Meet 33 year old Nantucket resident, duel U.S./French citizen and UMass Amherst UWW student Kai Hodge. Winner of a $1250 UWW Jeffrey C. Taylor Scholarship, Kai talks about being a first generation college student, keeping on top of her studies, and her goal of going on to graduate school. Her concentration: Public Policy and Administration. Her advisor: Lisa Fontes.
Every non-traditional age student has a story. What’s your story?
My story started with having distortions about college and which types of people attended. A combination of confusion and misinformation prompted me to go right to work out of high school instead of going to college. I lacked the confidence and encouragement and I didn't know how the college process worked because no one in my family went so college itself was shrouded in mystery.
I worked in a few different positions from cashier, bank teller, legal assistant and customer service rep. I have increased my skills in the work world via experience and meeting new people. I slowly began to understand the importance of an education and I gave myself permission to go against the grain of my family's wooden spoon.
Why did you choose UMass Amherst UWW to complete your degree?
After a bad experience with a for profit online school I was determined to attend a reputable state university to complete my degree and UMass Amherst UWW was the perfect option to fit those needs.
What was the best part about being a UWW student for you?
The best part about UWW is the option to pursue your educational goals regardless of location. I am also happy to discover my curiosity and thirst for learning academically that I never knew I had. I am grateful for the opportunity to attend UMass Amherst UWW as it allows me the option to pursue my educational dreams.
What does winning a $1250 scholarship mean to you?
Winning the scholarship means a lot to me and proves that when you put in some effort the possibilities are worth it. I didn't expect to be chosen and I am proud that I put forth the effort to try.
What’s been your favorite class at UMass Amherst so far?
My favourite class so far has been economics. I was so fascinated by the study of the markets of the US and the world and to learn about Marx, Keynes and other famous economists.
What have been the benefits of taking your classes online?
The benefits of learning online are several but to start I am able to juggle two jobs and still be able to complete my education and learn without moving to another town to do so.
How do you balance work, school and other responsibilities? What advice do you have for other adult students?
I balance my work and school life by starting the week printing out the week at a glance for each glass. Then I do a little bit of something school related EACH DAY to avoid weekend pile up. It doesn't have to be the full assignments but if I have a 3 page paper to write, I do maybe 3 paragraphs a day to lighten the load. I also have time blocked out away from home to work on assignments. It's important to be out of the house because there will be less excuses, procrastinating.
I advise other students to make sure to stay in touch with their adviser and check with your adviser before booking a class to avoid paying for classes that aren't needed. Take no breaks from college just push through and do a little at a time. I cant believe I've almost completed.
What are your future plans professionally and personally?
My plans for the future involve working on completing a masters in either Public Policy or International Human rights law. If I find a position domestically I will pursue a masters degree. If I am unable to find a position, I will pursue my masters in international law overseas. I hope to one day work for the government on a state or federal level. I also harbour a deep interest in working overseas specifically the Netherlands, the home of international law court which is another interest of mine. Either way I am going to further my studies and am excited for the future.
Tell readers something cool about yourself that no one would guess about you?
Something that is unknown about me is that I am a dual citizen of France and the United States.