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Considering Psychology

sainsain regularRegistered User regular
edited December 2008 in Help / Advice Forum
I wasn't a very motivated student in high school and had little direction, I got poor grades and just barely skimmed by. I made the mistake of going to art school because I felt it was the only thing I was any good at. I was miserable, came to terms with that, and am in the process of dropping out.

I've been looking at more practical majors and was considering Psychology, it's a subject that has always fascinated me. I enjoy one on one conversations, I'm an open minded person, and I'm emotionally stable. I can't see myself being an engineer, chemist, or architect but I do want to help people.

So I'm looking at two year schools, I plan on getting an associates and transferring to OSU or Kent to complete my bachelor, then work on graduate school. I realize psychology has a reputation for being that major people just get B.A in so I want to make the most of my schooling.

Right now, my goal is a masters in Psychology, anything beyond that would be wonderful but I'm trying to be realistic.

Anyone with experience, pointers?
Is my plan solid enough?

Edit: My horrible play on the word sane applies here D:

sain on

Posts

  • MurphysParadoxMurphysParadox Registered User
    edited November 2008
    Well... psychology is a whole lot of fun. If you wish to do it professionally, you will certainly need a masters and probably a doctors. You will also need to decide which type of psychology you wish to go into. Obviously this isn't something you finalize until the later portion of the undergraduate, but it is important. There is research (how much do you like numbers? How about coming up with neat ideas to test something?), psychiatry (medical doctor with all the chemistry/biology fixings), teaching (propagation of the degree), psychology (how does that make you feel? I see... and how about that?), and I'm sure there are a couple more that I'm missing.

    I have a minor in it (major in CompSci) and loved the classes... however, I also never had to do hard-core research and paper-writing, nor experiment design or the like.

    MurphysParadox on
    Murphy's Law: Whatever can go wrong will go wrong.
    Murphy's Paradox: The more you plan, the more that can go wrong. The less you plan, the less likely your plan will succeed.
  • sainsain regular Registered User regular
    edited November 2008
    Therapy and counseling appeal to me, so I'm far more interested in applied psychology over research.

    sain on
  • admanbadmanb unionize your workplace Seattle, WARegistered User regular
    edited November 2008
    There are some problems with modern psychology (I'm no expert, but my dad's been in the practice for 40 years and we talk a lot) that may put a damper on your ideals. But I don't want to discourage you too much.

    (1) Psychiatry is not psychology. It's far more medical focused, far more focused on the physical aspects of mental health problems, and therefore far more focused on drug applications over counseling. Regardless of your feelings on psychiatric drugs, you will not enjoy psychiatry.

    (2) Applied psychology is in a weird area right now. It still exists, but it tends to be much more focused then the general lie-down-on-the-couch-and-tell-me-your-feelings era of the 60s-70s You're more than likely going to have to get a job with the moniker of "counselor," or work in a specific field like forensic or organizational psychology.

    The glory days of psychological therapy were really the 60s-70s. Check out some of the people who were working on new techniques in that period and you'll find some really interesting stuff. Just don't do it before you start taking classes, because you will be hella disappointed once you start.

    admanb on
  • radroadkillradroadkill regular MDRegistered User regular
    edited November 2008
    Make sure you're in it for the longhaul and to put effort into some classes; I'm way into the same aspects as you but most colleges require courses in all fields of psych for a BA and I put off most of my research and biopsych courses and they have been kicking my ass; I'm enjoying the nice break now before finishing my last year and getting down to it but it's down a ddirty stuff and even though the rest of the field comes easily to me this is one aspet I'm struggling with due to the material and my lack of desire to learn it.

    It's a great field, interesting, fun, and applicable to your real life but be preapred to know that at the end it might not be as fun or smooth sailing depending on your tastes and self-motivation.

    radroadkill on
    Nerdgasmic wrote: »
    Like some sort of raptor or the Great panda, Rad cannot properly initiate egg preparation if she senses a disturbance within her environment.
  • lunasealunasea Registered User
    edited November 2008
    sain wrote: »
    I wasn't a very motivated student in high school and had little direction, I got poor grades and just barely skimmed by. I made the mistake of going to art school because I felt it was the only thing I was any good at. I was miserable, came to terms with that, and am in the process of dropping out.

    I've been looking at more practical majors and was considering Psychology, it's a subject that has always fascinated me. I enjoy one on one conversations, I'm an open minded person, and I'm emotionally stable. I can't see myself being an engineer, chemist, or architect but I do want to help people.

    So I'm looking at two year schools, I plan on getting an associates and transferring to OSU or Kent to complete my bachelor, then work on graduate school. I realize psychology has a reputation for being that major people just get B.A in so I want to make the most of my schooling.

    Right now, my goal is a masters in Psychology, anything beyond that would be wonderful but I'm trying to be realistic.

    Anyone with experience, pointers?
    Is my plan solid enough?

    Edit: My horrible play on the word sane applies here D:

    I work at the Post-Doctoral Psychoanalysis clinic at my school and believe me, Psychologists are some of the coolest people I've ever met. I've had long conversations with my boss about acid. But it is a serious dedication, most of the Externs and Candidates that go through the program are well into their 20's or early 30's. You'll never stop learning with Psychology, and you'll certainly have interesting experiences. Most of them describe it as not particularly difficult, just immensely time-consuming. The paperwork sucks ass, keep that in mind. Otherwise, I say go for it. You're definitely going to need at least a masters and probably a doctorate if you want to be taken seriously.

    lunasea on
  • Inquisitor77Inquisitor77 2 x Penny Arcade Fight Club Champion A fixed point in space and timeRegistered User regular
    edited November 2008
    Psychology, being a social science with an extremely short history, is a rather disparate field. As others have pointed out, your choice of concentration makes a major difference in your career options (excluding the large proportion of jobs out there that just care that you have a degree, not necessarily what it is in). My main caution here would be not to limit your options, particularly since you are still in undergraduate.

    In fact, what you may discover is that some fields in psychology think that other fields are pretty much bunk (this is a harsh way of saying that some places tend to be lax with what we call "the scientific method" when it comes to what they do). For example, I was taught that psychoanalysis (aka Freud), which has thus far still managed to evade destruction, doesn't belong anywhere near a modern psychology curriculum or research except as a historical footnote.

    For cost reasons I went to a local community college then transferred to UCLA with a chosen degree in Philosophy. While I was in school I discovered a passion for Cognitive Science (now more commonly called Cognitive Neuroscience, which is associated with things like Cognitive Psychology and Artificial Intelligence). Unfortunately, because I was a transfer they basically told me I couldn't switch majors or double major. However, I was allowed to minor, and I took as many classes and participated in as many research opportunities as possible. In the end the hard work paid off, because it gave me something nothing else did - the confidence to know that if I apply myself, work hard, and study diligently, I can accomplish some pretty cool things even if "officially" I only received a minor (as a Cognitive Science minor and a transfer student I have more research credentials than most Psych grad school applicants, enough so that one of my professors basically asked me to stay and become his graduate student).

    Now I work in something only remotely related to either Philosophy or CogSci (Human Capital Metrics, i.e. Industrial/Organizational Psychology), and even then my day-to-day work only remotely entails working with actual science methodology, research, etc. Mostly I do things like manage projects and manipulate Excel spreadsheets. The truth is, this is what you will most likely be doing, too. Not necessarily management or menial computing tasks, but something not necessarily related to exactly what you studied for in college.

    The whole point while you're there is to expand your horizons and learn how to get knowledge and skills when you need them. Try not to freak out too much about what you're going to do for the rest of your life. Study as much as you can, maybe push the envelope a little and take a few classes here and there that are outside your comfort zone, and who knows, maybe you'll find something you have a passion for. Maybe you'll just find some interesting stuff along the way. Maybe you'll just learn that the college life (i.e., grad school, academia) isn't for you. There is still plenty of life out there.

    Work hard. Take the time to have fun. Pick a degree in something that interests you, but don't let it limit you. You can go to law school, art school, or get an MBA with a non-specific bachelor's degree. Most graduate programs don't even care if you have a degree in their specific area, so long as you have taken the basics, have a good GRE score, and have a demonstrated aptitude/experience in the subject matter beyond the usual undergraduate classes. Or, gasp, you can go get a job like the rest of us. ;-)

    Inquisitor77 on
    Three things in human life are important: the first is to be kind; the second is to be kind; and the third is to be kind.
  • SpongeCakeSpongeCake regular Registered User regular
    edited November 2008
    Don't discount the very real possibility that the course you pick will be ass-packed with statistics. Psychology is a science (soft or not) and the scientific method is likely to be a central point of what you're being taught. That means sample sizes, z-tests, null-hypotheses and chi-squares.
    The advantage of course, is that if you can't find a career in actual psychology you've got a nice solid understanding of numbers which can be applied to a lot of other jobs.

    SpongeCake on
  • sainsain regular Registered User regular
    edited December 2008
    Will a two year school transfer well enough, or will I end up overwhelmed by the difference in workload?

    I know these are things to ask admissions, but I though I'd ask anyway.

    sain on
  • TopiaTopia regular Registered User regular
    edited December 2008
    I'm in a few psych courses right now, and let me tell you I love it. I'm not majoring in it, but it's definately going to be an elective of mine for the rest of my post-secondary career. It teaches you a lot, and they have by far been the most interesting and life-applicable courses I have taken. Something to do, if you can, is take maybe a few (if you can) intro, first year psych courses. They will help you better understand the field, give you an idea of the different types of psychology. During my first beginner class I really took a liking to social and abnormal so I pursued both as electives this year, and I'm loving it still. Psychology is a vast field, and there is a LOT you can do in the pursuit of a degree in psychology. You are so awesome and correct for pursuing at least a MD, without one you won't be much more than an assistant.

    So in summary, Psychology is extremely fun and fucking interesting as hell (it's the only class where I have had fun and ENJOYED writing term papers!), so if it interests you, shit, go for it. I know in Canada here we have only around 18 000 or so registered psychologists, and this is considering a lot (psychiatrists, counsellors, ect) of people who don't have a Masters level degree or higher.

    PS. I don't know, maybe others can chime in, but like someone said already in this thread, psychologists are awesome people, and I've never had a professor less than phenominal, both as an educator and as a person.

    Topia on
  • RhinoRhino regular Registered User regular
    edited December 2008
    My sister had a really tough job finding a decent job when she just had a masters. She says to make a decent living from it, it's a "near requirement" that you have a PHD or more and live in a decent sized city.

    She also says there is a lot statistics classes required and that you must love researching and writing, because you'll be doing tons of it. She says that it's not what most people think it'll be... at least in school, you won't be at anytime talking to people one on one... you'll time will be split between doing high level statistics classes , writing pages and pages of papers or reading though tons of old research papers.

    She says most of the papers you will be reading/researching are very dry and can be very taxing at time to read due to the way they are written (go look up some journal papers and read though them). While she was doing her masters, the "shortest" paper she wrote was some 37 pages... and that was just one class. PHD she says gets progressively harder.

    She says that you better like those two subjects and be really good at them (statistics and research/writing) or it'll suck for the next 8 to 10 years. She says after school, some jobs will let you talk one on one (ie. therapy) - but even then, she says for every hour you talk to a person; there is probably at least an 20 or 30 minutes (if not more) that you have to spend on paper work and other maintenance tasks.

    She says generally it's can be a very isolated and independent work type of environment and that'll almost half, if not more - will be spend working on your own. During school, she says besides class, it's almost all isolated and independent study, working on papers and statistics.

    My sister loves researching/writing - but hates statistics. She says the statistics is pretty hard once you start getting into the higher level classes (which are required).


    edit: She jokingly says that the best statisticians have PHDs in Psychology.

    edit2: she also says Therapy type of job is pretty taxing on the soul. She says that not only you have your own stress, you have the stress of all your patients. At one time Therapist had the highest suicide rate. She said this was for a reason. She said (when she was doing it), that she seen the worst of people, not the best of them and that it shewed her view on life and people negatively at times and was hard to keep a "centered" view

    Rhino on
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  • JurgJurg regular In a TeacupRegistered User regular
    edited December 2008
    I'm not sure about the practicality of it, but psychology classes are extremely fun. Even if you don't go into it as a career, the stuff you learn about thought processes can be applied to everyday life. (I've only taken AP Psych in high school, but I frequently reference the concepts I've learned in it.)

    Go for it.

    Jurg on
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  • TopiaTopia regular Registered User regular
    edited December 2008
    Rhino wrote: »
    She says most of the papers you will be reading/researching are very dry and can be very taxing at time to read due to the way they are written (go look up some journal papers and read though them). While she was doing her masters, the "shortest" paper she wrote was some 37 pages... and that was just one class. PHD she says gets progressively harder.

    I love reading research papers and journal articles! Maybe it's retarded, but I absolutely love it. I had to do a review of an article this semester in abnormal psychology and I went through and read about 4 or 5, even though I only needed one! It was awesome. I don't even like reading.... Maybe I should change my major haha.

    Topia on
  • JurgJurg regular In a TeacupRegistered User regular
    edited December 2008
    Statistics is pretty great though. I don't know, maybe that's just me.

    I just find something so romantic about the notion of a science that can be used to discern truth, or to fabricate falsehoods.

    Though later on in Stats textbooks it gets really weird. Stuff gets vaguer and vaguer, until they begin talking about how you can't really prove anything, you can only suggest it.

    It's like talking to someone that's high.

    But it's awesome.

    Jurg on
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  • littwentythreelittwentythree Registered User
    edited December 2008
    Jurg wrote: »
    Though later on in Stats textbooks it gets really weird. Stuff gets vaguer and vaguer, until they begin talking about how you can't really prove anything, you can only suggest it.

    You can never prove anything! People saying that they have "proven" something in one of their experiments annoy me.

    There is some good stuff in this thread, shortly I'll be applying for PhD programs in psychology so I'll try to add some stuff when I get time. One important thing to realize is that counseling is a very small part of the field.

    littwentythree on
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  • admanbadmanb unionize your workplace Seattle, WARegistered User regular
    edited December 2008
    You can never prove anything! People saying that they have "proven" something in one of their experiments annoy me.

    Pfft. Maybe you can't in your silly soft sciences. :P
    edit2: she also says Therapy type of job is pretty taxing on the soul. She says that not only you have your own stress, you have the stress of all your patients. At one time Therapist had the highest suicide rate. She said this was for a reason. She said (when she was doing it), that she seen the worst of people, not the best of them and that it shewed her view on life and people negatively at times and was hard to keep a "centered" view

    That's when it helps to have a cynical world-view.

    After 30 years of counseling my dad hated his upstanding-citizen bosses more than the "crazy" or "bad" adolescents he talked to.

    admanb on
  • RhinoRhino regular Registered User regular
    edited December 2008
    After 30 years of counseling my dad hated his upstanding-citizen bosses more than the "crazy" or "bad" adolescents he talked to.

    I guess it depends on who you're patients are :)

    At the place she was working, she had a couple of clients that were ex-pedophiles and another one that committed murder (it was a experimental prison program that send them ex-convicts when released). She didn't like them at all... she said all of them gave her the creeps and didn't enjoy that at all. She liked most of her patients though. One guy stalked her and feel in "love" with her. But, that's how it goes I guess.

    Rhino on
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  • littwentythreelittwentythree Registered User
    edited December 2008
    admanb wrote: »
    You can never prove anything! People saying that they have "proven" something in one of their experiments annoy me.

    Pfft. Maybe you can't in your silly soft sciences. :P

    We're doing important stuff here! Yesterday while I was looking for some articles, I ran across an article that found that cows prefer to lie down on their right sides.

    IMPORTANT STUFF 24/7/365

    (I like to make fun of my field, but there's totally a bunch of really interesting shit.)

    littwentythree on
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  • AsiinaAsiina regular Registered User regular
    edited December 2008
    I'm not sure how comparable it is to US schools, but I'll relate my experience with Canadian psychology programs. I have a Bachelor of Science in psych and am taking a bit of time off before grad school.

    In your undergrad there are a lot of possible areas to psychology. It's pretty broad. Take a bunch of classes, learn a lot of different areas and then try to narrow it down to something you are more interested in. Some psychology is more "sciencey" than others. For example I find that Personality Psychology just makes it up as they go along while Neuroscience and Cognitive Development try their very best to employ measurable experiments (is my bias showing).

    That said, try to find out if the undergrad you are thinking of going to is research or theory focused. My university was very research based and so we focused on experimental psychology. We were expected to take a lot of statistics classes and do work in lab settings. Other schools are more counselling and individual analysis oriented. Try to figure out which one the universities near you are.

    Also make sure, if you want grad school psychology, that you get to write a thesis. If you're going to split it between 2, 2-year programs then find out if you can still write a thesis. This will be absolutely expected of you for grad school.

    Grad schools here are generally split into Clinical and Experimental. Sounds like you want to get into Clinical. I don't want to discourage you, but Clinical is much harder to get into. We're talking 5-10 spots for about 500 serious applicants. You will be expected to have clinical experience and exceptional grades.

    Also I don't know how it is there, but most psych grad programs here are a combined Masters-PhD for 5-6 years. You can't just do a Masters. I think there's only a few schools here where you can do one and not the other. You should look into that if you just want to get a 2 year Masters.

    If the psychology grad school route seems too daunting there are others available. Some schools have counselling, social work, or educational psych programs that would let you be put into schools or work with families.

    With all that said, psychology is a lot of fun. I absolutely love it! A lot of people go into it thinking it'll be about sitting on the couch talking about your feelings or diagnosing your family with a variety of crazy disorders, but it's not. It's about understanding the human mind. How we learn and why we think the things we do. I find it really rewarding.

    Asiina on
  • SmurphSmurph regular Registered User regular
    edited December 2008
    I don't mean to come off as mean but I'm going to play Devil's Advocate here.

    If you struggled to preform well in high school what makes you think you will be able to make it through grad school and get the doctorate you will probably need? You also just dropped out of school for the one thing you thought you were good at, so you've got some strikes against you and you just might not be an academic at heart.

    Every high school student in the western hemisphere thinks they are a good listener. Do not let this idea lead you to believe that you are meant to be a psychologist.

    If you do go the psych route you should be prepared for the very real possibility that you probably won't care for grad school as it really is for people who love school, and thus will not have an easy time finding a good job.

    Smurph on
  • EndomaticEndomatic Registered User
    edited December 2008
    Some people take longer to get their shit together.

    There's a lot of variables that could happen during your high school years that could negatively impact performance in many ways.

    Endomatic on
  • RhinoRhino regular Registered User regular
    edited December 2008
    Smurph wrote: »
    I don't mean to come off as mean but I'm going to play Devil's Advocate here.

    If you struggled to preform well in high school what makes you think you will be able to make it through grad school and get the doctorate you will probably need? You also just dropped out of school for the one thing you thought you were good at, so you've got some strikes against you and you just might not be an academic at heart.

    I did poorly in high school, because I wasn't interested in it. After highschool, I got into computers/college and studied and worked on computers every waking moment. If your passionate about something, you are going to put a lot more energy into it. Most people aren't too passionate about highschool.
    Every high school student in the western hemisphere thinks they are a good listener. Do not let this idea lead you to believe that you are meant to be a psychologist.

    I think this is true too. I've meet a lot of people that claim to be "people person's" or "Good with people", but in most cases they just enjoy talking about themselves or don't like to be alone.

    You also have to be able to communicate effectively to a wide range of people". Just because you can talk to your brother in law about cars, doesn't mean you can talk to some that grew up in a different culture, class, and educational system. Sometimes you'll have to talk to people that don't want to be there, don't like you and the majority of the time they'll have emotional, mental and/or boundary problems.
    If you do go the psych route you should be prepared for the very real possibility that you probably won't care for grad school as it really is for people who love school, and thus will not have an easy time finding a good job.

    That's what my sister says. She says people get into it because they think they'll be sitting around all day, talking to people one on one. A lot of them drop it because they weren't aware of all the math and research/writing involved with it. Also she says it has a pretty crappy "job placement" rate after you get done with school even with a masters.

    Rhino on
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  • sainsain regular Registered User regular
    edited December 2008
    Smurph wrote: »
    I don't mean to come off as mean but I'm going to play Devil's Advocate here.

    If you struggled to preform well in high school what makes you think you will be able to make it through grad school and get the doctorate you will probably need? You also just dropped out of school for the one thing you thought you were good at, so you've got some strikes against you and you just might not be an academic at heart.

    Despite the fact that I don't enjoy art school I've kept up with my work and have gotten much better grades than I ever did in high school.

    I'm not rushing into this though, nothing is set in stone.

    Maybe I should keep in spirit with all failed artists and teach :(

    sain on
  • SmurphSmurph regular Registered User regular
    edited December 2008
    sain wrote: »
    Smurph wrote: »
    I don't mean to come off as mean but I'm going to play Devil's Advocate here.

    If you struggled to preform well in high school what makes you think you will be able to make it through grad school and get the doctorate you will probably need? You also just dropped out of school for the one thing you thought you were good at, so you've got some strikes against you and you just might not be an academic at heart.

    Despite the fact that I don't enjoy art school I've kept up with my work and have gotten much better grades than I ever did in high school.

    I'm not rushing into this though, nothing is set in stone.

    Maybe I should keep in spirit with all failed artists and teach :(

    If you were doing well then why did you stop? The same could happen to you half way through your psych bachelors. In order to get the degree you want you're going to have to put up with some bullshit that you hate.

    Smurph on
  • sainsain regular Registered User regular
    edited December 2008
    Smurph wrote: »
    sain wrote: »
    Smurph wrote: »
    I don't mean to come off as mean but I'm going to play Devil's Advocate here.

    If you struggled to preform well in high school what makes you think you will be able to make it through grad school and get the doctorate you will probably need? You also just dropped out of school for the one thing you thought you were good at, so you've got some strikes against you and you just might not be an academic at heart.

    Despite the fact that I don't enjoy art school I've kept up with my work and have gotten much better grades than I ever did in high school.

    I'm not rushing into this though, nothing is set in stone.

    Maybe I should keep in spirit with all failed artists and teach :(

    If you were doing well then why did you stop? The same could happen to you half way through your psych bachelors. In order to get the degree you want you're going to have to put up with some bullshit that you hate.

    Because it's really expensive bullshit, around 2-3 times more than state school.

    I don't mind debt, but the income isn't stable enough to warrant it.

    sain on
  • SmurphSmurph regular Registered User regular
    edited December 2008
    sain wrote: »
    Smurph wrote: »
    sain wrote: »
    Smurph wrote: »
    I don't mean to come off as mean but I'm going to play Devil's Advocate here.

    If you struggled to preform well in high school what makes you think you will be able to make it through grad school and get the doctorate you will probably need? You also just dropped out of school for the one thing you thought you were good at, so you've got some strikes against you and you just might not be an academic at heart.

    Despite the fact that I don't enjoy art school I've kept up with my work and have gotten much better grades than I ever did in high school.

    I'm not rushing into this though, nothing is set in stone.

    Maybe I should keep in spirit with all failed artists and teach :(

    If you were doing well then why did you stop? The same could happen to you half way through your psych bachelors. In order to get the degree you want you're going to have to put up with some bullshit that you hate.

    Because it's really expensive bullshit, around 2-3 times more than state school.

    I don't mind debt, but the income isn't stable enough to warrant it.

    Yeah but when you wind up dropping out without finishing it becomes wasted money. That would be okay if you then went to a state school and got a useful degree that allowed you to pay off that debt, but if you plan on doing the whole psych grad school thing you've got another 6 years ahead of you at least. That's a ton of debt. And if you drop out in the course of getting that degree you are even more screwed, and still have nothing to show for it.

    Basically trying out another major to see if it is for you is really not a good option right now. If you go back to school you need to be dedicated to tough it out and get that piece of paper no matter how much you wind up hating it because you WILL need the money.

    I know people who have gone to a handful of different schools with nothing to show for it, and it's a hard cycle to break.

    Smurph on
  • sainsain regular Registered User regular
    edited December 2008
    Psychology interested me the most, hence the thread.

    I understand that it would be silly to immediately transfer, I'm still looking at other options.

    sain on
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