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Posted by Sarah Roche on October 17, 2011
I thought I had a full schedule and some solid time management skills. Then, this summer, I met with Kady Perry, who put me to shame.
Kady Perry is a Binghamton University Non-Traditional student pursuing a dual major in Graphic design and Mathematics, but, like many non-trads, that is just a small segment of her day. Kady is also an entrepreneur, recently celebrating the one year anniversary of the opening of her art studio, Quarter Yellow. She is the Executive Director of CIC2020, a local group dedicated to keeping Binghamton University talent in the Southern Tier, she is the secretary of Gorgeous Washington Street Association, the non-profit that hosts Downtown’s First Fridays, has been appointed to the visual enhancement committee for the City of Binghamton and has an on campus job as a TA and translating textbooks to braille. I ended up out of breath just writing all that! In August Kady & I met up at the Lost Dog and enjoyed iced coffees while discussing the pros and cons of non-traditional student status.
One of the first things Kady brought up was time, the lack of it and the constant need to balance our duties within any given day. In fact, it took Kady and me over a month to set up a meeting time- our conflicting schedules with classes and work made for a long game of schedule Jenga. With her varied tasks and positions, Kady balances her roles as a student, a resident artist, a paid muralist and a volunteer while not only staying true to her goals but by grasping opportunities as they arise. “Non-trads seek opportunity,” she stated at one point in our discussion, “they are used to looking for things, not waiting for something to happen. They are people that take control and make changes.”
Kady also describes non-trads as risk-takers who are constantly problem solving. “It isn’t easy to balance everything and to change directions, but non-traditional students do it every day, a few times a day.”
When I asked Kady what the toughest part of being a non-traditional student was for her, she mentioned support. “A professor who understands that I am a non-traditional student and that they will have a non-traditional experience with me can make things a lot easier. Having to wait for my funding to come through can make things like purchasing books more difficult. A professor who works with me makes all the difference.”
Speaking to Kady is inspiring. She is humble and gracious when discussing her accomplishments, listening when you speak, harvesting ideas and making connections between people and groups, grooming ideas and offering suggestions. She is open and honest and a real pleasure to be around. I can understand why so many groups want her to be in a leadership role.
There is no question about it, Kady makes her mark wherever she goes, and not just on the people she meets. You can see the mural she painted during Spring 2011’s finals week in the University Union. Her style brings color and charm to the basement hallway, a trait that isn’t reserved for her murals. “I love it here,” she says. “There is a low cost of living, people are well traveled and Binghamton is a blank slate. We are at a point where we can make the city anything we want it to be.” Kady is certainly the person for the job.
What about you? What other hats are you wearing? Do you plan on staying in Binghamton once you complete your degree? Tell us about your accomplishments and post-graduation plans in the comment section below.