The Home of Student Journalism at Lesley University

What the Alums are Doing: Catching Up with Kristen Doherty

In the spring of 2014, I graduated from Lesley University with a Bachelors of Science in Communication and minors in Graphic Design and Environmental Studies. It goes without saying that I could not decide upon my intended “path” once I matured from undergraduate student life into the frightening, unknown, independent post-college life. However, the sum of these things has sewn ground much more stable and fruitful than I could have ever understood during my years as an undergrad.

Only weeks after graduating, I packed up the entire four years of life that I’d built in and around the city and moved to the middle of nowhere, Central Maine. I have always identified as a tree-hugger, but the transition was arduous; words cannot describe the surrealism of the polarity of urban Massachusetts to Down East. Nonetheless, I needed to abandon my comfort zone. I knew full well that the job market was bleak in comparison, but to me, emotional and psychological well-being is equally as important as financial stability, hence why I fled from the city to the woods. I promised myself that I’d make it work.

There is no use in sugarcoating my post-graduate employment experience. My first job out of college was working at the worst restaurant position I have ever held in my life. I was miserable every day I worked, finding myself literally flopped on the floor of my tiny apartment, sometimes crying, and more often contemplating if I had made the worst possible decision of my life. Once I started to get to know my surroundings, about a month after I’d moved in, I picked myself up by the bootstraps and used the fiery hatred I had towards the restaurant to propel me towards better employment.

I currently work as an Education Technician in Old Town, Maine, and as a private tutor in Orono, Maine. Every day I do both academic and behavioral work with children with disabilities who are in special education. This profession is not for the faint of heart. The vast majority of these children have unimaginable home lives, past traumas, and physical limitations, and these hindrances reveal themselves in profound ways. The work is both physically and psychologically taxing, but I have never felt a greater sense of purpose.

Lesley University prepared me for my current work, but not simply based on the degree I have on paper. My internship experience at Horizons for Homeless Children enlightened me towards a demographic I wished to learn more about. My journalism coursework and internships honed my written communication skills. Even trekking from Cambridge to Boston to meet deadlines, interact with clients, and present dedicated work proved valuable in that it normalized time management and considering all the pieces to any given puzzle. And finally, with all of the Lesley pieces, combined with my 2 years of experiential learning in a remarkable field here in the middle-of-nowhere, I await an acceptance letter to the University of Maine Graduate Program towards a Master of Arts in Communication Sciences and Disorders, and a certification in Speech-Language Pathology. My advice for the indecisive undergraduate student of Lesley University is to embrace the unknown.

Harrison Ford and Kristen Doherty at graduation, 2014

Harrison Ford and Kristen Doherty at graduation, 2014

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