Outstanding Students

Johanna Wallace

Where are you from?

Cedar Rapids, Iowa, is where I currently reside. I grew up in South Amana.

Why did you choose Kirkwood?

I’m a returning Kirkwood alumna, so I’m already familiar with the campus and how classes tend to work. I love the hands on learning and smaller classroom sizes and the affordability is also a huge plus.

What is your major and how did you choose it?

I’m in the Digital Arts program, and I chose it because I wanted to add a more modern relevant skill set to my current degree. It’s all stuff I wanted to learn five years ago but wasn’t offered anywhere.

What has been your proudest moment at Kirkwood?

Having some of my photography on display and the Student Showcase in NewBo was huge for me. It’s the first time I’ve seen something of mine framed and on a wall in years.

What are your plans after Kirkwood?

Boring real answer, I just hope I can find a job somewhere nearby so I can pay back student loans. Dreamy lofty answer, I’d love to have my own photography studio where I could do product photography for local business owners or focus on portraits (especially local costume communities).

What inspires or motivates you?

This can change from day to day depending on my mood. Sometimes it’s a catchy song, other times it could be a gentle breeze in the grass or rain on a window pane, or maybe just the thought of doing something positive for someone. It really depends and is never the same.

Tell us about who you are outside of Kirkwood – hobbies, family, other interests, etc.

I have so many hobbies and they’re all pretty different. I photograph for a local burlesque troupe called Knights of the Round Pasties which is a ton of fun. I also am big into cosplay, so I’m constantly sewing, crafting or styling wigs for costumes. If I’m not doing either of those, I’m probably cuddling with my cats and playing video games.

What does being named an Outstanding Student mean to you?

It’s kind of wild. If you had told me ten, even five years ago that I was getting straight A’s and being nominated for such a thing, I wouldn’t have believed you. I had tried coming back to Kirkwood a few years back and just stopped showing up to all my classes because my anxiety and depression made school unbearable. That was one of the lowest points of my life and I never could have envisioned seeing myself where I am now, so it’s a nice little comeback story.

Is there anything else you’d like to add?

School is really hard, and I think there is this mindset of perfection and unacceptable failure in our society that constantly permeates through our lives. That pressure can be overwhelming at times. If whoever is reading this right now is having trouble with school, work or life in general, just know that you can always take a step back, give yourself some time and try again at your own pace, and don’t compare your progress to others.

Categories: Outstanding Students