By Danielle Fielder, Kā La: Honolulu Community College Student News

A 64-year-old college student at Honolulu Community College (HonCC) is maneuvering through the hardships of generational differences while studying in the Music Entertainment Learning Experience (MELE) program.


Timothy Hurley is a second semester MELE student. In addition to being a full-time student studying the engineering aspects of making music, he is also a musician and singer. 

Before coming to HonCC, the last school Hurley attended 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 of albums and even had the chance to go on tour. After being in the spotlight for a bit, he enlisted in the National Guard and also had a full-time job at a utility company.

In 2005, Hurley retired from the Hawaiian Air National Guard after 26 years of service. Years later, 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. Hurley realized that going back to school was something he wanted to do.

He wanted to continue his education before the GI Bill expired in 2020. Since Hurley already was a recording artist, he wanted to learn more engineering music to help recording artists. That passion brought him to the MELE program at HonCC.

Unfortunately, Hurley has had setbacks. “The only downside is that, in addition to all these music classes, I have to take other classes. It took a little while to get my brain functioning again cause for  32 years and 7 months I didn’t have to use my brain in capacity in the way  I was using it in school.”

He admits that one of the difficulties he has been facing is the generational differences between him and 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.”