Alex Ajayi '12

Profession: Doctoral Student in Counseling Psychology at the University of Minnesota, Twin Cities

Lawrence Degree: Bachelor of Arts in Psychology

How did your Lawrence experience prepare you for your current profession?: At Lawrence, I was challenged to be an engaged learner (both actively and reflectively). In my courses and research experiences, I developed the capacity to reimagine old ideas and critically analyze new ones. As such, Lawrence fostered my sense of agency as a student—I not only learned how to ask the questions I found most fascinating but I was also given tools to attempt to answer them. Through one-on-one interactions with professors, I began to realize my interests as a researcher. It was at Lawrence, working with supportive faculty, that I began to investigate the ways in which identity development coincides and interacts with the social, educational and cultural experiences of individuals. As I began to build my program of research in preparation for graduate school, I also began to reflect on the type of researcher I would like to be. Ultimately, I left Lawrence with a strong commitment to researching issues of diversity and promoting work that gives an empowering voice to populations that have often been sequestered to the margins.

What is one piece of advice for prospective students about their time at Lawrence that is important for their lives after Lawrence?: As a recent graduate, I am still amazed at how quickly the four years went by, so cherish them—be present! Explore the paths that have not been tread on by others. There is much to discover in unpromising places. There are many great things happening on and off campus; take advantage of them. Get out in the community, attend lectures and athletic games, check out what your fellow students are up to with their presentations and recitals, participate in cultural events, and lest I forget the most important thing, have fun…lots of it. I should also add: Higher education is a privilege that many are not afforded, so as global citizens, it is important that we recognize our sources of privilege and think of ways that we can use what we have for the benefit of those who are not as fortunate.

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