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Creating a Home Away From Home

Amy Hudock
Former psychology major Amy Hudock ’17 introduces young adults to the full residential experience as an area coordinator for Residence Life & Housing at Dickinson, where she is an integral part of students’ growth throughout their college careers.
Can you speak to how Dickinson’s useful liberal-arts education helped you along your career path? 
When I chose a Dickinson education, I chose a small school with a community of diverse peers and supportive faculty and staff. It was a community that was irresistible to dive into and impossible to get lost in. At Dickinson, my standing beliefs were challenged with new ideas and experiences different from my own—both in and outside of the classroom. Ultimately, Dickinson taught me the value of lifelong learning and helped me practice listening to learn, instead of listening to respond. My time at Dickinson allowed me to grow into an empathetic and understanding individual and taught me the value of a human story. Those lessons reaffirmed my desire to work with others and helped me as I began my education in counseling and my work with students. 
What was your favorite activity/organization at Dickinson? 
I loved working with Residence Life & Housing as a student at Dickinson and have many fond memories of campus programs hosted with the Community Board for my residential area. I can remember falling into fits of laughter with other members of the group as we planned “Corn on the Quads," an outdoor event in the fall that featured roasted corn on the cob, a corn hole tournament, popcorn ... you can get a sense of the theme. The event was well attended and tied our Community Board, Residence Life and the larger community of residents together in a really memorable way. I also greatly enjoyed working with Campus Recreation and teaching a regular Zumba group fitness class for the campus community. It was a great way to stay active while meeting new friends!
How has Dickinson’s focus on global education impacted your life or career since graduation? 
Dickinson’s focus on global education quite literally opened the world to me. I'm a first-generation college graduate and, unlike many Dickinson students, had not even considered that study abroad might be an option for me when I was in my college search. My very first flight was my trip to Copenhagen, Denmark, in my junior year of college. My study-abroad experience expanded my worldview and reinforced my desire to try something new and lean into the unexpected. 
What jumps out as a great memory from your time at Dickinson? 
I have fond memories of exploring Carlisle with my friends. I was lucky to make friends in Drayer Hall my first year that would last through graduation and beyond. I can remember a day in early fall when we explored all the local businesses downtown (we loved Georgie Lou’s and Whistlestop Bookshop!) before ending the day with some frozen custard by Massey’s. I never felt limited to campus as a Dickinson student and loved getting to know Carlisle. Years later, Massey’s is still my go-to when I’m craving a sweet treat!
How do you stay involved with Dickinson?  
I’ve always felt very connected to Dickinson, even after graduation. My Dickinson community has remained a consistent source of support and encouragement, and I follow what’s happening amongst the alumni community through social media. This year, I'm looking forward to reuniting with classmates for our five-year reunion! Now, I’m fortunate that my job allows me to stay connected to campus and current Dickinsonians daily. The traditions remain, but the students have changed—and for the better. Every day I’m impressed by the advocacy skills, ambition and involvement of the students who come into the office.
How did you get interested in your work, and what about it excites you most? 
Like many professionals in student affairs and higher education, I had no idea that the field existed until I came to college and began to get involved as a student leader in Residence Life & Housing. During my four years at Dickinson, I worked as both a resident advisor and community advisor, overseeing multiple aspects of community building. And I realized that the work was combining two of my biggest career goals: helping others and working with young adults. One of the most exciting parts of my job is seeing students grow each year of their college career. Often, I see students enter as first-year students eager but apprehensive about where they may find their fit in the community and graduate as leaders, advocates or researchers. I get to see students find their voice and define their goals, and no two individuals are alike. It is amazing to witness and be a part of.
What does your current work entail? 
My goal every day at work is to make Dickinson a home away from home for our students. On a macro level, I oversee the residential experience and housing for our houses and apartments, special interest houses and some of our traditional residence halls for upperclass students. My role allows me to engage holistically with the student experience. In practice, that looks like supervising our student staff members, connecting students to our campus partners and resources, hosting campus programming and events and sharing all that Residence Life & Housing has to offer. My job allows me to be an active and integral part of campus, and I love being able to walk through campus and say hello to colleagues and students that I get to interact with as part of my job! 
What comes to mind as something unforgettable that you’ve done since you graduated?
Professionally and personally, I’ve had some big accomplishments in the last several years. Graduating with my master’s degree (in the middle of a global pandemic!) is certainly not something I’ll forget anytime soon, and I'm proud of the work I completed to earn that achievement. However, I would be remiss not to mention the adoption of my dog, Riley, in 2020 as an unforgettable experience. I can’t imagine life without him now, and he's loving all the attention he gets from Dickinson students on our walks through campus, too!

Published July 29, 2022