Anyone who knows me knows that I love planning for the future: planning for the weekend, planning for classes I will take in the future, planning for projects I want to complete, and especially for my future after I receive my bachelor’s degree from LMU. It has been a little unsettling before just recently since I was never quite sure exactly what I wanted to do. I decided long ago that I plan on always being a student in some way, so pursuing my education has been in my plans in one way or another. The rest, however, was a mystery: Should I get a job while completing a master’s degree? What would I study? Where would I study? What would I do after that?
While I cannot lie and say I have the answers to all of the questions I have right now, I do feel like I have recently found a direction in which I would like to go. In a previous post, I talked about my unexpected passion for psychology and how I knew I wanted to do something with it, but was not quite sure what. Now I can confidently say that I have discovered that not only do I want to pursue psychology in some way after graduation, but I cannot imagine myself studying anything else. The vast amount of subjects I could study in graduate school made my future look hazy, but the thought of spending the rest of my academic life learning about anything I could about psychology made my future suddenly look less daunting.
I starting searching about anything I could find about getting graduate degrees in psychology. It turns out you can focus on the parts of psychology that you find most interesting: if you are interested in psychotherapy, you can pursue a degree in clinical psychology. If learning about how people grow and develop, schools offer degrees in developmental psychology. I have found that the branch of psychology I love learning about the most is cognition and neuroscience– dealing with mental processing in the forms of perception, language, thinking, problem solving, and basically just about anything regarding the human brain!
With the more research I did, I quickly found that it is possible to go straight from a bachelor’s degree to a PhD program in psychology. I never knew that was an option! Obtaining a PhD is one of the goals I set for myself for the distant future, so the thought of being able to delve directly into research opportunities is absolutely thrilling. However, it is incredibly difficult to be accepted into a PhD program: most schools I have looked at thus far receive hundreds of applications into their programs but are only able to accept less than ten students per year. A master’s program is absolutely still an option for me. I know that education isn’t a race whatsoever, and I would be thankful to just be able to further my education. I definitely need to think about it some more, but the prospect of working closely with faculty on research is so appealing. Academia is what I envision myself doing when everything is said and done, so I can only imagine that obtaining a PhD would only help me achieve that goal.
I know the chances of my being accepted are quite small, but working towards my goals is nothing new to me. After all, how exciting would life be without pursing what you are passionate about, no matter the chances? Life is about finding what you love; if the chances are small I am ready to prove myself, nevertheless. The more I think about my future, the more I realize how excited I am for the opportunity to possibly spend the next few years after my undergraduate studies (and probably the rest of my life!) studying exactly what I find the most fascinating. How many people can say that they know exactly then where they want to be and what they want to be doing five years from now? My future is not yet completely clear to me, but I know I can rise to the challenge.
As I continue on my journey of the graduate school research and application process, I will be adding new posts into my Graduate School Series. If you have any comments, questions, or suggestions, feel free to email me or leave a comment on my blog. If you want to see more posts like this one, subscribe to my blog to receive a new post every other Thursday!