As my senior year rounds the corner into its second half, I find myself reflecting on the people who have impacted my Kents Hill experience, and I realized that there are many members of our community that I have just begun to connect with. Sure, I could name all of my classmates in an instant, but how much do I really know about my teachers and my peers? I’ve realized that I still have so much to squeeze out of this place – so many stories to hear and connections to make. So, to get a good start, I emailed Mr. Hodgin and asked if he’d be willing to sit down for an interview. I had one goal for the interview: hear a good story.
I started by asking: How’d you get here? At first, the conversation was pretty by-the-book; he told me that before going to Bowdoin College, he had been raised in Connecticut, and that his parents worked at a private school that he later attended. Our conversation ended with a philosophical ploy on why you should “maintain your independence as much as you can.” Let me catch you up.
After Mr. Hodgin graduated from Bowdoin, he received a fellowship to go to Africa, where he studied educational access and educational conditions for women and girls in Eritrea. When he returned back to the U.S., he settled in Portland, Maine with some close friends and picked up a gig at a local store. While maintaining his job, Hodgin joined a volunteer training for the sexual violence advocacy and response hotline in Portland. After he became certified, he worked in this capacity for quite some time, until he came to the conclusion that he wanted to put his education degree to use. Which brings us to today. It’s been nearly 21 years since he settled at Kents Hill School.
Within the last five minutes of our interview, I asked a question that I really wanted to know the answer to. I wanted to know what his advice was for students going onto secondary education or into career fields. “Maintain your independence as much as you can,” he advised, “and that doesn’t mean hold friends at an arm’s length.” What he meant, he clarified, was that you should go into your future demanding what you want. If you’re going to a college or university, go with an idea of what you’d like to get out of your time there. If you’re in the right place, your institution will aid you in your ambitions. “The institution, by its nature, tends to reward that. Approach things on your own terms and trust yourself to find the rewarding parts – because they’re there” he expressed.
I walked into the interview anxious, not because of the interview itself but because I had just been doing unsuccessful college research. Do I need to say that Mr. Hodgin’s words came at the right time? Well, Mr. Hodgin’s words came at the right time. I walked out of his room feeling relieved and supported, at peace with where I am and where I’m going. If you get anything out of this post, I hope it’s to talk to someone new, and to be okay with your journey. As long as you follow what you love, it’ll all work out just fine.