Full-time worker, hospice volunteer, and dog-lover, 34 year old Kelly Duval of Winchendon, MA juggles very busy work and school schedules. She is on track to finish a Bachelor’s degree with a concentration in Human Services Advocacy. Her advisor is Karen Stevens.
Every non-traditional age student has a story. What’s your story?
I graduated from High School in ‘98. I went to Cosmetology school for one year. I quickly learned that I loved to listen to clients more than I enjoyed styling their hair. I got certified as a Nurse’s Aide. Then, I decided to go to college. Even though my grandfather was a doctor, I was nervous because I was the first person in my immediate family to go to college. I worked full-time and went to school part-time at Mount Wachusett Community College. Finally, after seven years I graduated with my Associate’s Degree in Human Services. I knew I needed to go back to school if I wanted to make a living in this field. I’m currently working for Life-Skills, Inc.
Why did you choose UMass Amherst UWW to complete your degree?
I heard about UWW through my co-workers. I met Lee Manchester (former UWW faculty member) and he assured me that I would be able to earn my Bachelor’s Degree through UWW.
Karen Stevens is my advisor. She gives me tremendous support. I enjoy her style of teaching. Every week I have an assignment that’s due Saturday by 10pm. I work at my own pace throughout the work week. I don’t have to leave my home or be in a classroom one night a week. Online classes are very convenient as long as you can discipline yourself.
What are you studying?
I’m currently studying Human Service Advocacy. I started UMass Amherst UWW last semester. I’m taking one class at a time so I can pay for each class as I go. It works out great.
How do you balance work, school, and family?
I work full time. I have a few side jobs and I’m a hospice volunteer. I’m in the process of getting married. I take care of my own home. I have a loving dog and two fun cats. I’m busy with my day-to-day schedule. I think UWW is a great way for someone to earn his or her degree while working and raising a family. You just have to make sure you set aside some time to do the work. I try to do a little homework each night. If I procrastinate then I get overwhelmed.
What are your future plans, professionally and personally?
I’m planning to get my Bachelor degree with a focus in Human Services. Then I hope to get my Masters in Social Work. I’d love to work with the elderly or substance abuse recovery and/or prevention. God willing, my fiancé and I will have children. In addition, we’re taking over a family Christmas tree farm.
Tell readers something cool about yourself that no one would guess about you.
I love the great outdoors. I love to hike, go camping and walk my boxer Bosco. Also, I love to travel and learn new things. I think we need to continue learning in order to grow.
Please add anything else you want people to know about you, your family, and your story.
I don’t think I would have genuine compassion for those hurting if it wasn’t for my father. Unfortunately, my father unexpectedly passed away two years ago from alcohol abuse, but because of him I have a calling to help people. God has taught me through his suffering how to survive and how to help others. I take one day at a time and I’m encouraged that good things are about to come.