Learning about yourself and growing as a person is one of the most important parts of the college experience. With a student’s transition into independence, there are trials and tribulations involved, but the end product is a person who better understands themselves, how they think, how they learn, and how they interact with the world outside of college. For Kayla Hoggard, learning about yourself is an experience that far reaches just what college has to offer.
Born and raised in Bangor Maine, Hoggard chose to attend USM for financial reasons as well as personal reasons: “It made sense financially and I decided I wanted to expand my horizons and be further away from home,” She said, “which I realized is something that I needed”. She entered USM as a psychology major on the track team; now as a junior now she’s since left track and psychology behind, and is now pursuing media studies.
Hoggard would tell you that it was a journey getting to the major she’s in now. Having started as a psychology major, she switched to health sciences, then social work, finally landing on media studies. Her journey through majors largely reflected the journey she was on in life which was one of self-growth and development: “I was in these majors because I knew people who were also involved, and I thought I could make it work for me, but I wasn’t pursuing what I truly wanted” She was called to each major previously chosen because she did not know who she was or what she wanted. During her spiritual awakening, Hoggard even debated dropping out. “Not only did I keep finding that the structures in society were not fair, but they weren’t right for me. They didn’t serve me.”
When asked why she continued to pursue college after finding the structures didn’t suit her she admitted she was finishing for her father: “I’m the first one to go to college. I know how important it is to see one of his kids accomplish something, and he loves sharing that with people. If that’s the littlest thing I can do for him then I’ll happily do it”.
Once realizing her passion for media studies, she felt like her authenticity was being applied in her educational career at USM: “After discovering my major and my spiritual awakening I started to realize I was capable of more, I started to believe in myself more. I see academics as a good challenge that helps me achieve things I don’t know I’m capable of. My awakening opened a more creative part of myself.”
Hoggard exudes happy energy that only comes from those who have truly learned something about themselves, and she largely credits that energy to the spiritual awakening she had starting the fall of 2020: “One thing I knew was that I didn’t know myself. “I had to make a hard decision to walk away from situations and people who weren’t serving me”. She expresses how everyone is a mirror image of yourself. When you are surrounded by people who distract you from who you truly are, it becomes impossible to grow and be an individual being. Recognizing your values is a productive way to not only live authentically but to meet others and attract opportunities that are authentic to yourself. “I became emotionally mature enough to see that even though I walked away from those people, they showed me what I needed to work on because they were a reflection of myself.”
With this new emotional maturity, Hoggard began pursuing creative outlets for herself, “Something was telling me I needed to put myself out there, whether it be my voice or showing myself,
which I wasn’t quite ready for yet”. She started a podcast at WMPG called Written In the Stars where she discusses astrology using music and pop culture to guide the interpretations to help educate people on how astrology can influence your life, “I wanted to make a podcast where anyone could listen and there was no bias, I want to talk to people about the importance of astrology and how it can affect your life” She explained, “It’s all about self-growth and development. You can use your birth chart to learn yourself and understand yourself”.
Now, her podcast is coming to a close with the possibility of one more episode being released, so she can focus on her YouTube account where she talks about her spiritual awakening, learning about yourself, and using astrology to understand who you are as a person, as well as grow her media skills. “After I graduate I’m done with school and will be pursuing my youtube career”. She admits though that nothing is set in stone for her, she’s not sure where she’ll end up: “I’m going wherever They [God] takes me”. The only thing she is sure of is that she intends to direct her life in any way that fulfills her and makes her feel authentic.
Hoggard wants to be remembered as someone passionate about what they do, someone who is kind-hearted and never gives up: “Because I feel like that is something I’m good at – never giving up even when there seems like there is no way out. I’ll always find a way”.
You can find her podcast at https://www.wmpg.org/podcasts/ and look for MYKAYLA-Marie on Youtube