Alumnae Rory Barrett on The Future

Meet alumnae Rory Barrett of the class of 2015.

Her Campus: Favorite animal?

Rory Barrett: Red panda

HC: If you could have a mythical creature as a pet, what would you choose and why?

RB: Pegasus. Flying horse, what other explanation do you need?

HC: Song stuck in your head right now?

RB: Elle King’s “Ex’s and Oh’s”

HC: Favorite band you discovered recently? (Meaning something new. You’re not allowed to say Fall Out Boy.)

RB: HEY NOW. THEY HAVE NEW MUSIC. Fine. Fitz and the Tantrums.

HC: If you could have one superpower, what would it be?

RB: Pausing time. Imagine the awkward situations that I could avoid.

HC: Current obsession?

RB: Superheros. Namely, the Flash.

The pressure to figure out what you want to do for the rest of your life is huge in college. There are a lot of events that could slow you down or confuse you. But think of it this way; no matter what happens, it’s a step closer to a future you may never even have considered. Rory is currently attending graduate school after five years as an undergraduate, where she switched schools and majors multiple times.

HC: What was your major?

RB: English Creative Writing

HC: What grad school do you currently attend/what are you studying? Are you working while going to school?

RB: I work part time and attend graduate school at Brenau University for Clinical Counseling Psychology.

HC: Could you talk about how your majors for undergrad and graduate school are different and how that has affected you, if at all?

RB: So, after graduation, I decided to go a different path with my career. I decided I wanted to study psychology, and I started applying to schools. Honestly, it seemed to make no difference to them whether it was my major or not, as long as I had taken the prerequisite psychology classes. I did not realize that this is what I wanted to do until after I graduated, so I had to take a couple classes at my local community college as prerequisites, but if you realize even as a senior in undergrad that you want to switch paths, you could take the prereqs there and save some money.

HC: Since graduating, what would you say is the biggest thing you’ve learned?

RB: We really are all in the same boat. No one else is any more prepared for “the real world” than we are, including people that have been doing it for years already. Also, Agnes Scott isn’t lying when it says it prepared you for graduate school- I’m having a much easier time than some of my peers because of the intensity of Agnes’ curriculum.

HC: Since graduating, what is the biggest challenge you’ve faced?

RB: Hmm, I’d say making the decision to go back to school (in an entirely different subject) was my biggest decision, if that counts.

HC: If you could go back to Agnes, what would you study? If you could go back in time, would you do anything differently (at Agnes)?

RB: If I went back, I’d love to have taken more psych classes, but I would have kept my major the same. Literature and writing really are passions of mine, and they allowed me to get the job that I have now, which I love. If I could go back, I would try to network more. I would try to get to know more professors and would take advantage of the Career Center. Also, more internships.

HC: Do you mind talking a bit about how you changed majors and schools and what that was like? I want to share the experience to help anyone who may be worried about graduating “late” or struggling with their major.

RB: Ok SO. I went to three different colleges. I started out at my community college, majoring in Biology to become a veterinarian. I did that for a year and a half before starting Organic Chemistry and deciding that this was not the path for me. I finished out my last semester at the two-year school and when I transferred to my first four-year college, I decided to major in English. I took mostly English classes since I had done most of my gen-eds at my first school, which was nice, but definitely challenging to be in all major classes. That college didn’t work out for various reasons, and I transferred to Agnes Scott. At that point, I had a TON of science classes that were no longer of much use, except as hours towards a degree and I had a number of English classes that weren’t transferable. Actually, I had a lot of classes in general that weren’t transferable because you can only transfer 2 years worth of credits. But I didn’t really mind, because that just meant that I got better grades in the classes the second time around- for example, I took three different kinds of intro philosophy because philosophy didn’t transfer over either time. I re-took some classes, took more classes, and finally graduated after being in college for five years.

Yeah, it was a little frustrating at times, but overall, I think that it didn’t make much difference that I took longer to graduate. I am still the youngest person in my graduate program and at my job. As for all of those science classes, I often tell people that no, I didn’t have a major or minor in any science subject, but that I did have a concentration in it, and that seems to go over fine (since I do have the knowledge to back up that claim). Both my school and my job now have told me that they are impressed with my background- not one person commented or even seemed to notice that I was in school longer than four years.

HC: What advice do you have for current Scotties about following/finding their careers?

RB: This is cliche, but don’t force yourself to follow a path you’re not that interested in just because you feel like you have to. There are SO MANY options out there--you’ll find something you enjoy.