Kate Lovejoy balanced life, a full-time job, pregnancy, and raising a family while she finished her BA in Liberal Studies. The balancing game paid off when she landed her “dream job” as an art teacher after graduating.
Q&A with Kate:
What motivated you to pursue your degree?
I wanted to find something to compliment my artistic exploration and knowledge. I also knew I wanted to continue teaching and wasn’t sure whether it would be art or humanities.
Who has encouraged and supported you?
I definitely traveled my own route in life, doing things a little “backward.” I knew I wanted to go back to school to get my undergraduate degree but decided to travel first, and then helped to start and run a small private school. I love the way that Antioch supports and values life experience as a legitimate learning opportunity. It may sound funny, but working with the admissions person for Antioch was kind of my ah-ha moment because she really made me realize I could do this.
What was your academic focus at AU Online?
I loved getting to dive into trying to get closer to or understand better our shared human experience. Through in-depth exploration of religion and the historical context, conflict, and resolution, and the essential ethical frameworks that humans have developed, I came to better understand the many ways people have framed the human experience. As an artist, this has informed how I approach my artwork. Antioch’s approach to education, what I experienced as a mind-opening adventure, instilled in me an even stronger desire to use my art to advocate for social justice and environmental responsibility.
What did you enjoy about AU Online?
So many favorite instructors. I guess I would say that Joseph Cronin, who was my advisor, and who I was lucky enough to also have as an instructor a couple of times, was seriously a rock throughout my entire experience as a student. I can’t think of any better way of saying it, other than I love the way his brain works. As an advisor, I always felt he was there to help me tackle problems, and as an instructor his love the material comes through in brilliant and eloquent ways. Matt Carson was a brilliant teacher, and really took the time to make the online classroom experience feel personal and interactive. He made sure that students were heard, gave real feedback, and made himself available for Skype chats to explore the topics we were covering. I could go on and on about many of the professors and classes I took through Antioch.
What kinds of challenges did you face in pursuing your degree?
The balancing life thing is a real struggle, particularly when you work full time, have children, and are attending school full time. In the middle of my time at Antioch, I found out I was pregnant. I definitely freaked out, and through conversations with my advisor, realized it would be fine and that it didn’t mean I needed to stop going to school.
What are your plans after Antioch University?
Since graduating from Antioch I was offered my dream job as an art teacher at a small private school. I am have found ways to incorporate my re-kindled commitment to activism in the classroom, and like many of the classes I took with Antioch, I try to provide opportunities for students to bring their passion and excitement into the art room.
Words of advice for future students?
I tell everyone that I talk to about Antioch, that it is worth every second. Financial Aid is available, which was a major concern for me. I ended up taking a loan, and have absolutely zero regrets. The Antioch experience was challenging in exactly the ways getting a degree should be challenging. You will love it, and you will find the instructors are all there to help you through it. Do it!