By Gaby Harrold
Kathleen Odell is the new college counselor at d.tech. Odell’s job involves everything from hosting informational presentations on college prep, to meeting one on one with students about their course load. Her primary work is focused on coaching all d.tech students through the college admissions process, a daunting task all around, but one that Odell tackles with enthusiasm.
Q: How is working at d.tech different from working elsewhere?
The culture at d.tech is different, and I love the environment. I love the attitude of the students. I feel like there’s a curiosity to them and an interest, and an ability to kind of manage themselves, that I think is a little bit more advanced than maybe some other schools. It’s just a nice environment. The other thing that I would say is different is, we’re a small school, [so] I have the opportunity to meet one-on-one or in small groups. At a large public high school, where there are 500 students in a graduating class, and nobody really dedicated on the college front, it is much more difficult.
Q: Do you feel that the students at d.tech are different?
d.tech is students are given more responsibility for getting their work done, and I feel like, in many ways, this prepares you more for college than [in] a traditional high school, where every day an assignment is posted on School Loop, it’s due the next day, or it’s due in two days, and you kind of are chugging along. I feel that the environment here is, students kind of go at their own pace, but it’s the students’ responsibility to make sure that they’re staying up with where they need to be. This is like an organizational skill that will be extremely important in college. So that’s one aspect of d.tech that I think is, not only different, but positive.
Q: Do you feel that d.tech students are at a disadvantage?
I would say not, I think the main difference that I see at d.tech versus a traditional high school, is just in terms of the breadth of courses offered. We’re a small school and, therefore, we offer more limited course choices than if you were at a larger school. But I think you get what you need. And that would be true at any other small school.
I also want all students to know that I am very accessible
Q: What are some of the electives that you feel are really “out there” or fun at intersession?
Some of the things that we do in [during intersession] I think are opportunities that you’re not going to get at other high schools. I’ve been blown away by the art, or the photography.
Q: Any advice or parting words you want to leave us with?
So the first thing is; I love my job. And I just want to thank the d.tech students for making that so, because I do feel that it’s the students and the staff that have really given me a great opportunity here.
The second thing, and this is really advice for all students, but particularly for our junior class, is [that] it’s normal and natural to have some anxiety about: “What’s my next step after high school?” Recognize that it’s not unique to d.tech, and it’s not unique to you as an individual. It’s part of life. This is a big change. This is really the first time where, as young adults, you will be significantly moving to a different step in your life, to a different place in your life.
I also want all students to know that I am very accessible, that they can email me, they can stop by, they can shout across the Hangar – I don’t care. That if students feel they need to, they have a question, or they just want to talk, that that’s why I’m here, so I want them to feel that they can approach me.