Currently, Leah Parrott is a Bay College sophomore majoring in pre-natural resources with a focus on fisheries and wildlife. Both her school and her major have changed since she started taking college classes in 2019.
Leah hails from Winchester, Kentucky, but she has family members living in the Upper Peninsula. She moved to the U.P. to be closer to these members of her family.
“I moved here in high school, and then graduated from school here,” she said, noting that she graduated from Escanaba Senior High School in 2019.
After getting her high school diploma, Leah went to Tennessee to begin her college education. However, the arrival of the COVID-19 pandemic the following year forced her to change her plans.
“I was at the University of Tennessee in Knoxville, and then I came home because of the pandemic,” she said.
She returned to the U.P. and started taking classes at Bay during the winter 2020 semester.
In addition to switching schools, Leah decided to change her major this year. Previously, she had been a political science major, but she had been feeling dissatisfied with this field of study.
“I figured since I was coming home, I might as well do something that actually made me happy,” she said.
So far, Leah’s new major has been working out well for her. She said her classes have been “amazing,” and she has been so excited that she tells her friends and family about what she has learned in these classes on a regular basis.
“I didn’t realize I could be happy in my classes and want to go … I guess that’s the difference in choosing something that makes you happy,” she said.
Transferring from the University of Tennessee to Bay College has also proven to have some benefits for Leah.
“Compared to a huge university, I think the best thing that they have is the small class size,” she said.
Leah plans to graduate from Bay with her associate degree at the end of the winter 2021 semester. Beyond that point, she is still weighing her options.
“I have to make the decision whether or not I want to continue for a four-year degree or become a conservation officer, because they don’t need (college) degrees at all, but it just helps,” she said. She added that this is the case in Michigan, while other states’ requirements for conservation officers are different.
If Leah does decide to start working towards a bachelor’s degree right after she graduates from Bay, she is considering Northern Michigan University. Even if she becomes a conservation officer, she does plan to get her bachelor’s degree eventually.