a little while to rid my mind of the stereotypes I had of “mainland people”. I had the epiphany that maybe SNU is not much different than home. It’s just a different landscape.”