Rory Gilmore’s post-college failure is one of the most debated aspects of Gilmore Girls: A Year in the Life, but if you look closely, her lackluster future was predicted multiple times in the series. Mitchum Huntzberger said it, Jess Mariano noted it, and Paris Geller may have even predicted Rory’s inability to launch a successful career in journalism.
Paris and Rory were both in the running for valedictorian at Chilton
When Paris and Rory were in the running for valedictorian at Chilton, they both wanted the honor. That’s completely understandable. Being the best student at a prestigious school would, theoretically, set you up to succeed later in life.
Things unraveled pretty quickly for Paris. Not only did she not get into Harvard, the school her entire family attended, but she also lost out on being valedictorian. After a breakdown on C-SPAN, Paris refused to return to school. When she eventually came to her senses, she had an entirely different spin on Rory being valedictorian over her.
Paris told Rory that valedictorians don’t succeed later in life
Rory often panicked about having peaked in high school. During the show’s original run, it seemed like something of a running joke, but once Gilmore Girls: A Year in the Life was released on Netflix, it turned out that Rory was right. She did peak in high school. Believe it or not, Paris realized it long before Rory did, though.
Paris told Rory that after doing exhaustive research, she didn’t want to be valedictorian because those who receive the honor are likely to falter later in life. She said a study found that valedictorians are unlikely to achieve their career goals.
While Paris likely was just trying to make herself feel better while psyching Rory out, she pretty much predicted the future. Rory, as an adult, did not reach the level of success that she and those around her had expected. In fact, her career was a massive disappointment. Paris, on the other hand, was shown as being incredibly successful in her adult life, albeit still cold and unyielding.
Was Paris right about valedictorians?
Paris cited research that indicated that valedictorians tended to falter in college and their professional lives. While that is not exactly true, there is research that suggests those who receive the honor are no more likely to succeed and are less likely to be considered visionaries in their fields.
According to Quartz, a 1995 study published by Boston College found that graduates who were valedictorians did fine in college and professionally, but were not necessarily poised to succeed wildly. In fact, only about 40% of those studied reached the top tier of their career paths. 90% were professionals when the study followed up with them post-college graduation, though.