Ms. Caelin Anderson is Barstow’s newest college counselor. Her first day at Barstow was May 6, 2020, but the job was offered to her two weeks before that in late April. “It was a Friday; I was not expecting it at all so I was very excited.” She described that she had very high hopes about going back to school for the 2020-2021 school year in May alongside everyone else. “No one knew what to expect, but I knew that this was a job I wanted regardless of COVID.” Seeking a community that she could be involved with inside and outside of the workday, she found that Barstow could provide this environment for her. She adds that “Mr. Hill has been great with welcoming me and making sure I had everything I needed.”
Ms. Anderson grew up in the Louisa, Kentucky area and attended Western Kentucky University, which is about 2 hours outside of where she grew up. She participated in their Greek life program as an Alpha Delta Pi. Out of the 33 total grandchildren in her family, she was the third to earn a college degree and the first to complete her masters. This experience is partially what got her interested in beginning her work in higher education. “I didn’t really have a lot of resources at my high school, and having parents that didn’t attend college, I wanted to make sure other children had those things,” she said. Despite her circumstances, Ms. Anderson explains, “I didn’t feel like I was at a disadvantage” at the time. After college, she delved straight into admissions work for three and a half years. She was a student ambassador at WKU, a peer advisor, and advised students on academic probation, which also played a role in her transition into admissions work.
“I moved here because I got married and worked at Spalding University in art school up until last September,” she states. She had moved to Kansas City for her husband, Jason Anderson’s, dream job as a midday host for sports radio at 810. At her previous job as an admissions counselor supervisor, she had the freedom and ability to hire, train, and coach aspiring admissions counselors. “That’s the only thing I miss about Kentucky and wish that Barstow had,” she explains. “I enjoy the coaching element.”
Outside of her professional life, Ms. Anderson bakes, reads current literature in regards to college admissions, and keeps up with Kentucky sports teams like the Western Kentucky Hilltoppers and Wildcats. She also watches horse racing and basketball, but most importantly, spends time with her husband and kids. “I’ve never really created a bucket list because I don’t want to get so far into the future that I can’t enjoy the beauty that's unfolding right now.” Though she has never created any sort of official bucket list for herself, she wants to go to Disney World with her kids when it is safe to do so.
Ms. Anderson rarely gets an opportunity to experience the first hand classroom effects that students and teachers are experiencing for the first time due to Covid-19. However, her job has been just as unusual as anyone else’s. She supports the administration’s decision to provide options for learning at this time. “The daily change option speaks to the personalized care and attention that they give to every student at Barstow, that’s not really happening at a lot of school systems… I hope that gives families a peace of mind,” she admiringly states. “As a parent, I applaud what we are doing here”.
She explains that Covid has made her job harder in some ways, but also easier in others. Regardless, she doesn’t want to let this experience dampen how excited she is to be here. Some things that she believes have made her job more difficult are not being able to have grade wide meetings as often as possible, zoom fatigue, and college visitors not being allowed inside of the building. She believes that being able to meet with them in person and create a relationship with them is incredibly valuable to both her and Mr. Hill and students. “I look forward to the day she can meet all the reps in person,” she says. When Covid-19 is claimed to be “over”, she predicts that ACT and SAT testing will still be expected at some universities, some webinars and online programs will be accelerated and used more often, and that in-person college fairs will return in full force.
During this time of panic and social disruption in the world due to Covid-19, the list of people who are adjusting to changes within their homes, work places, and own heads is countless. College counselors are not excluded from this list. The underrated professionals have continued making applying and preparing for college a calm and exciting experience rather than hectic and worrisome. Ms. Caelin is excited to be a part of the Barstow community and help students reach their fullest potential.