2020 Council scholarship recipient, Kaitlyn Hippe, graduated from Rufus King International High School this year. She plans to leave her hometown of Milwaukee to attend Calvin University in Grand Rapids, Michigan this fall. Kat has a vocational goal to work in translation, and to teach either English as a second language, or to work in special education. She would also like to work a job involving either writing or speaking. She sat down with Katherine, Council Writer, for a quick chat about advocacy, future hopes and lessons she has learned during the COVID-19 quarantine.
Katherine Corbett: What lessons has preparing to go to college taught you about living life?
Kaitlyn “Kat” Hippe: As I am preparing to move to Michigan for college, I am learning to live in the moment and appreciate the small things in life. Some things I appreciate now are home cooking, having my own room and not having to pay for laundry. Going to college will be a change and I will need to share a room and bathroom and eat meals at a cafeteria. I am also realizing that many people assisted and advocated for me throughout my time in the education system. In college, I will need to be my own advocate. Going to college will take me out of my comfort zone because I am going to school in a different state. I will not be able to be shy about asking for help and will need to be aware of the resources at my disposal.
Katherine: You talked about advocacy being one key lesson you taken from this experience. How will you apply it in the rest of your life and career?
Kat: I plan to develop my advocacy skills in college by requesting adaptive technology and accommodations for classes and exams. I want to be successful and I know what I need, so being faced with situations in which I have no choice but to advocate will help increase advocacy skills I can use for the rest of my life.
Katherine: What did you learn about yourself throughout the COVID-19 pandemic?
Kat: I learned that I worry too much. I struggle to take a step back and take things one step at a time. I also learned that although I have a lot I want to do, I am sometimes easily demotivated. I am so glad I realized that before starting college so I can be aware that it might be an issue and that I will need to take steps to prevent or minimize that.
Katherine: In your scholarship application essay, you told us about your advocacy for an Accessible Pedestrian Signal near your school. What lessons did this advocacy journey teach you?
Kat: I learned that it is important to consider all of the people who will be impacted by an accessible pedestrian signal. It helped me distance myself from my own interests and my needs so I could advocate on behalf of other people. That makes the advocacy easier. This journey has also taught me persistence and to keep following up. I am glad I advocated and am making a difference in my community. The base of the accessible pedestrian signal has already been installed and I look forward to the signal being completed.
Katherine: Do you have a “bucket list”? What are some things you hope to do in the future?
Kat: I would like to travel because my career goal is to be an interpreter. I want to meet people, live in new cultures and experience emersion in different languages. I have wanted that since I was little. I think it would also be fun to go ziplining or skydiving. I want to exist right in that moment of plummeting. It seems very poetic to me.