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Amazing Student: Janelle Hampton

January 24, 2020

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Early childhood education major Janelle Hampton is passionate about her career choice as a teacher. “I want to help make an impact in the education system, and I believe that starts right in the classroom.”

Hometown:

Farmingdale, NJ

High school:

Biotechnology High Schools

Family ties to UGA:

My grandfather did his postdoctorate in botany at UGA back in the ’60s.

Expected graduation:

Spring 2020

Degree objective:

Early childhood education

University highlights, achievements, awards and scholarships:

There have been so many things that I have loved about UGA and so many highlights since I’ve been here. Coming to UGA has been the best four years of my life.

Since I’ve come to the University of Georgia, I’ve been a member of the Honors College, which has provided me with lot of opportunities. I was fortunate to become an Honors International Scholar. This allowed me to study abroad in Amsterdam, along with a study abroad scholarship from the Office of Global Engagement.

One of the things that I’ve been most happy about during my college experience is how involved I’ve been able to be with the Athens-Clarke County community. I have volunteered at the Athens Area Homeless Shelter, the Boys and Girls Club and Oasis. I also served as a Clarke County mentor. Aside from that, being in the College of Education, I’ve had the opportunity to be in the classroom with students from Gaines and Oglethorpe Avenue elementary schools. Getting to be so involved with the community has taught me so much. I’ve gotten to connect with so many different people and learn so much more than just what I have in the classroom.

Another highlight of UGA has also been the friends and professors that I have met. When I came to UGA I didn’t know anyone on campus, and I was far away from my family. For me to come here with nothing and to create a whole community is an achievement. I’ve met some of my closest friends here and had some of the best memories of my life. Never four years ago did I think I would have any of what I have now.

I chose to attend UGA because…

I was born in Georgia and my entire family is from here. I always knew that I wanted to return back to the South. When I came here on a campus tour, I knew that this is where I was meant to be. It was the only college I toured that I truly saw myself at, so when I got accepted here, I knew I had to come.

My favorite things to do on campus are…

… going to games at Sanford Stadium. I am a huge Georgia football fan and it’s my friends’ and my favorite thing to do together. Every game day rain or shine since freshman year we have been there cheering on the Dawgs.

Going to the events at the dining halls. Since freshman year, my friends and I have made it a point to go to all the special events at the dining halls. Over the years we’ve had French food, Cuban food, carnival food, and decorated some awesome cookies every Christmas. It’s so exciting seeing all the dining halls fully decked out for the theme and to have some really good food.

When I have free time, I like…

… reading. It’s one of my favorite things to do since I was young. There’s no better feeling than getting lost in a book and realizing you’ve been up past midnight finishing it.

Baking is something that I’ve done since I was young. Some of my best memories involve helping my mom and dad in the kitchen while waiting to lick the spoon. Now, I bake to relieve stress. It’s definitely a hobby my friends and roommates love.

Going on walks outside has become one of my favorite things to do. Athens has a lot of beautiful places to walk and it’s peaceful for me to walk around with my headphones on listening to music. It’s a great way to stay active and being outside is supposed to increase happiness.

The craziest thing I’ve done is…

… going to study abroad in Amsterdam for a semester. Being an out-of-state student, I was used to being far away from home, but not an ocean away from everyone I knew. I had so many fears when I got on the plane to go to the Netherlands about what to expect when I got there. In the end, going to the Netherlands became the best thing I’ve ever done. I got super close with all my classmates and grew so much as a person. Since going, I want to travel more and more places.

My favorite place to study is…

I used to love studying at the MLC but over time that has changed. I now love just studying at home in my apartment with my roommate. We have such a comfy couch, so I find it relaxing to sit there and study.

My favorite professor is…

All the professors in the College of Education have been amazing. I could not pick just one. They’re people who truly care about us as students and want us to be successful. I’ve learned so much from them and hope to take the lessons they’ve taught with me into my future classroom.

If I could share an afternoon with anyone, I would love to share it with…

… my grandmother. When I was growing up, we spent almost every weekend at her house and she died when I was in middle school. I always wish that I got the opportunity to know her as an adult. I wonder all the wisdom I could learn from her at this age. She was also an amazing cook and I would love to be in the kitchen with her to learn all the recipes she never wrote down. I’m about to become an elementary school teacher, the same job she held, and there’s so much I’d ask her about how I can be as amazing of a teacher as she was.

If I knew I could not fail, I would…

… open a bakery. I always have love to cook and bake. Watching baking shows is one of my hobbies. So I would have a nice little bakery in a small town.

If money was not a consideration, I would love to…

… do what I plan to do. By choosing to become a teacher, I have decided not to consider money. Teachers do not go into their profession with money in mind. We choose to do it because we love children and want to make a difference. There are tons of other careers I could do that pay a lot more money but they wouldn’t have the same impact I feel like a teacher can have.

What is your passion and how are you committed to pursuing it?

The thing that bothers me the most is that the quality of education a child receives is dependent on his or her ZIP code. I believe every child deserves to go to an effective school. This belief is what has led me to become an early childhood education major. I want to help make an impact in the education system, and I believe that starts right in the classroom. I’m passionate about making sure that every student within my classroom is loved, valued and challenged no matter their background.

After graduation, I plan to…

… travel and teach. When I went abroad before I was able to learn so much about myself and I feel that continuing to travel will only help me learn even more. The more I learn about myself the more effective I feel that I will be as a teacher. A teacher who truly know their self will be able to get to know their students even better.

The one UGA experience I will always remember will be…

… meeting Rodrigo Blankenship. I was sitting outside of MLC after taking a final exam and some guy came up to me and introduced himself. He said, “Hi I’m Rodrigo Blankenship. Can I take a picture of you for my class?” I obviously said yes, even though I definitely did not look “photo-ready.” He was really nice, and my biggest regret is not asking him for a selfie.