Renee Perry is one of my oldest sisters. Growing up she is someone I admired and aspired to be like, everyday in life. Hopefully after reading this interview, you will see why.
I try not let people’s expectations cloud my self-worth. Just try not to live for others.
— Renee Perry
Can we get to meet the woman behind the face?
Where were born and what was your upbringing like?
I was born in Silver Spring, Maryland. I was raised by Jamaican parents , who had strong cultural beliefs as well as a pretty strict moral code.
Who has been the greatest influence in your life that has impacted the man/woman you are today?
My parents, they migrated here from Jamaica not having much or knowing much, yet they provided a good life for my sisters and I. They provided us with the tools I need to succeed. My grandmother also influenced my life a lot as well. She was a single parent who still worked a full-time job, while providing above and beyond for her children.
What about your family?
My family has a very good sense of humor, they remind me that even when life gets hard, there is always something to smile about.
Can you tell us of your education history and what your goals or life ambition was when you were a student in High School/College?
In high school I did not know my life’s purpose or what I wanted to pursue. In college I obtained my degree in psychology from Salisbury University, and realized that I wanted to work with children and teens as a counselor or psychologist. I realized that kids and teens are looking for some type of control whether it is figuring out who they like, or what school they want to go to in the future, what clothes they wear or even just their personality. It’s a very confusing time for them and as a counselor and I would want to reassure them that is a part of the growing process, and not everyone has it together.
Can you tell us of your job/education experience prior to attending Salisbury University?
Before attending Salisbury, I worked at TJ Maxx which is a retail store. I was a sales associate and cashier. At Salisbury I was office assistance, for the Assistant Dean of Students. At this job I interacted with students and did office work.
What was the most memorable point at that job?
The most memorable part of this job was helping with the Student fair. The student fair helped me to feel like part of the community, while there I helped to make students feel at home and comfortable at the university.
Is this where you thought you’d be five or so years ago?
No, because I really did not have a life plan, I would not have known what to expect. I’m glad my life is heading somewhere even if I don’t know the destination.
What informed your decision on doing what you’re doing now?
Right now, I am a registered behavioral technician. Upon graduation I found myself lost again in the transition process from school to “adult life.” I wanted to gauge whether I could work with children long-term in psychological way.
What are your plans for the future?
I plan on traveling a lot, but I also plan on establishing my career as a counselor. But in the end, I just want to be happy.
What kind of advice would you offer a student, who is undecided on his or her career path?
I would say, don’t stress yourself about figuring it out right away, but still do some research. Doing research will prevent you from being stagnant.
How would you describe the state of higher education in America today?
The state of higher education is a scam. The push for higher education is a scam. Students are often times taken advantage of in college, and are not even aware. There are many blue collar and white-collar jobs where education is necessary, but experience takes precedent. I believe education is powerful and those who pursue it are more equipped in some ways, but I don’t think its as mandatory as society deems it. If you want to pursue education do it, but you should not feel cornered of pressured.
Have you ever travelled outside of the United States? Where, and how does life outside compare to that in the US?
I have been to a few different countries in my life. I have been afforded the opportunity to travel to England, France, Jamaica, among others. It was very interesting to go to Europe because it is like America in a bunch of ways. But a lot of the stuff is different. Healthcare is better and it seems like as a country they care more about their citizens, and their cities were diverse.
What does the future hold for America?
If people in my generation continue the path, then America could have a bright future. We must learn to embrace cultures, ideas and opinions that are not our own. We must be careful of what we say or do, because disagreeing with popular opinions can get us “canceled” . But this is not to say terrible beliefs are okay or to be accepted , but as a culture we must educate and accept more people. I also think we need better leaders and better laws. A lot of stuff was created years ago in a different climate and time and laws today still hurt people of color.
Are you interested in politics? If no, why not? What is your take on the state of politics and the future of the American democracy?
I am not interested in politics, but I do believe it has a time and place. It does not interest me but I do believe that my life, and my family and the way I am viewed in society has to do with politics. Politicians in charge have a larger effect than everyone thinks. It is not always fun to hear about the negative issues in our society. That’s one connotation of politics, its always negative and aggressive. Democracy has a time and place, but I think it should be open for change. I think America needs to take something from every system of government. I think Democracy is all an idea.
How are you responding to the outbreak of the Convid-19 virus?
It can be a little scary, but I am just taking the necessary precautions, like washing my hands and not touching my face, Unfortunately I still must go to work but while there, practice having a sterile environment.
How are you handling this stay-at-home order?
After work I just come straight home.
What keeps you going during these trying times?
My family, friends, music, videogames and a lot of shows on Netflix. It is fun to have an escape through entertainment and music.
How can the government better handle the situation?
We need a stricter mandatory lockdown. More stores must be shut down. A mandatory quarantine and nationwide curfew so people can stay home. We are not flattening the curve and many Americans are not taking this seriously.
What are your hobbies or extracurricular activities?
I like to take pictures, I’d rather be behind the lens than in front of them, collect records (new and old), I love music from different eras.
How would you describe your philosophy of life? That is, how do you see this life and what principles get you grounded and moving forward?
My philosophy in life is to just take things easy. So much unnecessary overthinking and stress is added to peoples live. I take some aspects of Christianity, and I take some from living life. I just strive to be happy with myself, because that’s the person I go to sleep with every night. I know it’s easier said than done, but that’s what I try to do. Also, I try not let people’s expectations cloud my self-worth. Just try not to live for others.
Let us end this interview with a memorable quote from you. How would you describe yourself to the world?
Complete the sentence: I am… Wow that’s a good question, hmmm, I am smart, kind, and I do what I want, and you should too.