Kelly HudsonPsychology Alumni 2007
"Nothing about Saybrook is traditional," says Kelly Hudson. "Nothing about Saybrook is basic. I was able to go on school, still work, still help people, and get better at it while I got my degree. It fit me perfectly."
Kelly never imagined she'd find a school that fit. The odds were daunting: all she had to go on was a childhood dream of being a counselor.
"But only three or four of my family members had even gone to college, and I didn't know how I would do that, or how that could be a part of my future," she remembers. "My mom, growing up, would always tell me: 'you can be anything you want!' and I would think ‘yeah, what do you know? You never graduated high school.'"
Kelly went to college for the first time in 1986, after her mother died. "My church gave me the opportunity to go by paying for some of my tuition, and I decided: ‘this is it, I'm going to do it!'"
She declared psychology her major – but it wasn't that easy. Life can be hard for even the most determined dreamer, and over the next few years Kelly found herself dropping out, coming back, and ending up on a graduation stage … but with a major in Business.
That was a mixed triumph, but it left her all the more hopeful that she could eventually get a degree in psychology … and with all the more need for one.
By this point she and her partner were child care providers, and found themselves increasingly called upon for expertise. "You're not just working with the children," she says. "From the moment that clock strikes 7 to the moment everyone goes home, you're working with families in need all day, and a lot of them are first time parents asking things like ‘how do I help her sleep at night?' or ‘his grandmother just passed away, what do I tell him?' So I decided I needed to go right back to school to get that psychology degree, become a counselor, and be the person they can depend on – the person who has the answers."
She found Saybrook by accident. "It just popped up midway through the search, and I realized it fit me as a person: it was personalized, it was psychology about people."
The program was everything she'd hoped for. "My master's was perfect for me. I had been in business already about 10 years, and the professor that I had actually tailored their classes to what I was doing and needed to learn - every assignment I did for my M.A. had an affect on what I'm doing now with the business because my professors really cared about who I am as a person and how the education I was getting would work with what I wanted to do."
Saybrook helped her transform her business, and made her much more confident about being the person families turn to for advice.
"Now I'm getting questions not just about people's children, but about communication with their spouses, with other relatives. I get teased now that I should charge for answering emails from parents that ask for advice – but I don't because that's part of the atmosphere I'm trying to create. My experience at Saybrook has played a critical role in our reputation, in the kind of service I provide, people know when they come here that they can ask these questions with confidence. That's fantastic."
It's also changed her life in other ways – introducing her to life long friends, including her best friend – and taking her closer to her next dream: she's now pursuing her PhD at Saybrook.
"I'll be the first PhD in my family, and it's because people believed in me," she says. "I can't believe it: a dream that I had some 35 years ago is almost a realization. Now I have work to do for those who are coming behind."