Jeannie Bennett is in her third year of a BA as a Psychology major and Women’s and Gender Studies minor. When she’s not spending time on schoolwork, she enjoys reading novels and spending time with friends and family.
What is something you wish you could tell yourself 3 years ago?
I wish I could have told myself not to equate my self-esteem with my grades. I think a lot of students do this, and it’s important to remember that your GPA doesn’t determine your self-worth. It’s good to do well, of course, but I wish I could have understood way earlier on that other things are more important.
Did you have a particular career path in mind when you entered into the Faculty of Arts? Has that career path changed throughout your degree?
I always knew I wanted to major in Psychology, and as I have progressed throughout my degree, I have been continually amazed at the variety of career paths available to people with this major. My original plan was to go to grad school for Clinical Psychology and work as a therapist for people with eating disorders. However, as time went on, and I became aware of other paths open to me after graduation, I realized that I wanted to have an impact on social change in general. My minor in Women’s and Gender Studies has definitely played a role in this, as it’s taught me to examine the ways in which people are affected early on by factors outside of their control. My goal has changed from grad school in Psychology to a plan to pursue a degree in Social Work after I graduate, with the hope that I can help those who are experiencing domestic violence.
What skills have you learned during your BA that you plan on applying to your career?
My critical thinking skills have vastly improved as a result of my Arts degree. I’ve learned to challenge and analyze things that I had always accepted as normal, even in my daily life. I hope to use this when it comes to finding new ways to effect social change. Additionally, to be successful in Arts classes, you have to be able to come up with strong, well-supported arguments and creative ideas, and I’d argue that these are valuable skills that apply to a variety of career paths. To be able to pursue many different areas of employment is something that can’t be undermined, in my opinion.
Do you have any tips for how to stay organized or de-stress during the semester?
It’s not easy! I find that even just paying attention to basic physical needs helps. For example, I’ve become aware that I tend to start eating very unhealthy around midterms and finals, so I try to eat fruits and vegetables whenever possible and resist the temptation to live off of pizza every day. I write in a journal several times a week, especially if stressed, and I find that this makes a huge difference in my overall well-being. As for staying organized, I find that being proactive is a good strategy—having readings and study schedules planned out well in advance.
What have been some of your favorite courses so far?
My degree has been so much more than one or two subjects. I’ve done language, humanities, fine arts and all kinds of other classes as well. In addition, Psychology is part of both the Faculties of Arts and Science, so I’ve taken many science courses as well. All of these subjects take different approaches to what they do, and I’ve taken on all kinds of different perspectives and learned new ways of thinking as a result.
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Edited for length and clarity, Fall 2018.