Updated: Jan 31
Many first generation college students know that preparation for college is not easy. From sending admissions applications to dorm shopping, it takes the support of the students loved ones understand the transition from depended high schooler to independent college student.
When it came time for 25-year-old Kiara Clark to attend college she found herself feeling unprepared. The Chicago native is the youngest of 3 children and the first for her family to attend college. For Kiara, the transition really affected her family. “My family really depended on me. It was so much pressure from everyone. Due to me being the first in my family they really didn’t understand the lifestyle it took a while for them to understand.”
Receiving a college education was the most important thing to Kiara, as she followed in these footsteps to honor her grandfather, Charles Hudson who was forced to drop out of school at an early age to take care of family. Her grandfather always pushed her to be the best she could be and encourage her to get the most out of her education. During her college career, Kiara noticed that she wasn’t alone in feeling unprepared for college and the lifestyle. She noticed that there were no programs that helped prepare students for the transition. Deciding to take matters into her own hands, she is now using the same ideas and encouragement displayed to her by her grandfather to pay it forward to future college students.
1. Where did you got to School? High school and college?
For elementary school I attended Deneen for a few years but I graduated eighth grade from Burke Elementary school. I attended Wendell Phillips Academy High school and for college I graduated from Grand valley State University in Allendale Michigan in April 2017.
2. How did you end up picking the college you’re attending?
Honestly, it’s crazy because I applied for 13 colleges but all the colleges out of Chicago accepted me but all of the colleges in Chicago denied me. Grand Valley offered me a few scholarships and I was recruited by a counselor there.
3. What are you studying?
I’ve studied just about everything while being in college. I’ve studies nursing, communications, and social work but graduated with a bachelors in science in liberal studies with an emphasis in Community and Youth Outreach.
4. Are you still in school?
At the moment I am not in school however I do plan to attend graduate school.
5. Extracurricular activities?
In college I was apart of the fashion club, a Christian organization, started my own modeling organization and a proud brother of Alpha Kappa Psi CoEd Business Fraternity. At the moment I model in my spare time.
6. How has life changed for you since transitioning into the college setting?
In all honestly, I kind of miss the college years. I was extremely independent and now that college is over I decided to come back home till I get into my career then go back
out into the real world but the transition is hard because I live with my mom and I’m so use to living by myself and being independent.
7. What do you want to do career wise?
Career wise I want to become a school counselor, create my own organization first generation scholars, and start my own youth programs.
8. What inspired you to start the Charles Hudson foundation?
My grandfather inspired me to create this organization because I he had to drop out of 5 th grade because his father was killed on the job. Due to his father passing away he had to take care of his family, therefore family has been his first priority.
When his grandchildren were born he made sure that we took education very serious. By my senior year I struggled and was running out of financial aid and still had classes to take. My grandfather was getting sick and kept asking about my college graduation. I was the first person to in my family to graduate from a 4 year college and I wanted to make him proud. With that being said I took out extra loans and I took extra classes just for him to see me graduate. I knew that he was getting sick and he was being called to God soon so I had to get it together. By April 2017 I graduated and in August 2017 he passed away from prostate that turned into bone cancer.
9. Can any student in any state apply?
At the moment this scholarship is geared towards cps students that want to go to college but don’t have the financial aid.
10. What are you plans for the foundation in the future?
The plans for the foundation in the future is to start taking kids on college tours and donating more money to multiple students.
11. What is one thing you would tell your younger self?
Relax!!! Take your time with everything!!! Everything works according to Gods plan!
Link to go-fundme: https://www.gofundme.com/let039s-send-some-phillips-students-off- to-college